Life as a PhD Student Part III

Today I wanna share some experiences on my preliminary exam which was held in November 11th.

I apologized for not being able to provide some pictures, cause I was too nervous at that day, plus when I arrived the conference room my advisor was already waiting there (Gee, it’s one hour before the exam!!). Ha, but I still wanna show off my pretty PPT though ^^

博士生活
PPT for Preliminary Exam

I have to say the experience I’ve been through is quite different from other students. We don’t have a regular group meeting, and believe it or not, till now we’ve got nothing for this whole semester. But one good thing is, you can always make an appointment with him through email or iMessage! Therefore, though students from other groups may have a rehearsal set at least one week before the preliminary exam, we definitely don’t have that, either. I’m not sure it’s because my advisor trusts me or he is too busy to care about this. There’s pros and cons in this kind of group though. You may have 100% freedom for your time management, the research progresses and directions; on the other hand, you may have less experience for presentations or even share your research to others, what’s more, you have to supervise yourself, be disciplined!


I don’t know where does my confidence come from, does this come from the “Advanced Oral Course”? After I completed my proposal, I felt comfortable about the contents of the presentation, even though there’s only 10 days before my exam. (Gee, it should be officially turned in to committee members one month in advance!!!) I somehow even didn’t feel rush to do my PPT, I took my time to make animations until almost two days before my rehearsal. Right, I set the rehearsal three days in advance by myself, and thanks gave to my lab mates who volunteered to be my audience. And I felt sorry to them, because before rehearsal I only had limited time to practice twice for whole contents, trusted me, 40-minutes presentation was really hard to practice! I felt exhausted and thirsty when I finished the whole slides every time. But I felt quite happy for my presentation skill that day, and thanks for their feedback, made my PPT more than perfect! And one thing I have learned from here is I need to improve how to clearly present my motivation and the problem I wanna solve in my research! Need to be more specifically! I guess I just always care too much about the results!

At that day, everything was perfect, food was okay, drink was versatile, room capacity was just fit and I was professionally dressed up – my first time suit up! The first embarrassed thing was being asked by providing examples for live attenuated vaccine and inactivated vaccine. God, I didn’t know their names in English! Shame on me, who couldn’t answer this question properly but did something vaccine related work! And later on some questions I couldn’t answer accurately due to the bare understood about the biology.

But the most frustrated thing was I should really take “Future Plan” seriously but not just showed some brief ideas without a fully understanding! 

  • What’s the size of the M cells? 
  • Where is it? 
  • Why you want to test this? 
  • How could they penetrate? 
  • How could you define success? 
  • How to assure they passed the mucosal surfaces? 

God, I have no idea about this pile of questions! I got perfectly about what I have done but I got awful performance on my future work, felt sad! And another dissatisfied thing was that I even couldn’t describe my hypothesis, my significance aims clearly. My advisor made a super clear description for me. Oh My, I really love my advisor! He rescued me at that moment. After shaking hands with all my committee members, he didn’t say anything negative to me, he kept telling me I did a good job instead! I guess I should only take this as a complimentary. I really admire and respect him, he is a so nice, knowledgeable, generous and humble guy. I hope one day I could become a person like him, and make him be proud of me!

Now I knew why people said preliminary exam was always difficult than defense! But hey dear committees, I appreciated on all your comments at that day, I would definitely surprise you in my defense, wait and see my growing up!!

One milestone done, let’s go for next harder one! Things were never easy huh! Gig ‘Em!!

Princess Peach

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