This past week culminated with the end of what was the next step in my Ph.D. pursuance, the so-called Qualifying Exams (Quals).  Passing the Quals requires writing a detailed research proposal, submitting this proposal to your Graduate Committee two weeks prior to the scheduled exam date, receiving and responding to written questions that were spawned from your Committee’s reading of your proposal and then finally presenting and subsequent questioning from friends, family, professors, and your Committee.   All in all this process is quite stressful and requires a great amount of attention to complete well, so almost needless to say I felt as if I had no other life outside of my research this semester.  But it was all worth it – I successfully passed my Quals and now I am ABD – all but Dissertation!!!!


With the relief of being finished with the Quals settling in shortly after noon on Friday, I realized that now I can have some fun – and oh boy did I have fun this past weekend!  On Saturday, my family (who had come down to support my exam) and I took a short road trip to Lynchburg, Tennessee to eat at the renowned Miss Mary Bobo’s Boarding House and to tour Jack Daniel’s whiskey distillery.  The combination of entertaining hosts and hostesses who bestowed all guests with typical good ole Southern hospitality, fascinating historical facts and delicious food was definitely a much-appreciated escape for both my mind and body.


Now, not wanting to let go of my glorious stress free weekend just yet, I also took an even shorter trip to a local strawberry farm Monday evening with a good friend of mine.  I do not believe that there is any negative aspect to going berry pickin’ with a friend – the slow-paced atmosphere of a farm, wonderful soft breezes, low setting sun, delicious aromas, full bucket of bright red ripe strawberries – the gleeful tangible results of your efforts.  Pure bliss.  I cannot wait to take a few moments out of my, now busy again, schedule to return to the local strawberry patch!