November 2009


Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers!

Today and tomorrow I'm being forced out of the libraries (b/c they're closed), which stresses me out. This is the first Thanksgiving where I woke up a little panicked. It's ok though... I have work that I brought home with me and I've been known to study well at various Starbucks throughout the city.

Don't worry though, I'm going to take some time off today: for one, I slept in until 11:00. Secondly, my friend's boyfriend is doing a "stray dogs Thanksgiving" for foreigners and people who can't go to their home towns today. Edouard and I will be bringing some sort of pie and probably wine.

Edouard and I were thinking about going to the Macy's parade but apparently that starts at 9 am. Oh well, I've already experienced the Gay Pride parade, 5th Avenue Easter Parade, and the West Village Halloween parade this year and they've not exactly been the most pleasant experiences (with the exception of the Easter parade, which is not crowded b/c people don't really care about it). I also got to see them blow up the huge Mickey balloon yesterday, which was kind of neat... even though it totally ruined my commute to school.

Things/people I am particularly thankful for this year:

Chloe (my bunny- I don't think I told you all that I got a new one earlier this year. I did. She is very cute and fuzzy)

Family (b/c you always have to say family and b/c they understand why I can't come home for Thanskgiving this year)

Edouard (b/c he's been incredibly patient and supportive this semester)

The gynecological staff at NY downtown hospital (no explanation needed)

The Institute of Fine Arts (for their continued financial support)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (for letting me on as their Hagop Kevorkian Fellow- the reason why I'm not as worried about money this year)


Serafina, the coffee/sandwich/smoothie shop that's around the corner from my school.

Andrea, Ileana, and Denise- the girls who have been my orals support group. (Denise did her orals last semester and Andrea and Ileana have their orals the same week I do)

My friend Ava, also an Egyptologist, for reminding me that I belong in this field and also for listening to me gripe every single night this semester via facebook chat.

My unwavering ambition and efficacy this year: I've accomplished a lot!


I think that's all but it's still a pretty long list.


Exactly 2 weeks until my orals.

I can say in complete honesty and without any exaggeration that I've been studying very hard for them. I don't think I've worked harder in my life. If I don't end up passing my orals it would be very embarrassing.

I think I've also come to the point where I've studied so hard that I'm starting to believe that I even *deserve* to do well. That's right, I'm starting to feel... entitled.

But of course, I am leaving the option of not passing open. I don't want to jinx it!


Two and a half weeks until my oral exam!

This is the home stretch. This is the test of endurance. This is also the worst part of orals.

Basically everyone at this point of their orals feel like they just want to get it over with already. This is how I am feeling even though I'm not fully prepared. That said, is anyone really ever completely prepared for an exam that's designed to see how you will deal with the pressure of not knowing everything?

I took a mock exam for my Egyptian art and archaeology session last night and it went well. There were a couple of slides that I did not know but I think I talked my way through them well enough. I just hope I'm as calm and collected for the real deal.

Everyone's telling me to expect a breakdown around Thanksgiving. I'm bracing myself and getting ready for the crying fits. Art historians... we're such troubled, moody scholars.


People keep saying that I have plenty of time before my orals and I know that's true, but it also feels like it's around the corner. There are days when I think that everything I have to do before then is manageable but other days when it seems like an impossible feat- right now I'm concerned about reading enough material and memorizing dates, and while I have a very good sense of relative chronology, my absolute chronology is shaky. Oh well, I have... 3 weeks left now.


Anyway, last night I was thinking about people I'm going to invite to my wedding, which has been the source of much frustration. The nice thing about having a moderate to large size celebration is that you get to have a lot of your friends with you on your "special day." The bad thing about it is that you no longer have the excuse of not inviting certain people because you can't say "Sorry, X and I are trying to have an intimate gathering consisting of close family and friends."

This sucks because there are definitely people I definitely don't like and am only inviting out of decorum.

Bitter? A little bit- especially when you see how much it costs per person at a wedding. Thankfully, however, the number of true friends coming will overwhelm the number of yucky people likely to attend, and most of them will know which table to shun. =P


Less than a month to go until my orals and I got sick. I decided not to go to school today because when I went yesterday I felt terrible. Not only do I feel guilty (even though I'm ill) about missing school I also feel disappointed b/c I'm missing my professor's weekly lecturea about New Kingdom palaces and also Egytpology happy hour at this bar I really like... I'm also missing free food twice today- one hosted study break with subway sandwiches and an evening reception for a lecture series.

Oh well...

Today I'm going to lie in bed and make powerpoint slides of images I have to memorize so that it won't be a wasted day.


I have 1 month and 4 days to go until my oral exams. I will not lie, I am stressed out and worried even though I've been at the library 10 hours a day,7 days a week (though weekends I usually only spend 7 hours at school). That said, I can't really complain either- I'm pressured about not looking like an idiot. That's a whole lot better than being pressured to make enough money this month.

People are always telling me that I need to take at least a day off a week, otherwise I'll go completely crazy. While I appreciate such advice, I also don't think it's really that big of a deal- it's only for 3 months- and in the end, I'm just reading articles and books I should be interested in reading anyway. I'm also allowed to take naps whenever... that's already way better than being a lawyer, banker, or a doctor in residence.

Anyway, I'll tell you what's really stressful: trying to plan a NYC wedding while studying for orals. This I really don't have the time for and by the way... brides here are crazy. Many of them book reception venues over a year in advance- some book venues even if they're not engaged yet.

I have a feeling that I will not like the archetypical Manhattan bride when I actually have to bump into them during the planning process.