December 2009


Merry Christmas my Christian or Christmas tree inclined readers! I'm back in Los Angeles with my family and relaxing for the first time in 4 months.

It's great- don't take your weekends for granted.


Very very sick today. I'm very glad that this didn't happen before my orals though I'm pretty sure I got sick b/c of the sudden release of stress and tension last week.


My pap smear went ok but I started bleeding in the middle of the exam and my gynecologist told me that there was some scarring on the area of the cervix where I had my LEEP procedure. She says it's common but I'm surprised it's still there. Anyway, because of this scarring, she had a difficult time taking a good sample so there's a chance I'll have to go back for another pap smear in January.

Female readers- and I know there are a lot of you out there- please remember to go get your pap smear annually. It's only slightly uncomfortable and awkward but it's better to catch anything now rather than later. Remember that for me- in just one year- I went from a perfect pap smear to stage 2-3 precancer.


Going to the gyno today for a check up- wish me luck.

Let me tell you about my orals. Now, I'm not one to toot my own horn but I really rocked it. And just to toot a little louder, let it be known that I rocked it while never missing an update for this comic.

Don't get me wrong, the orals were no walk in the park. My Egyptian art and arhcaeology section was actually quite difficult. Here's a sampling of what happened:

A slide of a crusted over, dirty statue sitting in the dirt in the middle of an excavation site. My professor turns to me and says "date it." I walk up to the image on the screen, which does not really help me. Finally I say that I don't think it's possible to date it with all of the stylisitc features hidden from me (due to the dirt) and that I would have to rely on its context in order to figure it out, which apparently is what my professor wanted to hear because he immediately moved onto the next slide which was a 3 inch by 4 inch detail of a Middle Kingdom wooden coffin. Now that I think back to that slide, I'm actually surprised and impressed with myself that I was able to identify it as such so quickly. I mean, it's a 3 inch by 4 inch detail of a 5-6 foot long coffin. Anyway, he also showed me stuff like a really poorly made Middle Kingdom statuette of a couple, which I knew was Middle Kingdom b/c of the big Dumbo ears and the type of outfit the man was wearing. All in all though, he showed me very random objects, and I was not expecting that from him.

My language section went well b/c I've been studying my butt off for it every Wednesday and Thursday. My professor would be like , "What do we call those kinds of words??" and I would be like "NON ATTRIBUTIVE RELATIVE FORM!!" and then he would be like "And why do we see that in this context?" and I was like "BECAUSE IT IS USED EMPHATICALLY!!" If I were Emeril, I would've said BAM! after every answer. Anyway, I made a few slips here and there but for the most part I showed proficiency in the Ancient Egyptian language.

Last but not least was my Ancient Near Eastern art and archaeology section, which I was nervous about because I basically had to teach myself everything, having only taken a single class about it in my entire academic career. I knew pretty much everything though- I had a problem identifying a cylinder seal, which is difficult anyway, but I think the professor was impressed about what I did know.

Anyway, they sent me out of the room and I sat for a very awkward 2 minutes thinking that the whole thing went well but worried that maybe I was overly confident. But when my adviser opened the door smiling and telling me to come back in I knew that I passed.

The door shut behind me and he said "Well, congratulations Jennifer! You passed your oral exam!" and I almost cried because I was so proud of myself and because the other professors looked very happy for me too. I kept it together as much as I could- I was bumbling around like an idiot though because I was so overwhelmed with emotion- and my professors told me to get out of there and celebrate, which I did for the rest of the day.

Now I'm writing the two week paper, which is the written component of my qualifying PhD exams. It's ok. It's much more laid back than studying for one's orals exam.


I'm sure you're all on the edge of your seat about how my orals went. Bottom line: I passed and it went well.

I have to run but I'll fill you in on the details later.


I'm updating the comic early this time because I don't want to worry about it later. Tomorrow are my oral exams and I know I'll probably be scrambled in the morning. How am I feeling? I won't lie... I'm pretty nervous. This morning I woke up completely terrified and wanted to cry. The anxiety is terrible. I just want to get it over with already.

Anyway, I calmed down after a while though there's still a general nervousness residing within me. The bottom line is that I did a lot of work and wouldn't change anything about how or how much I studied this semester. It is what it is and I'm giving my professors all that I can offer from 3 months of hardcore studying.

As my friend Luis says, "Remember: It's the Jen Babcock show. You got this."

Time to take charge.


EEEK! 3 Days away until my oral exam!

Also, happy death day to Mozart- you are still missed but your music lives on.


Exactly one week until my orals! I vacillate between feeling fine and feeling completely panicked.

I just don't know how I'm going to be able to review everything. When am I going to find the time to practice the hieroglyhpic translation component of my exam?

There is only one constant in my life right now: being grumpy.