Backup, backup, backup!

This actually happened during my comps!

The comprehensive examination is an important milestone for a PhD student. While its format varies depending on the school, degree, department, and most importantly, your supervisor, it is usually a pass/fail test of your cumulative knowledge after one or two years into the program. In Canada, after the comps, you are “promoted” from being a PhD student to being a PhD Candidate.

The format in my department is a take-home exam that lasts from Monday morning, when you receive the set of questions, until Friday at 5pm, when you need to submit your answers/papers to your committee members. One week later you meet them in an oral examination, where you clarify any questions they have about your answers and about the field in general.

So last June it was my turn. I received the questions on Monday and worked countless hours. On the third day, it happened: the Blue Screen Of Death!

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