Posted in Letters to Myself

Letters to Myself: Soundtrack to Quals

Image result for sleeping at last space instrumentals
Photo Cred: Sleeping at Last

In a biomedical science PhD program, there are three scary tests: your written qualifying exam, your oral qualifying exam, and your thesis defense.

I have successfully completed two of the three, as I soldier on toward graduation. My oral quals were completed a year ago yesterday. As you might be able to imagine, preparation is no walk in the park. You have to write a full proposal for your project, in the style of a grant, and defend your rationale and background knowledge to a committee in a grueling two-hour battle. For something like that, you need some solid music. Fortunately, my favorite musical artist had recently released an instrumental version of my favorite album of his. If I listened to that album in order, on Spotify, the automatic next album was a cover album, and I usually just let it go.

I was quite concerned during this process that the music, when repeated time and again, would automatically evoke a visceral fear response when listened to in the future, so I wrote an apology letter to myself. One year later, I wrote back.

Remembered 1/23/19, in response to:

ltm soundtrack

I wrote:

Dear Twenty-Five,
Girrrlllll, you’re gonna have to work a lot harder than that to ruin Sleeping at Last. I mean, I’m not saying there aren’t other things that trigger me about quals, because it’s just as terrifying as you expect, but Sleeping at Last? NEVER.

Hang on a few more months, love. Your third year slump is almost over.

Love,
Twenty-six

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