May 29 2012

General exam: Passed

I am now the current owner of the General Exam Hat.

Excuse me while I go pass out.


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  1. 1

    I have no idea what this is about, but if congratulations are in order, you can have them.
    And nice hat!

  2. 2
    Kate Donovan

    I think this merits a submission to this:

  3. 3
    Greta Christina


  4. 4

    Amazing! Congratulations on being at the all-but-dissertation stage. I look forward to the day when I reach that point :)

    I hope you are passing out from celebrating too much! Take a well deserved break and go in late tomorrow.

  5. 5
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    Wonderful news.

    A far more stressful event than the dissertation defense, in my opinion.


  6. 6

    Massive conga rats!

    youtube clip

  7. 7
    Sean Boyd

    Your masthead needs an update, then. Nicely done.

  8. 8

    Very nice! As i just passed mine in the fall, i definitely know how you feel. Well done! Take a well deserved rest.

    And for those that don’t know, a general exam is typically (different programs and schools differ) a multi-hour (we’re talking 4-6) oral exam between the candidate (Jen) and the several professors that make up her committee. Just them in a room, answering questions for hours. This is also usually prefaced by writing an independent proposal which is quite an ordeal in itself. So, yeah, quite the ordeal. But it’s over!

  9. 9

    You need a corn cob pipe, too :)


  10. 10
    Eric Gill

    Oh, nonono. No corncob. Only two people have made five-star (General of the Armies), and McArthur wasn’t one of them.

    Good black lineman’s boots, yeah.

  11. 11
    Comradde PhysioProffe


  12. 12
    Eric Gill

    Okay, I’m smoking crack. McArthur is in that club. Mea Culpa.

  13. 13

    When did you join The Village People?

  14. 14
    Jade Falcon

    Well done!

  15. 15
    Jade Falcon

    And do you have a Grad Student Beer Fund where those so inclined might drop a few bucks for celebratory imbibement?

  16. 16

    Woo hoooo! Awesome news! I’m so happy for you.

  17. 17

    Congrats! Now you get to focus on just whatever topics you want to focus on from now on. (er, that is, except for whatever TAing and stuff you have to do) Freeeedoooooomm!!!

  18. 18
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    Today. That’s what we’re celebrating (take my congrats…please!).

    She passed the test to be the Village People’s general. Look for her on tour soon…

  19. 19

    Great news! Congrats to you!

  20. 20

    Congratulations. The next years are the best ones.

  21. 21

    WOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Well done Jen! Time for a long sleep and lots of celebratory chocolate

  22. 22

    Yes, you should celebrate now! Because from tomorrow morning onwards, we expect you to be dutifully planning and rehearsing your strategy for the snake fight portion of the thesis defense. I hear preparation for this often takes longer the writing the actual thesis itself.


  23. 23

    I’m thinking a riding crop, actually. Not entirely out of perversion.

  24. 24


    Also, that hat really suits you.

  25. 25

    Following the better thesis = smaller snake line, wouldn’t a perfect thesis mean a snake so small as to be nonexistent, at least in any but a philosophical sense?

    Even a garter snake bite can get infected.

    Best bet is on the thesis. Write that snake into nonexistence.

  26. 26

    Congrats, luckily in the UK we don’t need to do anything similar, closest is our MPhil transfer Viva, which is “just” defending our work so far to see if our research is likely to result in a Phd after further study(that is for those who don’t start on a Phd programme from the outset)

  27. 27

    *congratulatory fist bump*

    Well done you! Now take a couple of days to feel smug before you do anything else.

  28. 28
    Michael Kingsford Gray

    I extend my sincere and warm felicitations upon gaining another welcome qualification!

  29. 29

    next stop Pile it Higher and Deeper Land.

    Oh, and, at last, proof that you too are an Alien from The Planet of the Hats

  30. 30

    And I love the hat!

  31. 31

    Nice. Mine is on Thursday. I want to die.

    (I doubt I will receive a hat)

  32. 32

    Delurking to say “go you!” We don’t do a general exam on this side of the ocean, for which I am entirely grateful. It sounds harrowing. Now go recover and then celebrate.

  33. 33

    Congratulations!! The actual defense is a breeze. Now you just have to, you know, *do* the project. :)

  34. 34
    Sharon C

    Well done!

  35. 35

    Hooray and congratulations! :)

    My humble self didn’t have to do a “general exam” for my PhD either. Here in Germany, I simply started writing my thesis after I got my M.A., finished it in some three years, and then had go give talk and discussion, which is called “disputatio”. That was it (apart from paying for the printing costs, obviously)


    P.S. Is the hat really for real? You get a military style general’s hat and not a mortar-board?

  36. 36
    Graham Martin-Royle

    Not too sure of the significance of the hat, but well done.

  37. 37

    Actually only one living person has made that rank, Pershing, although Congress decided that Washington outranked him and promoted him to it long after his death.

    The insignia is for General of the Army, not Armies, and four have held that rank Marshall, MacArthur, Eisenhower and Bradley. Arnold also held this rank but retired as General of the Air Force.

    Pershing wore one large star. The insignia is often worn by small town sheriffs with big bellies and inadequate equipment.

  38. 38

    Pershing was alive at the time of being promoted General of the Armies (that is grammatically correct), Washington was not.

  39. 39
    Desert Son, OM


    Still learning,


  40. 40

    No one’s perfect. I’d come up with a little something just in case.

  41. 41

    Congrats, Jen!

  42. 42

    Congratulations of the highest order!

    Hey you! Almost a scientist!

  43. 43

    /me salutes General Exam!

  44. 44

    It’s the greatest feeling being past such a hurdle. I hope you get some rest and relaxation as a reward for this.


  45. 45

    Congratulations. I know how trying those can be from both my ex-husbands having gone through it.

  46. 46

    Only ever lurked here. De-lurking to say W00T! Congrats.

  47. 47
    John C. Welch

    Somewhat Incorrect. There have been a number of Five-star holders beyond those you cite:


    William Leahy
    Ernest King
    Chester Nimits
    William Halsey

    Pershing’s rank is a bit of a grey area, as it was never really solidified in terms of star count, and the title itself was largely ceremonial as a reward for his service in WWI. Pershing himself only wore four stars, but gold, not silver, something unique as far as I can tell.

    Had the invasion of japan proceeded as planned, MacArthur would have been a Six-Star general. There was a movement in the 50s to do this anyway, but it would have caused more problems than it was worth, and so MacArthur declined the promotion.

    Washington’s posthumous promotion was more of a “so no one will ever outrank him” thing.

    Technically, Adm. Dewey was a Six Star admiral, being the only person ever promoted to that rank within the Navy.

    The entire “superrank” area is kind of neat reading overall.

    Oh, and of course, Congrats Jen!

    You should really go with the Napolean hat and sash. much cooler overall.

  48. 48

    Congratulations! Now you only have three to five years of drudgery before you get to tack those ridiculous initials, Ph.D. behind your name. As another long ago sufferer, I salute you.

  49. 49
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-


  50. 50
    Rebecca W

    Dashing hat, old bean!

    Congratulations are in order!

  51. 51

    Congrats! Hopefully your slumbers aren’t interrupted by the friendly resident feline.

  52. 52

    Congra Hat Ululations maaate! Whoo hoo!

  53. 53

    Yeah! Good job.

  54. 54

    Whoa now. She’s been a scientist since she was doing paper worthy research on genetic bottlenecks.

    (yes I had to google the subject)

  55. 55
    J.M. Pierce

    Kudos to you JM….now get
    out there and accidentally prove the theory of intelligent design…

  56. 56

    Again…my ignorance in academic traditions are likely showing again, but I presume the hat is not cosplay? o.O

  57. 57

    It’s no surprise, but congratulations anyway.

  58. 58
    Daniel Fincke


  59. 59

    Niiize hat! (And mazel tov!)


  60. 60
    Georgia Sam

    Congratulations! And if the genome sciences thing doesn’t work out (although that seems unlikely now), you can find work as a hat model.

  61. 61

    Good for you!

    And adorable picture!

  62. 62

    Well, I scanned throught the comments, and it seems that nobody has said it, so I will:

    I always did love a woman in uniform!

  63. 63
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    It’s a peaked cap, a type associated with military officers’ uniforms (and, to a lesser extent, police and merchant marine officers).

    This particular model has a star on it. Stars denote officers of the General rank.

    She passed her general exam.

  64. 64
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    I’m sure she converted to scientism well before that.


  65. 65

    Congratulations, and you look smashing in that hat!

  66. 66

    Congrats! You totally rock that hat!

  67. 67
    Prof. Bleen


  68. 68
    Jacob V

    Congrats! And I have to say that my first impression of the pic was that you look like a very well qualified hall monitor who might possibly let you sneak out early.

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