I finally got four scientist to agree on a two-hour meeting for my prelim defense. It's scheduled for July 28. According to department guidelines I need to send them the written proposal by July 14. Which is effectively July 12 since I'm driving to Colorado with J-man and his kids July 13-14.
I have just under a month and a half to write the long-overdue research proposal for my PhD (I was supposed to do it last year, but my dad's illness came first). It seems like a long time and too soon all at once. I'm supposed to use an atmospheric model that I still don't have running reliably. Before I send my proposal to the committee I need to do some test runs to gauge how much computer time I'll need, which may in part determine which experiments I conduct. Can't if the model's not running right.
Regardless, I am excited to get this out of the way. It's the second big hurdle towards a PhD (first was the qualifying exam). Once I pass the prelim, all I have left is research and final defense. I don't even have to take any more classes (though I probably will because I'm me and there are lots of interesting classes at colleges).
What are the rites of passage on the way to a PhD in your department?