Candidacy is a special process that is unique to Columbia. As a third-year student, I have now had the perspective of experiencing candidacy from all three viewpoints.For those that don’t know, all of the second-year students go through a process called candidacy during the first semester. The process is nerve racking. As a student, you are either passed through and can continue on with your work fairly unimpeded (not to mention enjoy your time off over the winter break), or you are asked to return before the beginning of the second semester and represent your work. I wrote extensively about my experience presenting here and here.
This year, as the second-year students fretted over their preparations, and worried about what would happen should they be asked to represent, I felt an amazing sense of calm. During my first year in the program, watching the second-year students go through this made me uneasy and nervous about going through it myself. Before my candidacy presentation, I was fairly positive that I wasn’t going to pass through, having watched the second-years the year before made me unbelievably nervous. Oddly enough, I was less nervous during my representation than I was the first time around, even though it is supposedly more important.
This year, looking back on things, I realize that there was really no reason for the fretting. You either pass or you don’t. That’s it. And if you don’t, you try again. I also realize the immense amount of progress I have made since then, and how much more comfortable I feel with my work. At this point, I can’t imagine being nervous at all with presenting my work.
It is interesting now looking back on this process and seeing it as nothing more than a bump in the road.