'Twas the night before orals; The pacing was frantic.
'Twas no time for quarrels Or similar antics.
The disk drives were humming. The lamps were ablaze.
But thoughts were not coming! The brain was a-daze.
Alone at the books, The haggard soul gazed,
Staring down with blank looks, More than slightly amazed.
This new hill to climb Just grew bigger and higher
While one at a time, Family members retired.
All judgment regress'd. Cognition grew bleary.
Was ANOVA a test One could use in comm theory?
What was that about t-tests And significance levels?
Was pooled variance best When reporting those devils?
And rhetorical studies--So much to recall!
Who were Cicero's buddies? Were they orators all?
Foucault! And Quintillian! And Fisher! And Burke!
There must be a million Huge bodies of work!
What about the committee? Is it not cool to feed 'em?
Should one try to be witty? Does one dare try to lead 'em?
Then suddenly, there On the bookcase appeared
A man small and spare With a glist'ning white beard.
He smoked a clay pipe And seemed jolly and spry,
With a joke growing ripe In the gleam of his eye.
He was a strange sight 'Cause although he was hairy,
He'd wand and wings white! Was he warlock or fairy?
"You think I look odd," He said, puffing his pipe,
"But a lithe girlish bod Is mere stereotype!"
"My sex," he said, "varies And may seem a bender
But fair's fair for fairies, By race and by gender."
"I'm your quals good luck fairy, Despite being male.
Though orals are scary, You simply can't fail."
"I'm spreading my magic," Said he with a smirk.
"Quals cannot be tragic, Or I'd be a jerk!"
Then with a great gust, He brandished his wand
And spread fairy dust To make the spell bond.
"Go forth, child, and dazzle. Your committee will pass you.
There's no need to frazzle No one can harass you."
Then conferring a smile And a rather sharp stare,
He disappeared while Puffing smoke in the air.
He was gone in a twinkling, But within those four walls
He bequeathed a slight inkling Of life after quals.
A lingering phrase, Though the fairy'd departed,
Hung about like a haze And this wisdom imparted:
"For sanity's sake, You deserve a vacation,
Which you just cannot take Until post-dissertation!"
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