A Tiny Insurance Policy

A few weeks after I submitted my thesis, in spring 2008, I got a bill from my institution. It was a request for fees as my funding had finished. The request was very formal, pay now, and there was no phone number to contact anybody.

This was the dark ages of mobile internet: no wi-fi and the 3G modem for my laptop was painfully slow. It took nearly an hour to find a phone number for someone who might be able to help. When I explained and they checked my student number they immediately said, “Oh yes, the system’s sent it by mistake; you owe nothing and there’s an amended letter on the way. No problem!”

No problem – except for the stress, the frustration and the lost focus I’d had for an hour!

Most candidates I help have a fairly good idea of the format and regulations for vivas at their university. Still, unexpected requests for fees or an unexpected regulation can be stressful. You might not be able to find out everything in advance; but today you can find contact details for someone who can help if you find yourself in a tricky situation. You might not need to call anyone, but it’ll take two minutes to find them now, just in case something crops up.

No problem – save stress, save frustration and keep your focus!

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