Me, Chocolate and Books

Boxes of bite-size chocolate frustrate me. I eat the treats I love first, Twixes and Twirls, then days later I open to find that all I have left are so-so Milky Ways and Mars… Finally I’m left with Bounty and Snickers that I won’t eat at all.

I look at my bookshelves and see similar behaviour. I look at my stacks of unread books and go for what attracts me most, or for a book I know I’ve enjoyed before. I push to the back of the queue any books that seem too big, too boring or just not right. I’ve had books on personal improvement, award-winning novels and sci-fi escapes in my library for years and always pushed them away. “I’ll get to them one day.” I go for the fun or the familiar. Save the rest for later.

If you’re preparing for your viva then it’s OK to focus on things you like about your research. You can make notes on things that are most rewarding or fulfilling to you. You can prepare for the questions or topics that you like most.

It’s your choice, but all of the other stuff is still there. Just because you don’t look at it, doesn’t mean that your examiners will avoid it too.

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution. You might do the tricky stuff first, or you might set a particular time in your diary to look at it. But you have to do something.

You can’t always just have the fun stuff.

(having said all this, chocolate and books generally are fun and make excellent post-viva presents and rewards!)