At a workshop in December, a PhD candidate told me he couldn’t see past the “event horizon of his viva.” This put into words, quite beautifully, something I’ve felt for a long time about the important events in my life. Some things seem so massive that they draw you in completely. There’s no escape from thinking about them.
Time and space breaks down at the viva. Perspective gets skewed. The viva feels so big it distorts everything. What can you do as it draws you in?
- Look back: you’re getting close, but you’ve come a long way to get to these few hours (and must have done a lot to get there)
- Look forward: make plans for afterwards. Focus on the post-viva reality. This isn’t the end.
- Look around: there are people who can help you in all sorts of ways, even if that’s just to help you get a bit of perspective.
Steer your focus. The viva doesn’t have to be a black hole.