Making A Cup Of Tea

How do you make a cuppa?

I prefer it from a teapot, served in a cup with a saucer. I add milk after I’m sure it’s strong enough.

Most of the time though I make it in a mug, a couple of minutes steeping, quick stir, splash of milk, stir and take the teabag out.

I used to take two sugars! (can’t quite believe it)

And my mum often makes her tea in a cup but puts the milk in first, then the teabag and hot water. A great-aunt insisted you have to do it that way, to “scald the milk”.

The end result of these and so many other similar processes? A cup of tea. This one’s stronger, that one’s milkier, and some might not be to your taste at all, but they’re all undeniably cups of tea.

The most important question though is what does this have to do with vivas?

Some vivas are long, some are short. Some start with a presentation, while others are a long conversation from the start. Some will have an independent chair, some might have a supervisor present. Some people will relish the thought of their viva, some will tie themselves in knots for months in advance. Most will get minor corrections, some will get none.

And at the end of all of these variations you simply have a viva. Many possible differences, all producing something recognisable as the exam for the end of a PhD.