I was halfway through a short workshop on project planning. I was sharing a process researchers could use to outline their projects. At the coffee break a young researcher came to me and politely explained he was going to leave before we started the second half. “This is all very interesting,” he said, “But I just want a silver bullet. I don’t want a process, I want something that solves it all for me.”
I thanked him for coming, told him of course he should go if he felt that way – but also shared that in my experience there was no such thing as a silver bullet for project planning, no magic thing that just sorted it out.
Convenience is nice, but there aren’t a lot of silver bullets lying around. Sometimes you can lean on advice or experience, but more often than not you just have to follow a process.
There’s a real lack of silver bullets when it comes to the viva.
There’s no silver bullet for prep. Nothing you can load up that answers every question. No silver bullet for confidence as you walk in.
But then there were no silver bullets to get you from the start of your PhD to submission and you did that. You don’t need them anyway. You needed time and effort and ideas and talent to get your thesis done and you did. You have all of those things when you prepare for the viva, and in the viva too.
You don’t need a silver bullet now.
You just need you.