I love that expression, but find it hard a lot of the time to put it into effect. Very often I’m in the middle of something before I realise the end that I’m looking for; I’m working on something I find interesting and then see what it needs to be (or what I want it to be).
I think most PhDs don’t know what the end of their research or the end of the PhD will be like until they’re somewhere in the middle. That’s fine too. You don’t need to start preparing for the viva until you’ve submitted, but once you have a sense of what you’re aiming for you can begin to steer yourself in that destination.
- You can think about how to make your thesis better. How can you communicate your research? How can you anticipate the needs of your audience? How can you structure your thesis well?
- You can find out about the viva. What are realistic expectations? What are the regulations for your university? What are vivas really like?
- You can think about what you need to be ready for the viva. What little steps can you take? What do you need to do? What would a confident you look like?
You don’t need everything all at once. You don’t need to start preparing for the viva until your thesis is done. But once you know where you’re going you can start to lay the foundations for the end of your PhD.
Begin, in the middle, with the end in mind…