Leaves On The Line

I travel everywhere for work by train.

I make my plans, check maps, routes, timetables and book things as far in advance as possible…

…and at least 30% of the time there is some kind of hold-up with the train.

Leaves on the line mean the train has to slow down.

A missed connection adds an hour to my journey.

Signal failures mean the train can’t go at all.

And last year I was stuck in a blizzard! Things got so cold that the track ahead froze solid – then when we got free, the train’s brakes went “funny” so we had to wait while a breakdown train came to help us.

Reflecting on all of this, I’m reminded of the viva. You can do all of the work, the research, the preparation and the confidence building – but then you could forget a detail on the day. You could be nervous. You could get a correction you weren’t expecting.

Or you or one of your examiners could be ill and the viva could be postponed!

But, like my train journeys, you’ll make it through. You’ll prevail. On a delayed train, in the moment I can be cross, frustrated or wonder “What will I do?” – but I’ve always reached my destination. During the blizzard I had to take two different trains than I’d planned, spend a freezing hour stood at Berwick-upon-Tweed station, and a total of twelve slow hours of progress but I got home.

Whatever happens around your viva, whatever “leaves on the line” slow your progress or make you doubt, you will make it through.

You can’t anticipate everything, but you can be certain you’re on your way to success.