“People like us do things like this”
This phrase runs through my mind at least once per day. It’s Seth Godin‘s definition of culture, and I often bring it up when I tell people about the viva. It’s worth exploring to understand the process of the viva on the day, and to help you hone your expectations.
Vivas don’t just happen. There are regulations, but academics in your department have ideas about what a “good” viva might be. This is informed by practices of your department – the culture of your department. Maybe a “good” viva is two hours. Maybe it starts with certain questions. Maybe they like to explore certain topics. Maybe they proceed in a certain way. The definition of “good” will change over time, because the academics come to a shared idea of what a good viva is like.
People like your examiners do vivas like this.
And what does the phrase mean for you? You are talented, dedicated, you’ve done the work, you’re prepared…
People like you do things like passing the viva.
Postscript: I have a lot of things to be grateful to Seth Godin for since I first heard of him. Not least, he is the first person I heard of who shared a daily blog, with the goal of helping others and trying to be useful.
Two years ago today I started this little experiment by following his example. Over 700 posts later, I only wish I’d started sooner 🙂