…or, I Went To The Zoo To Do Viva Survivor!

There’s a lot of nice things I get to do as part of my work. A few months ago I was asked to deliver my Viva Survivor session as part of a doctoral training programme’s away day. It’s not the first time that I’ve delivered the session outside of a university, I’ve been to a couple of other away days at hotels or conference centres.

This was the first time I’ve been to a zoo for work 🙂

I got to have a wander around, and then did the session after lunch. There was a special treat just before my session started. Going behind the scenes at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park, to learn about how they care for their big cats and then feed a lion! I’ve sometimes done work as part of a larger programme, but never had to follow something quite as thrilling as feeding a lion…

It was a great day, and most of the time when I’m out working I’m fortunate enough that it feels like I’ve had a great day. This was a bit more special than usual though, a real highlight.

I hope that lots of researchers feel that their PhDs are filled with great days (even though, sadly, I know from talking to people that’s not always the reality). As your viva gets nearer I’d encourage you to reflect on what the highlights were, and why they stand out. Is it all emotional? Is it something you learned, a significant day in your research? Was it the first or only time you got to do something really special?

Over a thousand-and-more days, parts of the PhD can fade into the background. Sometimes it can feel like it’s all about the work. But when it’s done, you’re the PhD.

How did you get here? What were the highlights on the path that got you here?