In the viva, it’s you. Your work is what’s being discussed, but you did it. You’re the topic of conversation.
How do you feel about that?
At a recent Viva Survivor session, a participant told me that he was sure about his work, confident in his ability, but he felt really uncomfortable being the centre of attention. That feeling can be hard to shift. There’s no magic solution; a well-intentioned “don’t worry” won’t solve the problem.
Maybe a change of language could help: instead of “I have to be the centre of attention” maybe “I get to be the centre of attention”. Your viva isn’t just happening, it’s happening for a reason, because you’ve done something good.
Maybe practice could help: find opportunities to put yourself in the spotlight. A mock viva. Give a talk. Invite a group of friends to come for coffee and ask you all about your work. Get more comfortable.
Trying to live with discomfort won’t help. Trying to just not worry is no good. You have to do something.
Think and change your perspective. Act and change your perspective. Pick one or do both.