You’ll hear them all the time around the viva.
- Don’t worry! – Stop it! All better now.
- Good luck – because the viva is all about luck, apparently…
- You’ll be fine! – see point 1!
- Just read your thesis – all you need to do before the viva, apparently…
- They always go well… – so don’t worry! And we’re back to point 1. Again.
I’m being very harsh. Anyone who says these to you is well-intentioned. They want their friend to succeed. They really do want you to be fine, they want your viva to go well and they want to reassure you that you’re talented.
The five phrases above are kind, but superficial. Far better to give a little more time, a little more detail. When it’s your turn, be a good friend with what you offer others:
- How are you feeling? How can I help?
- You’ve worked hard for this! Remember when…
- If you’re feeling nervous, why not…?
- Is there anything you need help with for your viva prep?
- Here’s what I’ve heard… Here’s why that sounds alright to me…
Check in with your friend. Don’t give shallow stock phrases but deep encouragements. They don’t need you to solve all their problems. They might need a few friendly nudges to help their confidence.