I have complicated feelings about my viva. It was fine, it went well, but it wasn’t totally enjoyable for me; that has nothing to do with my examiners.
It was “bad” that I didn’t sleep well the night before. I got about three hours sleep; I had some nerves and adrenaline going in but a great background tiredness.
And then my viva was four hours long.
I started it tired.
I ended it exhausted.
And everything else about my viva was good: not good by comparison, but good!
My examiners were fair with their questions. They had clearly prepared. They had opinions, but asked me to contribute rather than just pass a decision. They didn’t like how two of my chapters were written, but discussed them with me rather than simply give me corrections.
My viva was four hours long, and I was shattered by the end, but in many ways it felt like it was over much too quickly. It was an anticlimax, as was the end of my PhD. I don’t think that’s universal, but I know I’m not unique in thinking that. After all, a viva is only part of one day: pressured, important, full of the good and maybe a little “bad” – but still only a few hours compared to more than a thousand days you might spend pursuing a PhD.
If your viva is in the future, ask others about theirs: ask for the good and the bad, and look for the balance that might help set your own expectations. If your viva is in the past, tell others: share the details that make up the picture. How did you feel? Why was that?