Achievement Unlocked

I’ve been keeping busy for the last few months, work and family life has had lots going on lately while we make changes and adjust. I’ve been enjoying games a lot: teaching my daughter lots of board games during the day, then switching over to my PlayStation 4 when she goes to bed for games she can’t play!

Most video games I play have some kind of trophies in them: parallel goals alongside the game’s main aims.

Instead of just finishing the Spider-Man game, seeing where the story goes, a trophy might be for taking certain pictures, or beating up bad guys, or collecting runaway pigeons (I hated that trophy). Oxenfree, a fantastic story game I’ve played three times and adore, has trophies for collecting things, but also for steering the game to different outcomes. Detroit: Become Human has similar trophies for the wildly different stories it can become, whereas the Untitled Goose Game has trophies for stealing a picnic, wearing a red bow tie and locking a child in a garage…

Whenever I earn a trophy in a game, a little ding! sounds and a medal-object briefly appears to say, “You achieved this!” Trophies on the PS4 range from Bronze (small accomplishments) and Silver (tricky challenges) to Gold (finishing the game or performing a near-impossible feat).

Trophies aren’t essential, of course, but they can be nice little motivators.

Which brings us back to the viva!

First, what achievements have you already unlocked? Over the course of your PhD, where can you see that you have achieved something?

  • It could be small – ding! You read a paper or solved a little problem!
  • It could be tough – ding! You finished re-drafting your methods chapter!
  • It could be a really big deal – ding! You submitted your thesis!

Take some time to map out what you have achieved – and realise that you’ve done a lot to get this far.

Perhaps consider what achievements lie before you on the path to your viva. Bronze trophies for gathering resources, Silvers for reading your thesis or having a mock viva, Gold for getting everything as ready as possible for the day.

Lots of games have Platinum trophies too: a trophy you get for earning every other trophy in the game. For most games this is particularly hard, ticking every box, exploring everywhere, doing everything.

For you and your viva, with so many trophies earned already, you can be confident that your PhD Platinum is within reach.