What can you do to keep reinforcing and reminding yourself about your talent? While viva preparation has to build on what you know, what you can do and how well you can respond in the viva, one key aspect of this preparation is reminding yourself that you are good.

Because you must be. You must be talented to have got as far as you have with your research.

I’m a fan of putting up signs. Signs are useful for the newcomer – giving directions, setting out expectations – but they’re also really useful for the experienced to reinforce culture or knowledge, or simply to remind and inspire.

I have a Post-it Note on my office wall that was given to me anonymously after a workshop years ago that makes me smile every time I see it:

It helps to have that reminder. I have a page full of prompts for blog posts on the wall, despite having a lot of experience now at writing regularly. An index card next to my desk asks me, “What’s the most important thing I can do today that would make tomorrow better?”

What signs could you put up around your workspace as you get closer to your viva?

Key points to remember about your research? Details about examiners you don’t want to forget? Or maybe simple things to help you feel better and remember that you’re good at what you do?

At the end of 2019 my wife put this lovely piece of art up on the landing in our house:

It’s been very useful, particularly in the last six months, to be walking past this every day 🙂

What signs do you need? Where will you put them? What are they for?