Awesome Anticlimax

I love hearing stories about vivas that were transformatively awesome for the candidate. Not only did they pass, not only did it go well, not only was it enjoyable – it was AMAZING!!!

I love hearing them, but occasionally there is still that little twinge of sadness thinking about my own. I passed, it went well, it wasn’t unenjoyable, but it wasn’t awesome. It wasn’t amazing. If anything it was an anticlimax.

I remember thinking afterwards, “Was that it?”

I think now, particularly if your viva is over video and you’re without a peer community around you to help you celebrate, there’s a chance that your viva could lean towards being an anticlimax rather than totally awesome. By comparison to 2020, the viva – this thing that gets hyped so much for so many reasons and in so many ways – might seem to drop in terms of significance.

Maybe. On the day, or the day after, or the week that follows, however long, there might be a time where your viva feels like an anticlimactic end to your PhD.

But pride will follow eventually.

You’ll recognise the achievement. You’ll realise, as you finally take a breath after it all, that this is something amazing.

I hope your viva is awesome, but if on the day it doesn’t quite hit the heights you were hoping for, I hope that the anticlimax is short-lived, and the awesomeness finds you soon.