Episode MCC

Or, Star Wars and the Viva…

I’ve loved Star Wars my whole life.

I ran around playgrounds as a child being a Jedi.

I grew up into a teenager who knew The Empire Strikes Back backwards.

I was a 20-something who would wait an hour for a two-minute trailer to download – remember dial-up modems?

The prequels were not as great as the originals but they were Star Wars.

Disney bought Lucasfilm and OH MY GOSH there were going to be more movies!!!

I became a parent and showed my toddling child trailers for the new movies, both gasping at far away planets and exciting spaceship chases.

And all through 2019 I was unbelievably excited: here it comes, Star Wars Episode IX… The final one, the last chapter, the end of a great story that had been spun since before I was born! Here it comes, here it comes and-

It was OK, I guess.

Not bad… No not bad. Good, yeah, it was good. Not great, not…

It was OK.


The story of many vivas is similar.

Your viva will be a long-time coming, a lot of work and anticipation leading up to a few hours with your examiners. I think it’s fair to expect the viva to go well, but also expect that it won’t be the life-changing event that might be promised by what the viva is for. Disbelieve the horror stories or urban legends, but don’t imagine it will be some crowning achievement or fitting swansong to the final months of your PhD.

It will be OK.

Not bad. I hope it feels good for you. A viva may be a clear success, a great thesis and a great candidate, and yet you could still be left feeling a little disappointed.

“Was that it?” was a question I asked myself after both my viva and Star Wars Episode IX. In both cases, how could the reality compete with years of anticipation?


(and yes, Roman numeral enthusiasts, the title of this post is accurate – this is daily blog post 1200!)