In viva prep sessions I ask candidates how they feel about their viva. Often, the group are between a few weeks away from their viva to a few months before submission, and there will be a range of emotions in the room. There’s lots of worry, concern about being unprepared, maybe uncertainty about what they feel.
And typically one person who raises their hand and says, “I’m excited actually…”
…but then they hurriedly qualify their statement with, “…erm, to be done!”
Excited that it will soon all be over. Excited that soon they will feel relief. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it saddens me that the most positive people seem to feel is “excited (to be done)”.
I don’t have a magic wand to wave, but if I could I would aim it to help people feel:
- Excited that they get to discuss their work with examiners!
- Excited to have achieved something big!
- Excited to have come so far and learned so much!
I suspect these candidates do exist, but perhaps feel like they can’t speak up as much. Maybe it’s hard to seem positive around others who don’t.
If you want to feel some flavour of excitement for your viva, even excited to be done, but are stuck on something like worry, anxiety or fear, then think about what you could do to move yourself. What do you want to feel, and what could you do to get you there?