The Last Little Thing

I had read my thesis. I had made notes, lots of them. Read papers by my examiners. Had six or seven hour-long conversations with my supervisor in the almost-two months leading from submission to my viva. My viva was 10am on a Monday morning, and I had a weekend free and clear to rest, relax and check anything else I needed to check.

Which I did!

And then at 9:45am on Monday, with fifteen minutes to go before the start of my viva I knocked on my supervisor’s door and said, “Hi Hugh, can I just go over the definition of a genus 2 handlebody one more time? Thanks! It’s when…”

A basic definition was perhaps not the best thing to be checking just before my viva. It was a minor point, but a worry point – something I kept checking again and again because I was sure I was misremembering something, or that something fundamental wasn’t quite sticking in my mind.

What minor points concern you? Even little things can add up to a big worry or a heap of nerves. You don’t have to start your prep by tidying away small concerns, but nor is it a good idea to finish your prep with them either.