Since July 2010 I’ve delivered sessions about the viva to over 6000 postgraduate researchers. I have the 300th Viva Survivor session in my diary for early 2022. Shortly after that I’ll mark the five year anniversary of this daily blog.
I regularly remind myself of these numbers. I don’t write them to boost how I seem to you: I write them to help me see myself more clearly.
Like everyone I have doubts. I have anxieties. They come and go and can sometimes bring me down.
The numbers don’t lie though. The numbers help to tell my story back to me. I have done this work for a long time, I’ve worked with a lot of people, I’ve stayed determined with the blog. The numbers help me to show me the results of what I’ve done. They steer me towards my confidence and away from doubts.
What are your numbers? What measures could help you?
The number of days you worked on your PhD so far? The number of times you’ve shared your work? The number of chapters in your thesis or interesting things you found? The number of challenging situations you overcame?
You might have a bad day or a bad week near the end of your PhD. It may be you doubt yourself as you get closer to the viva. In those times look for your numbers. Your feelings might say one thing, but the numbers will tell you a far more helpful story.