Change of Plans

I’m thinking back to this time last year. In the UK there were various permissions extended to allow families and friends to meet over Christmastime-

-and then there weren’t.

Very quickly plans were changed, compromises were reached and make-do decisions were made.

That was hopefully just for one year. If you’ve had to make a similar change of plans for your PhD since March 2020 then that could have had a big and continuing impact on your PhD journey. Everything from a lack of access to equipment or materials and reduced meeting opportunities with your supervisors, all the way to a fundamental change of direction to your research.

It’s natural to be concerned about the questions that could be asked about this at the viva. It’s natural to worry. Not just common viva nervousness from anticipation of the event, but concern for communicating the practical changes and the impact – perhaps even wondering about what might have been.

It’s also natural to expect your examiners to be understanding about how the pandemic has had an impact on your PhD. They will know the changing situation of the last two years will have been difficult: in whatever way it comes up in the viva they will simply want you to be clear. Be clear about the impact. Be clear about how you changed your plans. Be clear about how you navigated the work despite the situation.

Be clear. They will understand.