In Dumbo, the little elephant with the big ears believes he can fly because of a magic feather.
He can’t, there’s no magic, but it’s enough to help him believe at least for a time – until he recognises that he doesn’t need them.
Do you have or need a magic feather? Magic feathers won’t make the difference to your viva success. You need skills, knowledge, work and and a thesis to help you succeed – but a magic feather might help how you feel about getting through the process.
It probably wouldn’t be a feather for you. Your magic feather could be a favourite song. Planning and doing your prep in a certain way. Wearing a favourite pair of socks or a special badge.
Your magic feather could be a routine, a belief, a placebo, a cup of coffee or dancing your nerves away. Whatever it is, it won’t make a difference to your success: it might make a difference to you. A magic feather can help you remember you’re good enough.
After twelve years of workshops and webinars and helping more than 7000 researchers through them, I still have my magic feathers to help me feel confident.
Find your magic feathers, let them help you on your way. If at some point you don’t need them that’s great. If you always do then remember they are a reminder of your talent and confidence, not the cause.