I didn’t feel particular nervousness about the viva, but I don’t remember feeling great about it either. To feel a tiny bit better I wore my most comfortable shoes. I continued to do this for years afterwards when I was in situations – mostly work-related – where I felt uncomfortable.
In fact, I did everything I could to make my situation comfortable. Comfortable shoes. A preparation routine. Arriving early to make sure I had plenty of time. Anything and everything I could think of to feel more comfortable and more capable.
The nature of the viva can make it very uncomfortable for some candidates. It’s to be expected: general nervousness or apprehension about what might happen can be unsettling. Feelings of nervousness about the viva aren’t bad in themselves – they’re normal responses to the environment you’ll be in – but they aren’t comfortable and they aren’t always helpful.
So, if the event could feel uncomfortable, what could you do to increase your comfort?
- You could find out more about what to expect and possibly remove anxieties that aren’t necessary.
- You could have a mock viva to remove discomfort at thinking about questions and responding to them.
- You could take something with you that helps you to feel good or better.
- You could invite your supervisor to your viva to be a friendly face – assuming that’s how you feel about them!
What could you do to increase your comfort at the viva? Once you have some options, decide what you will do to be more comfortable on viva day.