Daily Confidence

I worry about my viva every day…

These were the first words I saw in the chat window during a viva help webinar when I asked for questions. In a few short sentences the person described how they couldn’t help it: they felt nervous and worried every day when they thought about their upcoming viva.

There are useful big picture things that could help – learning about what to expect, preparing for the viva, talking to friends – but nervousness for the viva can persist regardless.

Feeling nervous is not always an easy thing to switch off, but building confidence can help; confidence doesn’t eliminate nervousness, but it does help to put it into perspective.

The person in my webinar worried every day. I wonder what might happen if they did something for their confidence every day?

What would happen if you did something every day for your confidence? For example, you could:

  • Reflect on the contribution in your thesis.
  • Bookmark a page in your thesis that you’re proud of.
  • Create a playlist of music that helps you to feel confident.
  • Tell someone about your research.
  • Make a list of successes from your PhD.

Worrying and feeling nervous are perfectly human responses to big, important events. They can become habitual though, a recurring issue to be dealt with. Rather than wait for them to arrive, invest in a daily practice to build your confidence.