Manage To Keep Going

Survive means manage to keep going in difficult circumstances.

Just difficult. Not negative. Not a struggle.

I use the definition a lot in my work to emphasise that surviving the viva doesn’t mean the situation is automatically bad or overwhelming, or that chances of success are slim. Survive helps to put the viva in context.

But there are other ways we could apply it to a PhD journey:

  • It could mean that someone learned how to cope with a bad situation.
  • Or persisted despite an awful series of events.
  • Or got through their PhD even when they didn’t enjoy it.

And it could mean that someone simply found their way. They found obstacles, they worked around them. Some were big, some were small, but they made it.


I would never encourage someone to forget the hard parts of a PhD. “Put it out of your mind,” isn’t in my toolbox of tips. But if there are harder parts to your progress, more stressful, more emotionally challenging, I would suggest that giving focus to them might not help you – particularly as you get ready for your viva. It could help you more to focus less on how you managed, and instead remember that you kept going. You made it through.

And if you keep going a little longer you’ll finish your PhD journey.