Figuring Out Fears

It’s not irrational to be nervous about your viva or concerned for what might happen. The outcome matters, it’s important, and naturally anyone who faced a viva in their near future could feel a little nervous.

If you’re anxious, worried or afraid though, you have a problem that needs to be addressed. Shying away or hoping you just feel better soon won’t help. You need to do something.

Ask yourself three questions, in sequence:

  • Why do you feel the way you do?
  • How might you address the problem?
  • What will you do?

Start with why. Unpick what is really causing the problem for you. Perhaps you’ve found something in your thesis and you know it will need to be discussed. Maybe you don’t know something about the viva process and that gap of knowledge is causing worry. Once you know why you feel the way you do you can start to make a change.

Ask yourself how you might address the issue. There will be a way to move forward; there will probably be lots of things you could do. Ask for help. Ask for advice. At the viva you have to respond to questions by yourself but before then there are lots of people who can provide support.

Decide what you will do. You can get help but you have to act. If there’s a problem, you have to take steps to get past it. You’re the only one who can.

It’s not wrong to be nervous and it’s possible you might face problems.

But you can figure them out, move past them and have a good viva.