Hope For Excited

Hope is what we have when we have little leverage on the outcome.

I encourage PhD candidates to prepare for their viva rather than hope it will just all go well, because preparation leads to a better experience and a better outcome. No candidate needs to hope that they will be ready when they can act to be ready.

You might need to hope you feel excited or enthusiastic for meeting your examiners. It’s rare in my experience that candidates feel that way. I ask candidates how they feel about their viva at the start of every webinar I do and between five and ten percent say they feel excited.

At the end of a session they might say they feel better, but it’s rare that they now feel excited!


I know what someone can do to feel ready. I know the kinds of actions someone can take to be prepared. But I only hope that candidates feel excited. Confidence can ward against nervousness, but excitement is another thing entirely.

Maybe that’s something else I can consider in the future: how can you go from confident to excited?

Maybe if more people were excited it would be simpler to build up a positive culture around the viva.

And maybe then the viva would be something that fewer people were worried about.