When It Matters

Before your viva, for weeks or maybe months leading up, it might feel like the only thing that matters.

During your viva, perhaps it really is the only thing. You might forget everything else. You might genuinely be surprised or confused at how quickly time has passed while there.

And afterwards, there might be a brief spell where you think it was the peak. Maybe. But I have a hunch that the achievement will come to dominate more than the event.

I’ve been keeping thoughts of my viva as a little companion for a long time, but that’s because of work. In the twelve years since my viva I’ve done far bigger things. I’ve had much more important life events. I couldn’t be here today without going through my viva, but my viva doesn’t matter that much now.

Not as much as what I did during the course of my PhD, and not as much as what’s come after.

Perspective takes time, but trust me, if you’re finding any part of the time leading up to or around your viva tough, in future you will find some comfort.


Viva Survivors Summer Sabbatical: I’m taking July, August and September off from new writing to concentrate on other creative projects, so will be sharing a post from the archives every day throughout those months. Today’s post was originally published on May 7th 2020.