Hiatus Ending Soon!

Long time, no see!

This short hiatus wasn’t something that I particularly had planned for the podcast: I underestimated how involved I was going to be with a new project of mine, and the time that I had for doing any work on the podcast seemed to evaporate into thin air. Now that new project is underway (and another one has been done in secret; I’ll tell you about it in a few months’ time) I can switch my attention back to sharing PhD and viva stories.

Episode 55 is coming up on April 11th, one week from today, and features Dr Anna Mackenzie telling me about her PhD research, how she prepared for her viva and what happened on the day. I think this will be the only episode for April, but then I’m planning to do two episodes for May: one regular and one “special” that I’ll need YOUR help with.

A few months back, after listening to a couple of other podcasts that I really like, I thought that it might be fun to do a Q&A episode: what do you want to know about the viva? About the podcast or the work I do? What would help you? Ask me, and I’ll answer! I’m going to start the prep for this in two weeks I think, so will give more details then. I really want this to be a useful episode, so your help is greatly needed and appreciated.

A quick update on my idea of running a Patreon campaign: after a lot of back and forth on this, thinking about pros and cons and so on, I’ve decided not to pursue this. I think Patreon is a neat idea, but I don’t think it is quite right for how I want to develop the podcast. Running and managing it could become a distraction to making the episodes themselves. I am fortunate that I have the kind of business and life that gives me time to do the podcast (and pursue ideas and projects for my own development) and I think for now that it’s best that things stay more or less as they are.

So to recap: new episode on April 11th, more episodes in May, including plans for a Q&A epsiode, and no plans for Patreon. Email me if you want to know more about any of this, or if you’d like to come on a future episode – I’m always looking for people who are happy to share their PhD and viva experiences, or who are interested in coming on a future special.

Thanks for reading!

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)

Episode 54: Dr Fiona Noble

We’re back with the first episode of 2016! In this episode I’m talking to Dr Fiona Noble about her PhD experiences and viva. Fiona’s research was on Post-Franco Spanish Cinema, and it was great to talk to her about this, and also chat with her about her viva preparations and what happened on the day.

Fiona has a blog here and has written three posts dissecting her viva preparation and experience, which you can find on her blog in the following places:

I’m exploring the last few details for the Patreon campaign for supporting the podcast – get in touch if you’d like advance notice about this. You can find me on Twitter as @DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors. Please get in touch as well if you want to come on the podcast to share your PhD and viva experiences. I’m planning for 2016 to be a big year on the podcast – I hope you’ll join me on the journey!

Thanks for reading!

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)

Episode 53: Dr Michael Munnik

In this episode I’m talking to Dr Michael Munnik, who had his viva at the University of Edinburgh just over a year ago. Michael’s PhD research looked at the relationships between journalist and Muslim sources in Glasgow; it was really fascinating to hear about his research, how he prepared for his viva and what happened on the day. Michael is now a lecturer in social science theories and methods at Cardiff University, and you can find out more about him here.

In the summer of this year Michael wrote three posts for the Pubs and Publications blog, check them out here:

This is the last episode for 2015, but we’ll be back again in January 2016. Soon after that I’ll be launching the Patreon campaign for supporting the podcast – get in touch if you’d like advance notice about this. You can find me on Twitter too as @DrRyder or @VivaSurvivors. I love hearing from people who want to come on the podcast to share their PhD and viva experiences – and we’ll be hearing a lot more of them on the podcast in 2016!

Thanks for reading!

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)

Episode 52: Dr Emma Cole

In this episode I’m talking to Dr Emma Cole, creator of the PhD Vlog YouTube channel, and recent viva survivor! Emma’s PhD research looked at modern performances of Greek tragedies, and we had an interesting chat about her research and viva. This isn’t the first time we’ve talked, as I appeared on Emma’s vlog earlier this year in an episode all about viva preparation. It was great to catch up with Emma and to hear about how her viva had turned out.

Episode 53 is coming up on Monday 14th December, and that will be the last episode for 2015. After the holidays we’ll be back for a new episode in mid-January, and soon after that I plan to launch the Patreon campaign to help support the podcast. I’m really excited to be able to share this with you!

If you want to hear more about this before any official announcements then get in touch. Email me here or find me on Twitter as @DrRyder or @VivaSurvivors. I love hearing from people who want to come on the podcast to share their PhD and viva experiences and if you can, please consider supporting the podcast by buying one of my ebooks on viva preparation.

Thanks for reading!

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)

Episode 51: Dr Wendy Ligon Smith

In this episode I’m chatting to Dr Wendy Ligon Smith, who completed her PhD at the University of Manchester earlier this year. She shares her fascinating research in to the work of Mariano Fortuny, which involved several research trips abroad. We talk about how Wendy prepared for her viva and what happened on the day, as well as her plans for the future.

If you want to get in touch please email me! I’m on Twitter a fair bit, so you can catch me there as @DrRyder or @VivaSurvivors. I love hearing from people who want to come on the podcast to share their PhD and viva experiences and if you can, please consider supporting the podcast by buying one of my ebooks on viva preparation – if you’re reading this in November 2015 then code FIFTY will get you 50% off all of my ebooks!

Thanks for reading!

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)

Shout-Out: The PhD Vlog Video

Today seems like a good day to do a shout-out for the video that I made with Emma Cole earlier this year. Emma produces the PhD Vlog YouTube channel and has made lots of great videos to highlight what the PhD is like. I think that it’s particularly valuable for candidates approaching the final year; it gives good ideas of the kinds of pressure and work that can affect postgraduate researchers.

We chatted over Twitter when Emma was doing a series on the final 30 days of her PhD, and thought that it might be fun to do a video on preparing for the viva for her channel. As I prepare this post it’s had almost a thousand views, which is amazing. If you’ve not seen the video check it out (below). It’s just under 9 minutes, and we talk through common viva topics, as well as ideas for preparing for the viva.

Oh, and why is today a good day to re-share the video? Because today, unless something technical goes wrong, I’ll be interviewing Emma – now Dr Emma Cole – about her viva for a forthcoming episode of the podcast! Stay tuned to Twitter or subscribe to the blog for alerts.

Thanks for reading!

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)

Episode 50: Thank You

Episode 50! In some ways it has come around really quickly, and in others it feels like it has been a long time coming. This is a very different sort-of episode: just me talking for a little while. The Viva Survivors Podcast has been around for nearly three and a half years, and it feels like a good time to say a lot of thank yous, as well as reflect on where the podcast has come from, the opportunities that have come my way and talk about my plans for the future.

As another thank you, I’m offering 50% off all of my ebooks available at Payhip. Simply use the code FIFTY when prompted to get any of the following for half price:

The code is valid until the end of November 2015: share it on to anyone who you think would be interested. This is just one little way I can say thank you for all of the shares, RTs, emails, messages and other things that so many people have done for me and for the podcast over the last few years.

If you want to get in touch please email me, or find me on Twitter as @DrRyder or @VivaSurvivors. I love hearing from people who want to come on the podcast to share their PhD and viva experiences.

Here’s to the next fifty episodes! Thanks for reading 🙂

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)

Episode 49: Academic Jobs Special 3

In this episode I chat to Dr David McGrogan about academic jobs: Dave is my best friend, and I previously spoke to him about his PhD and viva in Episode 16, and then he interviewed me for Episode 25. Dave is a Senior Lecturer at Northumbria University, and he was very generous in sharing his experiences in applying for jobs, thoughts on the academic job market at the moment and in the future, and advice for anyone looking to apply for lectureships. You can find him on Twitter as @DavidMcLaw.

Episode 50 is next! It will be a little different, as I’ll be taking a reflective look-back at the first forty-nine episodes, what’s happened, what I’ve learned, the opportunities that have come from doing this and more. I’ll also be looking ahead to the next year or so of the podcast, and while I’m not quite in a position to share something exciting just yet, I hope to be able to tell you something about it.

Expect to see Episode 50 of Viva Survivors on Monday 9th November 2015. Until then if you want to get in touch please email me, or you can catch me on Twitter as @DrRyder or @VivaSurvivors. I love hearing from people who want to come on the podcast to share their PhD and viva experiences. If you can, please consider supporting the podcast by buying one of my ebooks on viva preparation.

Thanks for reading!

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)

Episode 48: Dr Laura Bonnett

In this episode I talk to Dr Laura Bonnett, who is currently a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at the University of Liverpool. Laura completed her PhD part-time at Liverpool, and her research area was biostatistics. In the episode we discuss what it was like for Laura to do her PhD part-time and to have several papers published. We also talk about what happened on the day of her viva – when her examiners didn’t agree on their recommendations – and how she resolved the situation. You can find Laura on Twitter as @ljbcmshe.

I can’t believe we’re almost at fifty episodes! I’m planning to do something a little different for episode 50, and am also hoping to have a special announcement (or two) for then too. If you want to get in touch please email me! I’m on Twitter a fair bit, so you can catch me there as @DrRyder or @VivaSurvivors. I love hearing from people who want to come on the podcast to share their PhD and viva experiences. If you can, please consider supporting the podcast by buying one of my ebooks on viva preparation.

Thanks for reading!

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)

Episode 47: Dr David Alder

In this episode I’m talking with Dr David Alder, who completed his PhD at Liverpool John Moores University in 2014, and who is now a Senior Lecturer in Sport Coaching at Leeds Beckett. Dave’s fascinating research looked at the effects of anxiety on the performance and training of elite badminton players and how they make decisions. It was great to hear chat to Dave, hear about his research, and how he prepared for his viva while starting a job in Edinburgh.

Please leave your questions and comments about this episode on the post and if you want to get in touch please email me! I’m on Twitter a fair bit, so you can catch me there as @DrRyder or @VivaSurvivors. I love hearing from people who want to come on the podcast to share their PhD and viva experiences. If you can, please consider supporting the podcast by buying one of my ebooks on viva preparation.

Thanks for reading!

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)