7 Reasons Webinar, May 20th 2020

Hi!

This is an extra post for today to announce that I’m running my 7 Reasons You’ll Pass Your Viva webinar again on Wednesday 20th May. I’ve enjoyed the challenge and delight of sharing new short webinars with PhD candidates recently. I asked on Twitter which session I should re-run and 7 Reasons was the clear favourite.

Here‘s what I said the last time I delivered 7 Reasons You’ll Pass Your Viva – I can’t find better words to explain why I’m offering this session:

This is for PhD candidates who have their viva coming up and want to know why it’s going to be fine. Lots of people tell PhD candidates not to worry about the viva – relax, don’t stress, it’ll all be fine – sentiments which don’t always help because they often miss an important Why.

For some candidates, one thing – the right thing – can be enough to make the difference and help them feel certain about their viva. I have seven reasons to share…and my aim is to convince anyone coming that they will be fine for their viva. They may have work to do, things to check or prep to complete, but when the time comes, they can be ready. They will pass.

I was blown away by the response that the session got; it was great to see that something I’d done had really connected:

I hope you can join me next Wednesday. If you’re uncertain about what to do for your viva, how you should feel about it, or just need help then this 1-hour session is for you. There are full details at the Eventbrite registration link. 7 Reasons is free to attend, but if you can make a donation to help support the work that I do and the time that goes into providing it that would be really appreciated. If you can’t, please still come – I want this session to help anyone who needs it.

Thanks for your attention, I hope you can join 7 Reasons You’ll Pass Your Viva next week!

Wishing you the very best 🙂

Nathan

Viva Survivors: Your Questions Answered

I’ve had a lot of fun delivering Getting Creative and 7 Reasons You’ll Pass Your Viva in the last month, and been floored by the support people have given them and how valuable they’ve said they were. So I decided to keep going with new ideas and a new session!

Viva Survivors: Your Questions Answered is a 1-hour webinar on Wednesday 13th May 2020, and is for anyone who has questions about the viva.

Maybe you want to know… How long are vivas? What are they like? What if I feel nervous? How do they start? What if I forget something?

These questions are really common, and it’s OK to ask them at the session. It’s OK to ask uncommon questions. It’s OK to ask general questions, vague questions, hypothetical questions; questions that come from not knowing something, questions that come from worrying about something, questions that come from being uncertain and being concerned. All questions are welcome, but the session is probably most valuable to PhD candidates who have either submitted and have their viva soon, or who have a few months to go before submission.

Tickets cost £3, £5 or £7 – you choose the price based on what you think is fair – places are limited to 75 participants and at registration you’ll be asked to share any questions you need answers for, so that I can create a structure for the session.

If you have questions about the viva, then please explore this site for help. Ask your supervisor, ask your friends, ask your institution – there are lots of people around you who will be able to help you with your questions.

Please also take a look at Viva Survivors: Your Questions Answered too, running on May 13th, to see if it might be useful 🙂

Viva Survivors: 7 Reasons You’ll Pass Your Viva

I had a great time last week sharing Viva Survivors: Getting Creative with PhD candidates dotted all around the UK (and the world!). It was really fun to take my creative prep ideas and see them connect: it was just lovely, as was the opportunity to respond to questions in real time. Bar the odd Zoom-related technical hitch it all worked wonderfully.

I’ll be sharing Viva Survivors: Getting Creative again in the future, but next I’ll be sharing another new free 1-hour session, Viva Survivors: 7 Reasons You’ll Pass Your Viva on April 22nd 2020. This is for PhD candidates who have their viva coming up and want to know why it’s going to be fine. Lots of people tell PhD candidates not to worry about the viva – relax, don’t stress, it’ll all be fine – sentiments which don’t always help because they often miss an important Why.

For some candidates, one thing – the right thing – can be enough to make the difference and help them feel certain about their viva. I have seven reasons to share next Wednesday, and my aim is to convince anyone coming that they will be fine for their viva. They may have work to do, things to check or prep to complete, but when the time comes, they can be ready. They will pass.

Like last week’s session, I want to run this again, but don’t have firm plans for now. If you want to come to Viva Survivors: 7 Reasons You’ll Pass Your Viva then book now! Full details are at the link: the session is free, but you have to register to attend. It’s open to 60 participants like the last session – which was fully booked – and at the time of writing 40% of places have gone. Simply click through to sign-up; all of the joining instructions will follow on after that.

Thanks for reading this. If it sounds like it might help you, then please register for a spot on the session. Hope to see you there.

Nathan

Viva Survivors: Getting Creative

The last two weeks have been almost the definition of interesting times. Lots of changes in a short period. I feel some days like my head is swimming with the adjustment. I hope wherever you are, you’re keeping well.

I’ve seen some lovely, generous offerings from the global academic community on Twitter, and while I was frantically changing my work patterns and materials for online delivery, I was wondering what I could share to help…

I’m starting with Viva Survivors: Getting Creative – a free 1-hour session on creative and fun viva prep that I’ll be running over Zoom on Wednesday 8th April 2020. If you’re looking to kickstart your viva prep with a smile, or you don’t know how to start, or you feel blocked because of everything going on, this session is for you. In 1 hour we’ll cover the basics of viva prep, what it’s really for, and five creative responses. If you have questions about the viva or prep, this is a chance to get some answers too.

Full details are at the link and places are limited to sixty attendees. The session is free, but if you want to attend I’d encourage you to register soon. I hope to offer this or something like it again, but don’t have firm plans for future sessions at the moment. Ping me on Twitter or drop me an email if you have a question.

Stay well and safe, and take a look at Viva Survivors: Getting Creative!

Keep going.

Nathan

Evolving Viva Survivors

From next Tuesday, the site is changing.

The podcasts will be here, the other resources page will still be here, and the overall aim will stay the same: I want to help PhD candidates feel ready and confident for their viva. The Viva Survivors Podcast has helped do that for almost five years. From next week, the podcast will be an irregular part of the site.
 
From 18th April there will be a daily post of viva prep help. Every day at around 9am there will be something new on the site. The posts will cover a wide range of themes – practical help, inspiration, questions, ideas, tips, humour – all aimed at helping you be ready for the viva. I’ve been fortunate to produce the podcast for almost five years. I’ve delivered over 100 “Viva Survivor” workshops since 2010. I have a lot of concrete ideas for how to help people that I want to share.
 
I also have ideas which I’m working out. The new daily blog will, for me, be a way to test these ideas. My hope is that over time it will help me to help more and more PhDs prepare for the viva. The podcast isn’t going away! My goal at the moment is to have a new episode up around once a month or so. For some time though my heart has wanted to do more writing. I’ve looked for opportunities to experiment with new ideas. This change will help me do that and, I hope, help a lot of people too.
 
The site design will change over the next few weeks to reflect the new nature of things. I hope that I don’t break any links, but if you spot any then do let me know over email.
 
I’ll be tweeting new posts every day, but the best way to ensure you see them is to subscribe using the box on every page. That way you will get an email when a new post goes up. If you already subscribe but don’t want daily emails with viva-related thoughts then you can unsubscribe too.
 
My hope though is that you and others will join me on this next stage of Viva Survivors. If you’ve got any questions about it then email me or tweet at me. I hope that this site becomes even more valuable.
 
Thanks for reading.
 

Coming Soon: a new Q&A episode!

Hello!

I’m recording two new episodes of the podcast this week. I plan to record several more interviews in the next few weeks too. I like that the bulk of the podcast’s archive is about sharing stories and experiences, but I’m also happy that there’s been space now and then to do things which are a bit different – like the Academic Jobs Specials, the chances to reconnect with past guests, and the Ask An Examiner special. Last year I tried a Q&A episode, and while only a few questions came in, it ended up being one of the most downloaded and listened to episodes that I released last year.

Everyone loves a sequel

Since we’re at the start of a new year, it seemed like a good time to return to this and do another episode which is all about answering your questions about the viva. So:

  • Got questions about effective viva preparation? Ask!
  • Want to know about viva expectations in the UK? Ask!
  • Thought about doing a podcast but unsure of where to start? I’m happy to help!
  • Got ideas for future episodes you want to throw past me? Please do!
  • Curious about how a shy pure mathematician ended up interested in the viva? I’m happy to talk about it!

Whatever you want to know, please ask, either in the comments on this post, or by tweeting at me. Or you could email me, but in any case you’ve got until February 8th 2017 to get questions in to me. I plan to record the podcast soon after that, with an eye to publish on Monday 13th February.

Ask away

Really: this episode won’t work without your questions. Just let me know what you’d like me to cover. If you don’t have a specific question, but rather a general theme, that’s fine too – just let me know. Thanks for reading this post, please share it with others who might have questions!

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)

January Sale! (and Update)

Happy New Year!

Let’s start with something fun 🙂 If you want to save yourself some money on viva preparation books then go check out Books right now! The Viva Prep Handbook is £2.49 delivered to your door and you can get that and Fail Your Viva for only £8.99. They’re on this special offer until my birthday on January 18th; do check them out!

2016 on the podcast micro-review!

Last year was a good one on the podcast. There were fewer visitors to the site but there were also fewer new episodes because of work and time commitments at my end. Despite that, there was a greater number of downloads and listens than 2015! So fewer people visiting, but people exploring a lot more of the archive, listening to stories of PhD research and viva experience. The number one episode of 2016 was Episode 59, where I chatted to @DrHelenKara about life as an independent researcher. Plus we talked about our book that we published in May, Self-Publishing For Academics!

Coming up in 2017!

I’m planning the schedule now and I’ll record new episodes soon. The first new episode will debut in February, and I’m looking for people who want to share their story in the next few months. One of the first episodes will be a second Q&A episode. I’ll write a post in the next few weeks to start getting your questions about the viva, the podcast and anything you want to know that I might be able to help with. If there are any questions in your head now then email or tweet at me!

Back to the Sale!

That’s nearly all for this post, but please do go and check out my January Sale of viva preparation books: the ultra-concise Viva Prep Handbook is £2.49 delivered! 3000 words of viva preparation help condensed down from six years of workshops that I’ve delivered all around the UK.

Plus you can get that bundled with Fail Your Viva for £8.99. Fail Your Viva first came out four years ago as an ebook in the Kindle Store. It has some pretty good reviews on the Kindle Store, but since Day 1 of the release I’ve had people asking about a print edition. Very happy to have helped people with that in the last year, and you can get it now bundled with The Viva Prep Handbook, delivered, for £8.99. All of these offers are only for the next two weeks, so get them at these prices while you can.

If your viva is coming up, check out the archive for stories of people who have been there and got it done. If you need some more help then either email me or check out one of my books or ebooks. And if you want to share your research journey and viva experiences then drop me a line and come on the podcast.

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)

Hiatus

What happened?

It’s been some time since I’ve posted a new episode, and I’m sorry to say that there might not be another before the end of 2016. Episode 63 came out a few days before we went on a family holiday. When we came back we had the convergence of a busy work period and our daughter started nursery, which has added a new adjustment to the flow of our daily lives here at Casa Ryder.

It dawned on me recently that I had forgotten to follow up with a few people who had volunteered to come on the podcast – and then it dawned on me that I had forgotten to even promote the podcast through the Twitter feed. Recently, I’ve been working on a few new projects and a few old ideas, and the podcast has slipped through the cracks as a result.

So what now?

  • I need to spend time to shake up the design of the site and get the Other Resources page up to date;
  • I need to follow up with people who have volunteered to come on the podcast and share their experiences;
  • I need to book a window in my diary to start a new research project and I want to ask both for your help to promote it, and for question ideas;
  • And I need to do another Q&A episode, because I enjoyed the challenge of making the first one.

If I spend a bit of time now and think it through, make a proper plan, then I can get 2017 off to a good start!

In the mean time…

…if you’ve been in touch before about coming on the podcast, expect an email in the near future. If you’d like to come on and share your research and viva experiences, then please get in touch. If you’re looking for viva experiences from a wide range of PhD graduates then check out the Archive. And if you’re looking for a bit of extra support then check out my ebooks and print offerings – including the ultra-concentrated Viva Prep Handbook!

Thanks for reading, thanks for your support and thanks for listening to the podcast.

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)

The Viva Prep Handbook

Hi!

Last week I delivered my independent Viva Survivor workshop. I’ve been excited about the possibility for a long time, and to finally do something in this way was great. I’ll try to write something about it soon, but wanted instead today to share something that I made for the workshop: The Viva Prep Handbook.

The Viva Prep Handbook_AIt started life as wanting to do a nice two-page handout for participants. It grew into a small zine, a 12-page booklet dense with practical viva preparation. It’s concise, around 3000 words, and I really like how it turned out. Here’s how it begins:

It may be that you have a luxury of time available to you between submission and the viva. It is more likely that you may have no choice but to prepare in your spare time because of work or life circumstances. This is not a problem. Why? Because this is how many PhD graduates have prepared for the viva. You can do it too.

Through the rest of this concise book I will be presenting tools and processes that you can break down into small, manageable tasks and activities. Viva preparation is not a full time job: follow these tips, tools and processes to manage your time and energy well.

You can see more about it over on the Books page, along with the print edition of my first book Fail Your Viva. It costs £3.49 to have one delivered to your door (and there are options if you want to buy it in bulk too, or buy it with Fail Your Viva). Sales help to support the podcast’s overheads and my business. I like the short but useful format of the zine, and I think I will make a few more guides like this before the end of the year.

If The Viva Prep Handbook sounds useful to you, go ahead and order a copy from the Books page – or via the Paypal button at the bottom of this post – I’ll get it in the post to you as soon as possible! And if you want to know more, just drop me an email.

Thanks for reading.

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)


The Viva Prep Handbook



Viva Survivor Workshop Update 1!

A week ago I announced my viva preparation workshop, Viva Survivor, which is taking place on June 29th in Manchester. I’ve been delivering these workshops in universities for six years, but this is the first time that I’ll be offering it directly to PhD candidates – and I want to make it extra special for people who are coming. Over the next four weeks I’ll be blogging here and over on my work blog about the behind the scenes things as I prepare for this workshop; this is my first update over here, so let’s recap:

I’m writing a blog post soon for my main work blog about books, but here is a sneak peek: I’ve created a paperback print run for my first book Fail Your Viva!

PrintRun1

Participants at the workshop will receive a copy as part of their participant pack, and I made a print run of 100 copies to be able to offer the book directly. I’ve created a books page where you can order them from me, and have a stack of padded envelopes ready and waiting to send them on their way. I love reading books on my Kindle, but there’s something awesome about a print book. If print is more your thing, then maybe this is what you’ve been looking for! Check here for more details.

I have some more great things to share about the workshop over the coming weeks – and plus next week the podcast is four years old, so I’ll do something fun over the week to celebrate that 🙂

Thanks for reading – check out the Eventbrite page for more details, and if you know someone who might be interested then feel free to share this with them!

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)