It’s normal to be a bit nervous about the viva. If you’re persistently feeling stressed as you approach the viva, you need to do something. Here are several ideas to help:
- Take a break. Step back from prep and do something you know helps you to relax.
- Reflect on how long you’ve been doing your PhD. You’ve not got this far by being lucky.
- Reflect on how short the viva is compared to how long you’ve been doing your PhD.
- When you can, gently read your thesis and focus on all of the good stuff to begin with.
- Visualise yourself crossing the stage at graduation. It’s not far away.
- Talk about it with someone you trust, someone who will listen before they offer advice.
- Write down exactly what is stressing for you about the viva. What can you do?
- Make a list of five things that help you to feel confident. Which of them can you do regularly between now and the viva?
Some people see stress as an endpoint. I try, not always successfully, to use it as a motivator: “I feel stressed. What do I need to do about that?”
Do you feel stressed about the viva? If so, what are you going to do about it?