I wasn’t a fan of The Wizard of Oz when I was a child.
At the time it had too many songs for my taste and not enough lightsabers or spaceships, but as I’ve got older I’ve come to appreciate it a lot more. Now I can see the work that must have been done at the time to make the film come together – the vision, the talent, and all at a time when movies were still working out how anything worked at all.
When Dorothy and her friends initially visit the Wizard they are in awe. He is a great floating head, the ground shakes when he speaks, fire roars up whenever he is angry. He is terrifying until it is revealed, by accident, that he is just a man. A clever individual, stood behind a curtain, controlling various machines to produce the effect of someone grand and powerful.
It’s worth remembering that for your viva, there are two Wizards present – at least, they may seem that way in your imaginings.
Either one of your examiners might seem mighty or intimidating. You could read their publications and wonder at how someone could do what they have done. Or you could feel small next to their experience and careers.
Pull back the curtain.
Your examiners are just people. Clever, talented people, but still human. Whatever their achievements they’re humans who know that something like the viva might be uncomfortable for some. They’ll be fair. They’ll treat you and your work with respect.
Of course, there’s a third Wizard in your viva – but you don’t need a curtain to hide behind. You don’t need tricks to magnify yourself.
Your talent is enough. Your knowledge is enough. You have done enough.