Big Deal

Anyone who tells you the viva is no big deal is wrong. It comes at the end of years of research. It’s huge life achievement. It matters for many, many reasons.

Anyone who tells you the viva is the biggest deal ever is wrong. There’s more you will do, more you can be and more that matters more.

Also: anyone who tells you how to feel about your viva is wrong!

You get to decide how you feel and what it means to you.

Happy-Sad

I wasn’t prepared for how I would feel about my PhD being done. Reflecting now that’s pretty true for all of the different stages of “done” there are. I was almost overwhelmed by how many different states I felt.

When I submitted my thesis I felt relieved, but it felt unreal that I’d finished writing.

When I was preparing I felt confident, but then suddenly insomniac the night before.

On the day I was happy to pass, but exhausted, and overwhelmed I think.

It was also an anticlimax. My viva was challenging, but fine too. It was just suddenly done… Anticlimax feels the right way to describe it.

Submitting my final, corrected thesis was a happy day, but at the same time sad.

Happy to be done, sad to be leaving.

As I often say on this blog, there are lots of realistic expectations for the viva. As a result you can do a lot to prepare but I’m not sure you can prepare for how you might feel after it’s done. It’s good that you’re done, but it might not feel great.

That sense of “I’ve done something significant” took time to hit me. I didn’t get it on the day, or the day after. It took weeks.

You might not know how you’ll feel. It doesn’t take away from the achievement.