Viva Reminders

You’re not expected to simply remember everything in your viva. Photographic recall is not a requirement, and there are lots of useful reminders you can use:

  • Use Post-it Notes to mark the start of chapters or important sections.
  • Write a list of important references.
  • Create a cheatsheet of questions you want to ask you examiners.
  • Read your thesis and write short summaries to break down your structure.
  • Make something to help you remember the important things you’ve achieved.
  • Make a jar of awesome to help you remember how good you are!

Of course, there’s a lot more you might need to remember, and a lot more ways you could help yourself remember.

So what do you need? And what will you do?

(A Final Reminder: need in this case could be because it will simply help you to feel better – that’s OK!)

Make Your Jar Of Awesome

A Bank Holiday PhD Craft Project.

You need a jar, some small pieces of paper and decorations: fun stickers, labels and so on.

Stick a label on the outside that proudly says, “I, Future Doctor insert last name here, am Awesome!”

On the pieces of paper write things that have been awesome during your PhD so far, one thing per slip. When have you succeeded? What have you done that has been cool? When did you get the right answer? When did you master a skill or process? When did you make a breakthrough? When did you do something well? When did you feel proud?

Put all the slips in the jar, and put the jar somewhere prominent in your workspace.

From now on, when you do something awesome, write it on a piece of paper, add it to the jar and shake it up.

If you find yourself having a tough day, feeling unsure, losing confidence – particularly close to submission or the viva – take a slip out to remind yourself how great you are.

Because you are great. You have to be, to be doing this.

You don’t get to submission and the viva without filling your jar full of awesome.

(big thanks to an idea I read in Tim Ferriss’ Tribe Of Mentors for this post!)