A clatter of coins spills! I pulled the lever and now I’m rich, rich, rich!
Except I wasn’t. I was maybe ten and they weren’t coins, they were tokens. I grew up in a seaside town and there was a time when summer holidays meant stretching out pocket money in the arcade. I would jump from machine to machine, trying to find way to have just a little longer playing silly games.
The one-armed bandit could be fun for a time. Put your coin or token in, pull the arm down and watch the reels spin. Most of the time it was nothing. Sometimes it was a few pennies or a token back. Even rarer, an invitation to nudge a reel, see it drop but get nothing.
Sometimes, just sometimes…
…and enough tokens to keep spinning the reels for another ten minutes.
There was no skill, no talent, not even any real work. You had to take part, put something in, but your effort and money were the same as anyone’s.
Alas, some candidates think the viva is a one-armed bandit, a game of total chance. Turn up, pull the lever and who knows what will happen. What questions will spin up? What sequence of opinions will your examiners have? What random outcome will it settle on?
It’s not random. It’s not by chance. Your work is built on purpose. There can be luck, but that’s guided by direction, by talent, by effort.
Your thesis isn’t just thrown together: it’s a statement. Your answers don’t just appear: they’re built on work and talent. Your examiners aren’t just winging it: they’ve been selected for a reason.
You probably will hit the jackpot in the viva, ding-ding-ding, you’ve passed! But it’s not by chance. It couldn’t just happen to anyone.
You’ve not just been lucky. You’ve not got this far by accident.