Thoughts before the viva (1) Pressure to succeed (from where?) This is most important day of my career. (True?) How can I discuss 3/4 years work in enough detail in a few hours? I’ve found errors in my thesis! I hate confrontations
Thoughts before the viva (2) I’ve been living and breathing my thesis for years, I don’t need to practice talking about it (Thinking and talking as two separate entities) Will I look stupid if I ask questions e.g. Could you clarify what you mean? I haven’t published all/some of my work yet, will this matter? Do I know enough about my topic to really be examined on it?
Thoughts before the viva (3) I need to be assertive, but not aggressive Am I going to be as good as my friends/ colleagues? What if I let people/Department down with my performance?
Things you shouldn't say at your dissertation defense…
Thoughts during the viva (1) This isn’t as terrifying as I expected! This is more like a chat/discussion about my favourite topic. There must be a clear cut answer to these questions, right? Is it ok to make notes? Some interesting ideas have come up!
Thoughts during the viva (2) I would feel happy to approach these people at a conference now! They’re querying basic assumptions! I can’t answer some of these questions, does that mean I’ll fail? The questioning was shorter/took longer than I’d expected, what does it mean? This feels like it’s been going on for hours!
Thoughts after the viva (1) The examiners weren’t against me! Wish I hadn’t wasted so much time worrying beforehand. They were really interested in my work, I could have discussed interesting findings with them. I’ve made some useful contacts here.
Thoughts after the viva (2) The examiners have given me a lot to think about. I’m even more motivated by my research now. I can finally relax! This is a bit of an anticlimax…! What’s next? Gosh, what now?!