My PhD viva experience

I haven’t been blogging for a while as I was busy writing my PhD thesis and preparing for the final viva. But now as my viva is over and I have successfully passed my PhD it seems fair to start writing again with a post about my viva experience. My viva went really well better than what I expected, after freaking out for the week I was sure that I am going to be really nervous but thanks to my examiners I felt really comfortable and calm. So here I summarize my experience in the form of a list.

  1. PhD viva usually doesn’t go as bad as people think.
  2. You are usually more prepared than you think.
  3. Not all the examiners are there to test your knowledge, some are also interested in a good chat about your work and gain some knowledge for themselves.
  4. If there are multiple examiners then one of them will bully you while the other would support you.
  5. Be thankful to your examiners because probably they are the only other people who would ever read your thesis apart from you, your supervisor and probably your mum and talk solely about your work for hours.
  6. It is fine not to know the answers to some of the questions, you can say I don’t know.
  7. If you can’t give a scientific reasoning behind why you did a particular project, then it’s fine to say that you did it just for fun :). Although, your examiner would be impressed if you say that there was more to learn science in the process than in the results.
  8. If your project was collaborative then blame your collaborators for every mistake, it takes off the pressure a bit.
  9. You may be expected to know about the work done by your colleagues even if it superficially touches your area.
  10. Dressing up in a formal attire does help to boost your confidence and it also brings seriousness and importance in the process.
  11. If you are given a chance to choose/recommend your examiner then choose the one you met in a conference and found him/her interesting to talk to just as a person.
  12. I always thought posting about your successful viva on Facebook is a bit of a show off. But trust me, you can’t help yourself, and it does bring a lot of likes and comments even from the most dormant friends.
  13. You may end up not having your best friends in your celebration party (for reasons like they lost their visa and trying to fix the crisis or they dressed up for the occasion, but stopped to check emails and realized they have lots of work to do). But still, in the end you will get enough people to celebrate with.
  14. Last but not the least do not forget to breathe.

Here are some of the photos from the day

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