Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Viva Anniversary

So Facebook has kindly reminded me that my doctoral viva took place on this day, three years ago. My viva experience and subsequent corrections were the impetus for this blog so what I would like to do is pull together a list of some of the posts I wrote inspired by my viva. Long time readers will know that I started writing this blog from a point of frustration but I slowly have mellowed and come to appreciate me corrections. So, here we go:

The Doctorate In-Hand: My first post where I discuss how long it takes for a doctorate to be formally confirmed, especially with corrections, and how non-academic employers may not understand that.

The Viva Outcome: Where I try to grapple with the implications of the different types of outcomes from a viva, from minor to major corrections to refer and resubmit.

Major Corrections: This was my most popular post. I think it resonated with readers because I was open about receiving major corrections (when there is still a taboo over it), and I had reached a point where I was beginning to see the light. I could see that the corrections were making it a better and more publishable thesis in the long run.

Preparing for the Viva: This one is pretty self-explanatory. Here I provide some advice based on my personal experience but obviously everyone's experience will be different!

Limbo: There was a point after I submitted my corrections that I experience some frustrating, out-of-my control, delays so I created a minion PhD journey - seriously, no judgement please.

The Waiting Game: As above, my frustration and stress levels were high and I was becoming a bit ranty about the delays I experienced. However, I did try to make the point that universities have clear guidance to examiners about responding to students before the viva, yet there are no such guidelines or rules for after the viva.

Academic Destiny: At this point, I think I was losing the will or the plot! I found it incredibly frustrating waiting to hear about my corrections and was despairing over how just 1-2 people can hold such sway and power over your future.

Big News: As you can guess, this was the short post to confirm that the whole process after the viva was done and I was finally awarded the doctorate.

As I think back, I realise how far I have come. After that viva I felt an impostor: small, stupid, and incapable. As I grappled and overcame that setback, I became more confident and more trusting in my academic abilities. That amended thesis has produced my first monograph, an article, book chapter, conference proceedings chapter, and my forthcoming new collaborative monograph. I would like to thank my examiners because, even if I disagreed with some points, by and large you helped to steer it into something that has continued to give me so much academically.


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