PhD Update: I Passed My Viva

This is just a short blog post to update you on a major milestone in my career and, in my life.

Last week, I successfully defend my PhD thesis. 🎉🥳

It’s a great achievement, and it’s something thing I never thought I would ever do.

Having spend the past 4.5 years working on this (some of which as a part-time student) it certainly feels nice to close this chapter of my life.

It’s fair to say that it feels a little odd not having to work on a thesis anymore. In fact, I actually got a little emotional as I submitted my corrections.

It was at that moment I came to the realisation that my PhD journey was now over and that the piece of work that I have spend nearly 5 years working on, will never be touched again.

I started questions myself like, what’s next? Where does my career go from here? Will I stay in academia long-term?

Is this normal, 100% yes!

While this is a massive step in my life, it is definitely one I will be celebrating despite the uncertainly of the future.

If you’re a PhD student, and you’re currently waiting for your viva, here are a few tips I put together based upon my own experience:

  • Prepare some slides: Get those initial questions out the way. I can almost guarantee you that there are some questions that the examiners will always ask. Things like, What are your contributions to your field? And, what would you do for future work? This will be your opportunity to get those questions out of the way, so you can focus on the technical stuff of your work.
  • Take your time: There is no need to rush through your viva so take it easy. You’re examiners will give you all the time that you need to address their questions
  • It’s okay not to have a solid answer: If you feel you can’t answer one of the examiner’s questions then don’t panic. All they want to know is that you’ve done the work yourself. They are not trying to catch you out. After all, this is what the corrections are for.
  • Enjoy it and celebrate: Make sure you enjoy the viva as it will go by so quickly. It’s such a great feeling knowing that you are an expert in your work so, make the most of it! Also, use it as an opportunity to look for ideas for the future. If things go to plan, go out and celebrate. Doing a PhD is not an easy process so you deserve to celebrate what a massive achievement completing a PhD is. All your hard work will pay off!