Reflecting on my Viva.

So…. I did it. I passed my Viva and was called Dr. for the first time. It feels surreal and amazing.

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I wanted to share my Viva experience, as I know that not everyone’s Viva is the same.
I was absolutely terrified the night before and morning of, although I felt like I had prepared a lot, I was sh&5ing it! My Viva was early in the morning (8.30am) so I arrived at university early at 7.30 and tried to calm my nerves by talking with two of my PhD pals. At 8.15am my supervisor and I walked over to the building where the discussion was taking place and were then put into a side ‘Viva break out room’. Due to technology issues the chair did not come and collect us until 8.45.
Both my examiners were on skype, so it was the chair, my supervisor (who had to sit behind me), and myself in the room. Vivas are a new thing at my University so there is still some confusion around them. I started by giving a brief overview of my thesis and then the chair said I had 5 minutes to provide my initial responses to the examiner comments. I wasn’t expecting this, but thought on my feet and said that I have made the changes and discussed a few of the key changes I have made.
Then it went into Q&A. I was expecting the examiners to go through all the changes they had provided, but instead they just asked lots of questions. Many of them were my interpretation of findings (e.g. why do I think attitudes towards whale sharks and white sharks were similar) and also a lot of justification questions (e.g. why did I look at XX, why didn’t I look at XX). The Q&A went for about 30 minutes and honestly it was easier and more enjoyable than I thought. It was an opportunity to discuss my thesis which I know back to front and gain really valuable feedback.
My supervisor and I then went back into the breakout room for about 10 minutes before returning to the examiners. I was then told that my thesis has be passed with minor revisions and was called Dr. for the first time! I had to hold back happy tears when I heard that.

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