That’s how it goes, you spend three months worrying about something, and then about five minutes enjoying the completion of that thing. That is how it is for me at least.
The above sentiment is the reason why I no longer get too excited or depressed about anything. Let me explain.
I have spoken about this idea before; It originated during my undergraduate life. I worked very hard at my studies, with the notion in my head that ‘I will be happy when I graduate’. You could replace this with anything. The idea that you will be happy when x is complete/over, in my experience, is always a red-herring. Happy ever after does not exist. Your experience may vary.
This is one of those perennial ideas that has certainly kept me on my toes, I still haven’t quite figured out what I am going to do about this. Although, I believe that I have started to settle on a nice average, where I don’t get too depressed when things do not go my way, neither am I ecstatic when I am winning.
So, what was the viva like?
Well, I had handed in a poorly written report, as is my signature, but the science was all watertight. And where it wasn’t so solid, I had answers as to why. My two examiners where both well-established scientists, and friendly people, which helps. They both made notes on my document and gave advice on how I should improve.
I sat in one of their offices on the other side of the table, very much like a job interview, and did my best to answer the questions they had. To be honest, I was expecting it to be much harder, and I had done my preparation on the scientific principles behind my work and didn’t put any effort into trying to explain the deficiencies in my writing.
This exam was comparable to a job interview where the outcome was based on me convincing my two examiners if I made the grade or not. The reality of this is that it may come down to the examiners you have as to whether or not you progress. This is not perfect, but it is one of the least bad systems we have, just like job interviews.
I was in the ‘exam’ for an hour and a half, where I was then asked to leave the room and wait outside until they called me in. They called me in two minutes later and said I had passed. That was it.
I realise I have been talking about this event for the last three months, so this must be an anticlimax. But this isn’t Hollywood.
So, now I have let you in on a secret. For the last year I have been lying to you, I was never a PhD student, I was a PhD candidate. I am now a fully fledged PhD student, and the only thing stopping me getting my PhD is my work ethic and my tolerance for anxiety. Both of these will be pushed, hopefully to and not exceeding, the limit.
On to the next one!