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Viva Clothes?

I wore work trousers and shirt, without tie and without a jacket, just had my normal jumper I wear. I felt formal but comfortable.

So I passed my viva...

And how relieved am I! It was actually quite painless and free of too much stress - very relaxed, just like having a very interesting discussion. Two and a half hours it took but it really did feel like five minutes, I just didn't notice the time at all.

Have some corrections to do but nothing too major, shouldn't be too painful to do.

So if I can do it, anyone can :-)

Oh and a big big hello to everyone, new and old! Where have all the oldtimers gone? Make yourselves known :p

Viva next week and have nearly no fingernails left...

I'm finding it really strange the prospect of visiting uni again - I went a few months ago to hand it in but it was such a flying visit, before that I hadn't been in nearly a year. It's a bit of a weird prospect really, I kind of don't feel part of the place anymore. It'll be just like visiting a work client really.

Viva next week and have nearly no fingernails left...

I have to say I'm quite looking forward to it, but starting to get a bit nervous!

Any words of wisdom? Is Anne still around, she was always the wise sage of the forum 8-)

(And hello everyone! Glad to see some familiar names and lots of new ones too!)

The DanB guide to surviving your PhD

So now very nearly at the end (submitting in a couple of weeks once a few bits and pieces ironed out), I hope you won't mind me reflecting on my time as a PhD student. And I survived. Just.

It's quite normal to have many peaks and troughs. Don't panic. You will try to understand things that will make no sense. Maybe for days, maybe for weeks. But eventuall - wham - it'll start to make sense. And yeah you'll wonder why you didn't realise it was so obvious before but you got there.

You'll spend a lot of time hating your PhD. But it's only when you get to the end you'll look back and realise how character forming it is. You'll want to it untold damage at least a dozen times. But just work through it and you'll come out okay.

Don't worry if you go through phases of not doing a lot. You'll go through phases of doing an awful lot too. So relax! Enjoy it! Go see a bit of the world. Catch up with friends. Go shopping midweek when there is nobody about. It's nothing to worry about - well unless it lasts for several months ,-)

Make sure you have something else to do. Take up a hobby. Join a gym. Do an evening class. Do something to get you away from your PhD and see other people. And away from Uni too, something that will detach you.

If you have personal problems, for God sake, don't bottle them up. Don't sit around hoping everything will turn out okay. It's life, things happen, but there is no need to feel shame in asking for some help. Kidding yourself will only lead to self destruction.

Don't be afraid of your supervisor. Follow your own lead and steer your own course. If it means changing direction quite radically, try your hardest to make sure it happens. It might just be the best thing you ever do.

Go to lots of conferences. It's a great way to meet people and talk to people who actually understand what you do for a living. And just to get away for a bit! Most academics are relatively normal. Well unless you do pure maths *tongue firmly in cheek*. Plus you'll probably end up meeting the person who will be your external at your viva.

When you get the flow, go with it. If that means staying up until 5 in the morning because you get a flash of inspiration at midnight, so be it. OKay, probably not helpful if you're in a lab, but some of the best work I've done has been in the early hours - including what turned out to be a main idea for my thesis. Run with it so you don't forget it!

Oh and you'll put on weight. Whatever you try and do about it. So don't beat yourself up about buying nice biscuits for your afternoon coffee.

But most of all, just remember it does all end. Eventually. And you'll feel so happy with what you've acheived.