I just passed my PhD viva today, some minor corrections to finish in one month.
The Viva only lasted for an hour, and the examiners were satisfied enough to stop questioning me.
Like many people on this forum have said…I never imagined I can come this far. I thought I would stuck in this PhD black hole for ever and ever…and if you feel like this as well, you have to know that it will really end…someday…
I am actually new to the forum, because I didn't join this place until the last stage of my PhD. It was two weeks before my submission, I felt depressed and was really disappointed at the quality of my thesis. I did so many last-minute improvements that drove me crazy. Then I found this forum through Google, read lost of posts, and find some strength to keep going.
I have to admit that I am still not satisfied with the submitted thesis. I know there are SO MANY shortcomings of it and during my three-month viva preparation, I also constantly felt so low because of re-reading my imperfect thesis.
Here are some of the reasons that get me really worrying about not passing:
English is not my first language, so I spent so much time just to polish some very basic details.
My supervisor is not an expert in my area, so all he can help is the reasoning, logical thinking part of the thesis. Both examiners are absolute experts of my area, who may pick up some obvious things that my supervisor cannot notice.
Throughout my 4-year-plus-3-month PhD journey, I am also a freelance journalist writing for various magazines/newspapers from my home country, and have spent quite some time working on these articles as well. Although I registered as a full-time PhD student, the reality is I kind of like a part-time student.
So what I want to say is....if I can pass it, I am sure everyone here has no problem of reaching this goal.... I really hated my own thesis, questioning myself all the time, feeling like an imposter (and I still do, I was wondering that the examiners were too nice to me....)
But before the viva, I just told myself I gotta give myself some confidence, after all, at this stage, it doesn't hurt to act as confidently as possible.
For anyone who thinks they cannot finish, please give it a try!!! :))
Thanks for every one who had kindly provided me suggestions and encouragements.
Its such a blessing to find this place, to feel not alone.
I am currently in this state of mind you are talking about where I feel that I will be writing FOR EVER, this thing seems like it will never finish! I also feel that whatever I write is just plain stupid....
It is good to see that there is light at the end of the tunnel :)
Thank you all !!!
Today I received an email from the external examiner, inviting me to present a paper in a workshop she is starting to organize. I am quite happy because the external examiner is a scholar that I really admire !
About my viva experience, it was unbelievably straightforward to be honest.
It lasted only for one hour, and our head of department sit in throughout the process, "to make sure the examiners treat me nicely". Internal examiner started by asking the reason of doing this research, and then both examiners ask me to clarify some arguments. They did not mention any minor things like typos, or even specific details in my thesis.THEY DO NOT CARE THESE THINGS AT ALL even though they did give me a list of things that they spotted. All they ask was the big picture, the main argument. After they felt that they were persuaded by my explanations, the viva ended.
At the end of the viva they also mentioned some problems in my thesis as, and I did not strongly defend myself and admit that I did struggle at some details and I am aware that a PhD thesis cannot be perfect. And it seems they are fine with my honesty!
Congrats Dr Vivicov! It's so nice of you to share your story with the rest of us. I am going through a lot of self-doubt and stress piecing together my work over the past 4 years into the last 50 days, as I am counting down to the submission deadline - it's very tough indeed but hearing your story made me feel like there is still hope and things will work out in the end. So thanks again and congratulations on successfully passing the viva!
I did experience loads of self-doubt, the situation got so serious that I could only discuss my thesis with my supervisor, who was the only one read it completely. When every other single person (friends, families..) mentioned it, I would just want to hide and change the subject. That was how bad I felt about my thesis.
I did most of my work in the last 3 months to be honest...I guess it is kind of normal....
Its gonna be over soon! Good Luck :)
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