Post-viva slump—advice needed!


Hi all,

I had my viva mid-January this year and thankfully I passed, but I have major corrections before my thesis is deemed PhD-worthy. I took a couple of weeks off and started work on my corrections following a meeting with my supervisor at the beginning of February. During the meeting, he said he didn’t see any major issues and I could get it all done by Easter. Obviously this has passed and my corrections are nowhere near done. After the first month, my productivity took a nose dive off a cliff and I’ve been struggling ever since. I’ve not been entirely sloth-like and the easier corrections are nearly done, but one chapter requires more work and another an entire re-write.

There are several things that I think are going on here:

1. I’ve worked for four years on this project and towards my viva. Part of me naïvely thought I’d be good after my viva, finish a few corrections, and be done. Alas, no. In my mind, I'd already finished and now, having this not insignificant amount of work to do, has thrown the proverbial spanner in the works

2. I’ve had mild imposter syndrome all the way through. At some point I assumed I’d be caught out and sent on my way. Somehow I’ve made it to the end and there’s no more being caught out. This stems from undertaking a more technical PhD adjacent to my undergraduate and postgraduate study; something I have basic knowledge on, but am sorely lacking in technical discussions

3. Fear of the unknown. Once I’m done, that’s it. No more formal education in the foreseeable future, something that’s been part of my life for as long as I can remember and having nothing planned is a little scary. Maybe I'm dragging out my corrections for this reason

I have until mid-January to submit these corrections. I know I need to get them done, and I want to get them done as soon as possible, but I just find myself completely unmotivated to complete the task at hand, and it honestly sucks. I just procrastinate all the time and barely get any work done. It’s not helped by still having to be careful because of COVID, so I don’t really socialise or do much. I was also offered a decent job in the big city. Unfortunately, I had to turn it down as it was a more junior position so the pay wasn’t sufficient and the prospect of moving across the country in a pandemic didn’t fill me with joy.

Apologies that this has been rambling but I’m trying to give as much info as possible and I just want some advice about what to do.

Thanks I’m advance.



I completely understand and empathise with your situation. Maybe we can help each other out. I am in a similar position and posted on this forum at the end of April. I sat my viva at the end of April and got RnR, unexpected and very very disappointing. I poured my heart and soul into this for the last 4.5 years, on top of a full time job in the last 18 months, and felt the outcome was not justified to the level of time, energy and work I put in. I passed the viva so no need for a second one but the disappointment, anger, shame, etc is hard to get past. I feel embarrassed when people congratulate me. I felt the same about the viva, its a formality - out and through, my supervisors were not honest about some issues surrounding my thesis so I was like its ready, let's go, move on with my life. It was the biggest let down and crash despite a successful viva and has taken me 6 weeks to get past it. I hear you and see are not alone in these feelings! Take a break, refresh and do some small bits and pieces and it will come back to you. Chipping away, piecemeal will help and you will be done quicker than you think.