======= Date Modified 19 Nov 2011 08:01:58 =======
I had my viva 2 days ago...
I had worked really hard on my thesis and I had produced what my supervisor called 'an enormous work'. I was just about in the word limit, I had covered all possible discussions / issues in my work, and I had appendices who were extremely detailed (300 pages), to present my material and support my evidence.
but sh*t happened.
The external was not happy with the thesis and this was obvious from the first 10 minutes of the viva...
The internal was milder...
I think I did well in the viva, but not overly well. I should say 'average', but certainly not bad.
I am now extremely depressed and fragile. Waiting for the examiners' report with their comments. I am of course happy things were not worse but after all that effort I had put on my thesis, I have stopped believing in myself. To make things worse, my supervisor has not come back to me after the viva (i.e. I did not see him - I did not discuss the result with him).
Instead of panicking I am simply waiting for the reports of the examiners and then I will do exactly what they want me to do. I hope that if I do what they want me to do I will get the PhD....Are there any success stories out there?
I am not working and I have plenty of time to work on the thesis. The examiners thought that I could potentially resubmit in less than 12 months because there is not much that needs changing. They want me to delete 15.000 words and replace them with new material (word limit 80.000).
However, they insisted on resubmission rather than major corrections only. It is possible I will have a second viva, maybe with the same examiners. Examiners said that the thesis is above an Mphil level but it has not reached their expectations for a PhD yet...
I do not know how the revise and resubmit system works.... They told me that I will receive more supervision from my supervisor... but will the examiners (at least the internal) be following the progress of my revision as well?
======= Date Modified 19 Nov 2011 10:34:40 =======
Hey, wow, your situation sounds very similar to mine.
In my viva, I was told almost immediately that although I had done an enormous amount of work for a PhD, they can only award me with a resubmission mainly because of the sheer length (approx 150,000 words, nearly 500 pages ) . I was however, delighted with the resubmission verdict as I was told to prepare myself for the possibility of an MPhil leading up to the viva . My examiners were both confused and shocked that I would think it would fail outright or leave with an MPhil as they were very complimentary about it and want me to publish my work in at least 5-6 journal papers/book chapters- which shows how wrong I was. I asked the examiners whether I would have to go through a second viva and they said no. They mentioned something about a meeting after I've resubmitted, but not another viva (hope they haven't changed their minds!).
I have until the summer to make the corrections, but I'm pushing forward to resubmit by around Easter time.
I was told at the viva that I need to keep in frequent contact with my supervisors in order to bring my thesis up to standard and I'm allowed to contact my examiners at any time if I have any questions.
I have an absolute word limit of 99,999 words which I'm struggling to meet at the moment!
POST VIVA and reflections
After a few months of reflection, soul searching and rest, I received an official letter from the university stating that they will not be awarding me with a PhD at this time (which put me in serious panic mode!!) but are giving me the opportunity to resubmit one year from the date of this letter. I received a resubmision form and an invoice for 200 pounds which needs to be completed and paid before entering the examination process again. I will also need to submit a report to show my examiners what changes I've made (and my goodness there's LOADS of changes since my submitted draft!).
I'm meeting with my supervisors shortly who want to see my progress (eeeeek!).
Anyway, I know a resubmision is defined by some as a 'fail', but I'm viewing it as a pass (or deferred pass or second chance) in that they could have easily awarded me with an MPhil or failed me outright. My supervisors were delighted with the resubmission verdict though as they overtly fearing an MPhil or fail outright. My examiners however, said its definitely worthy of a PhD, but I need to cut it all down either by taking out sections for publication in journals etc, writing more concisely and moving some stuff to an appendix.
As you can see from my posts, I'm finding the post-viva stressful and tedious, but considerably less stressful than the lead up to the viva. Assuming I resubmit a strong thesis in accordance with my examiners request, I now know that they will award me with a PhD eventually, which I did not know before the viva. So at the moment, it's just a question of chipping away at my thesis, generally just trying to improve my submitted draft and following my examiners feedback points exactly. I have the occasion wobble, but I'm trying my best to remain positive and focused on the task at hand.
It is however really very difficult to see friends of mine who started the same time as me receive minor corrections and people starting a year after me passing their vivas and probably graduating before me. So maybe this is something you will face during your resubmission journey. But, I'm trying to focus on my PhD rather than comparing myself with other PhD candidates.
Feel free to vent away if needs be. I completely understand/ relate to your situation. Definitely take a break for a few weeks/months if you can. Ideally a holiday or something. I wasn't able to afford a holiday, but I should have found the money somehow to take a real and definite break from everything.
======= Date Modified 19 Nov 2011 10:53:20 =======
Also, several people on this forum received a resubmission verdict and received (or will receive) their PhDs and went onto postdoc positions, which is a great source of inspiration for me (but I'm not staying in research!). So, I know that it is possible to receive a PhD after a resubmission. I felt like the only one who received a resubmission, but there are others out there in the same boat.
Furthermore, some people do fail their vivas and leave with MPhils or are failed outright (with no degree), so at least you have another opportunity to leave with a PhD eventually. Sounds like you've got some good feedback to fall back on as well which should give you some motivation to keep going, namely they said there isn't much to change, whereas with mine, I have loads of changes.
Best of luck and feel free to send any PMs if you want to talk about this in greater detail.
Thank you Pineapple29 for your reply. It makes me feel better as I now know that I am not the only one.
I can assure you all that I am still experiencing a nervous breakdown. I am deeply disappointed. This is because I did my absolute best and I did waaaaaaaaaay too much work on this - even making myself ill and putting on 30 kilos in weight while being diabetic, out of stress. I also passed my own limits, I wrote the PhD in a language other than my maternal, etc. and I neglected my family plans for 4 years to focus on the PhD (I am 32 years old, wanting to have a family with my husband and we now have to wait for another year or two before we start trying for a baby-and my biological clock is ticking due to health issues).
Today I spent all morning trying to figure out what went wrong and if I made something wrong.
I had my viva checked numerous times by my supervisor, and I had done all the necessary changes he had suggested. Therefore I cannot blame myself for not taking action for my mistakes, since I would always do exactly as I was advised before submitting. I cannot blame my supervisor either because he really put a lot of effort on my thesis.
I had also help with proofreading. There were no mistakes in my thesis, from the context and grammatical point of view.
Plus, my evidence was - in my opinion - well documented; and I believe that if my thesis was not good enough, the supervisor would not have given me the go ahead to submit.
All these things are repeated in my thoughts, over and over again... What really went wrong? I may never find out.
As I said I am waiting for the reports of the examiners and I will do exactly what the examiners want me to do in order to get that PhD.
I feel a bit sad that all these people are graduating / will graduate before me; that's true... but what can I do other than ignoring them and look at my own work and how to survive it?
Patience is indeed a virtue... and good things come to those who wait.
Please keep up posting; we need some encouragement here.
It is now 5 days post-viva. Still feeling depressed and I keep having nightmares about the PhD, the viva, etc to the point that I am considering to visit a specialist (I need psychological advice) if things don't get any better.
A few days ago, post-viva, I emailed my supervisor to mention to him that we both did our best and that we spent a significant amount of time (four years) working on the thesis, and I also thanked him for his support. I also wrote to him that when we have the examiners reports we should read them carefully, arrange a meeting and discuss how we can tackle the problems. He has not got back to me yet, and I feel all alone and abandoned. I feel that I have no support whatsoever. All I need is some encouragement - and I do not have it.
I am now waiting for the reports of the external examiners to see how I can handle this.
======= Date Modified 22 Nov 2011 14:16:43 =======
I've just read your story and you have my sympathies for the situation you're now in. It would be one thing if you felt you weren't ready to submit, but obviously you worked very hard and are now in limbo. Hopefully your supervisor will get back to you soon and that the reports will arrive. Maybe things will all start to make sense when you can finally dissect their comments and look at your work from a fresh perspective.
I know it's very hard, but try to keep the faith. You have completed a very large research project and it WILL earn you that PhD in the due course.
I know it feels bad now, but in all likelihood you will manage the corrections well and they will get you your PhD. Corrections are a pain, but you should get a very clear list of what is required and as long as you do them, you will pass.
I had my viva in january and got a revise and resubmit, and was given 2 years (would have been 12 months if I was a part time student). I work full time in a very stressful job, but I managed to pull out all the stops and resubmitted my thesis to the examiners at the start of August. I passed, and I graduate in 2 weeks' time. So you see it is possible, and it is by far the most common outcome to receive corrections.
Although you are given 12 months if you work hard you may be able to complete them much sooner like I did and get them off your back.
======= Date Modified 22 Nov 2011 17:41:57 =======
Guys and girls, I would like to thank you for your support and understanding. It means a lot to me. Kikuka, your story makes me have courage, congratulations! During the viva I was told about my 'revise and resubmit' in 12 months, but straight after announcing the result they asked me if I work. When I said to them that I only work part time and that I am scheduled to work until February only and then not work but dedicate my time entirely on the thesis, the external said that there is not that much to be corrected and most likely I will get the corrections done before 12 months... I sooooo cross my fingers for that. Lughna, thank you for your kind words. I can do this!
I have now booked my appointment with the counselling services of the university, mainly because a) I need to talk to a specialist about my post-viva stress and depression levels and b) I have serious problems with my sleep after the viva... I think I experience post traumatic stress...
I have had so much stress during the viva that when they asked me to leave the room so they discuss about the result I went to the loo and I got sick (...). Same when I bounded my thesis a few months ago... (sprout)
Hi Marasp - sorry, I know this is a little late, but I just read your post and wanted to say I know exactly how you feel! Your viva sounds almost identical to mine, right up to the circumstances preceding it. I had a very poor choice of external examiner and have been told several times since that the thesis ought to have passed and probably would have with a different external. In any case, it was a horrible, horrible surprise to be given R&R and I spent the days (and weeks) afterwards in a terrible state, alternating between trying to be positive and feeling like a complete failure. What's worse is that no-one I know has had a similar result, and now all my friends - including those who started a year after me - have passed their vivas first go. While I'm delighted for them (of course), it's a little bit heartbreaking every time.
I hope you're feeling better about the whole thing by now but please feel free to send a PM if you want to rant with someone who knows exactly how necessary ranting is during R&R! Not a day goes by when I don't have a minor (or major) panic about the process but it's nearly over now and I'm hoping to resubmit in January. Kikuka - congratulations and I'm so glad to read that it CAN be done! Just what I needed to hear today! :-)
I know. They have no excuse. But unfortunately this is not the first time it is happening. When I submitted (first time), I also had to experience a 5 month wait... Unfortunately for me - I chose to have an examiner who is a VIP academic... and travels abroad constantly... But for now I won't complain. This is because I will also go abroad for research soon and I will be back in late September.
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