VIVA panic

posted
15-Mar-11, 16:41
Avatar for pink_fluff
posted about 9 years ago
Hey everyone,

I've been coming onto this forum for quit a while now and i've posted a couple of things. But I just wanted some advice. I have my viva one week from now and i am rally nervous to the point where i hope i can hold it together on the day. I feel sick each time i think about it and feel like i will fail because my nerves will get the better of me.. :-(

Has anyone else ever been this nervous and got through their viva?
posted
15-Mar-11, 23:17
by Charls
Avatar for Charls
posted about 9 years ago
Yes, I have anxiety problems and I felt exactly the same - I think it's pretty normal to feel terrified with one week to go. I coped by taking a week off work so I could hide away, relax (well, try) and to really focus on revising. Write down a few questions, write down some answers and read them over and over if you've not done this already... then print them off and go on some long walks so you can revise/get some exercise/clear your head. I found this helped loads. Things that made me feel less anxious were just getting organised, trying to get some control of the situation. It helped me to know I could take my Thesis in with me, "just in case", also my written questions and answers for the same reason - even if I went blank I could say something. Also remember that you can always ask for a break mid-viva, if you're stressed. You will find the build-up is most likely worse than the actual thing itself. Good luck!
posted
16-Mar-11, 09:09
edited about 23 seconds later
Avatar for pink_fluff
posted about 9 years ago
Thanks Charles,

It just seems like nothings making it better. I've taken a week off work and i'm just revising and going though things. I suffer from really bad anxiety and i just hope my mind doesn't go blank on the day and i don't forget everything i've done for the past three years.

It makes me cry when i think about it, because i'm currently employed as a post-doc and if my nerves get the best of me and i can't answer on the day i'll just have to kill myself.

Thanks again for the advice.
posted
16-Mar-11, 10:39
edited a moment later
by dunni73
Avatar for dunni73
posted about 9 years ago
I have no experience of this just yet as I am due submission soon, however, my stomach goes into knots just thinking about the viva.  I have always found that preparing well helps ease some anxiety but there is always the 'unknown' factor of a viva. The examiners may be feeling nervous themselves, especially if they are not exposed to this regularly (ie externals).  Experienced examiners should have ways of trying to ease your initial anxieties by asking about generalities of your research etc and by breaking down the examiner-candidate barriers. You can always mention at the beginning that you are feeling very anxious which may break the ice.  But above all, if you need a break then ask for one.

Good luck and let us know how it goes!
posted
16-Mar-11, 13:54
Avatar for pink_fluff
posted about 9 years ago
Thanks for the reassurance. it is actually the uncertainty of the viva that makes me even more anxious. I wish i could just block it all out.

I will let you know how i get on, that is if i've not suffered a nervous breakdown by Tuesday.
posted
18-Mar-11, 13:10
Avatar for littlemissworry
posted about 9 years ago
Hi Pink Fluff. My viva is a week today and I was doing so well and now I am in a bit of a state. Really bad butterflies and I couldn't sleep at all last night. I had a practice with a friend yesterday and started crying before we even started! But then I answered the questions okay and that made me feel better. Do you have someone to practice with? I also work at the same place that I have done my PhD so I know what you mean about the pressure of doing okay. I'm sure you will be fine though and think that that is correct about the anticipation being worse than the actual viva. I think it's the first few minutes of it that I am dreading as I think I will be shaking etc!

Just remember that their decision is mostly down to the thesis and yes you would do worse if you literally couldn't answer anything but I'm sure that won't be the case so you will do fine. Please let us know how it goes! Good luck!
posted
19-Mar-11, 12:02
edited about 18 seconds later
by mahasas
Avatar for mahasas
posted about 9 years ago
I am really worried, no TERRIFIED, about my viva!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I just found bits in my thesis that I had gathered from a review and had the intension of writing in my own words, but forgot to do so, and have included them in my Thesis in the exact wording like the review!!!
Also, it seems that I have methodology similar to the thesis of a phd student who was supervised by my internal examiner.

Any advice?

:-(
posted
19-Mar-11, 12:51
by dunni73
Avatar for dunni73
posted about 9 years ago
Mahasas, don't panic!  There will be many others who have forgotten to rewrite previously 'reviewed' sections, it is an easy mistake in this cutting and pasting world! Just be aware of it and if you get the time I would make a re-write and review of this section applicable to your thesis and results.  This means that if it were approached in the viva, you can concede to the error but you have prepared an appropriate resolution. I think that this will need to be corrected for the final in any case (and your piece of mind).  As for your internal examiner' s student having similar methodology, can you compare and contrast your methodology with it and work out where your thesis is different, ie a slightly different method or use of the method? Were the results and outcomes different?  As long as you can find differences in what looks to be common ground, you will be fine. Be prepared to discuss this at the viva as the internal is likely to have picked this up.  These issues don't mean that you will fail, rather some corrections will be implemented. Good luck!
posted
19-Mar-11, 14:30
edited about 12 seconds later
Avatar for pink_fluff
posted about 9 years ago
Re Little miss worry: I know 'm absolutely terrified too. I'm convinced i'll fail! i wish i could just shake this negativity off. Viva is in 3 days for me and i hope i don't screw it up. :-( I feel like i'll forget everything and won't be able to answer questions due to nerves and they'll fail me because they'll think i've either not written the thesis or i've not done the work and they'll stop the viva and throw me out the room. I'm in biological sciences and so i don't know how the vivas work in terms of this. I keep crying still and can't sleep and can't think of anything but thesis, feel like i'm going mad. I have nobody to practice with apart from myself my supervisor is not being supportive at all and i really don't think he gives a damn if i'm honest with you. Which, makes it worse. :-(
It's a shame really because, we spend 3.5 years slogging our guts out, facing up to challenges and then the final decision is dependent upon one person that, sucks.

Also i found bits in my methods where i have the wrong concentration in methodology and wrong concentration on the figure, i've done this on two occasions. :-(

This has by far been the most traumatic experience of my life.
posted
19-Mar-11, 14:34
Avatar for pink_fluff
posted about 9 years ago
And i'm most sacred of getting tongue tied and confusing myself as, i seem to do that alot when i'm nervous. And the external will just think i really don't have a clue about what i'm saying. I'm even contemplating suicide if i don't get through it, i've applied to a few jobs which, would be dependent on my PhD and i'd have to give it all up. i hope i can keep calm and get through it. Its just so difficult to not be nervous.
posted
19-Mar-11, 14:59
Avatar for BilboBaggins
posted about 9 years ago
If you're contemplating suicide you need professional help. Honestly. Have you a long-standing issue with anxiety? If you do that will help you get more help. If not get help ASAP. Your GP is there to help, as are the university counsellors, and also the Samaritans. The latter are available at any hour, any day.

Please get proper help. Your viva is not that important. And I expect you will be ok. I have a devastating neurological disease which is severely disabling. I had very good cause to worry about being able to represent myself properly in the viva. But come the day, even with the nerves, you get through it.

Take a bottle of water with you to drink from. It will help if you get a dry mouth from nerves, and is good to glug from while you formulate your answers.

And you don't have to be able to answer every question.
posted
19-Mar-11, 15:23
edited about 19 seconds later
Avatar for Walminskipeasucker
posted about 9 years ago
Hi Pink_fluff, I completely agree with Bilbo on this. You're catastrophising greatly and unreasonably predicting the most severe outcome possible. I'm really, really not far away from my viva at all and, like you, have some mistakes in my thesis - and things that I know I will get critiqued for. There's nothing I can do about it, but I accept that my thesis (as with most) isn't perfect. You, like me, have trained to be a researcher and we'll be expected to demonstrate this in the viva - which will include talking about areas we think are weak with our work and where we think we could improve things on reflection. Unless, and this is a very big unless, you've done something inexcusably bad that leaves the whole of your research completely flawed and wrong, or if you make yourself so nervous that you can't at least talk about and defend your work, you stand every chance of passing. An external examiner doesn't necessarily have to agree with your work, but they have to accept that it's sound (when it is).
The viva is what? Usually up to two hours and then it's over - that's it and never again. They've usually already made up their mind anyway (through reading the thesis) and the viva (not my words, my sups) works partly as a quality assurance exercise. You really wouldn't be where you are now if you weren't ready because, and I hate to be a cynic, a PhD failure looks bad for a university. YOU are the expert on your research and provided that you can talk competently about it (and you've already written competently about it), you will be okay.
posted
19-Mar-11, 15:39
Avatar for pink_fluff
posted about 9 years ago
Thank you for the advice... I was just thinking of the worst case scenario whereby, if i failed i couldn't possibly carry on. Its my whole world. :-( as sad as it may sound. Only last month i found out my boyfriend of 3 years had been cheating on me from day one, then i had to prepare for the viva and i've read horror stories about vivas too. :-(
I have 3 publications two from 3 chapters in my thesis, so really i shouldn't have anything to worry about as my supervisor tells me. However, because i have these publications and if i don't perform on the day as well due to nerves will this screw the whole thing up for me. I'm just very nervous i guess, and as i've heard "worrying is the dark room where negatives develop" :-(
posted
19-Mar-11, 15:54
edited about 16 seconds later
Avatar for Walminskipeasucker
posted about 9 years ago
Quote From pink_fluff:

Thank you for the advice... I was just thinking of the worst case scenario whereby, if i failed i couldn't possibly carry on. Its my whole world. :-( as sad as it may sound. Only last month i found out my boyfriend of 3 years had been cheating on me from day one, then i had to prepare for the viva and i've read horror stories about vivas too. :-(
I have 3 publications two from 3 chapters in my thesis, so really i shouldn't have anything to worry about as my supervisor tells me. However, because i have these publications and if i don't perform on the day as well due to nerves will this screw the whole thing up for me. I'm just very nervous i guess, and as i've heard "worrying is the dark room where negatives develop" :-(


Two publications from three chapters in your thesis!? The work you have produced if therefore of publishable quality - yet further evidence that you'll do fine in the viva. I don't think there's anything sad about how much your work means to you - I can empathise with you there, as will many people on this forum. I never gamble in real life, but if odds where available in Ladbrokes on you passing it wouldn't be worth putting on a bet because it would be more or less a dead cert.
(up)
posted
19-Mar-11, 15:56
edited about 12 seconds later
Avatar for pink_fluff
posted about 9 years ago
Thank you. that is the only thing that has made me smile today. :-)

I suppose that's why i'm putting so much pressure on myself to be able to perform well on the day. :-)

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