‘I so totally had the Karate Kid movies in my head when he said that!’October 10th, 2011 | Posted by in Viva Stories
By the way ADD: I lost count somewhere around the 12th time I completely re-arranged the analysis chapter. Bottom line: I had spent months over-obsessively trying to make sense out of the illogical linear representation of my research and thought-processes, and I was proud as a peacock to have managed a coherent linear form of presentation! BUT my internal examiner went on and on about how my writing is not linear and one has to undertake detective-work to follow and how I have to consider the reader—at which point I felt tears swelling up and I almost lost control of my facial muscles bursting out crying in self-pity during my viva. Luckily a good friend of mine had told me I need to keep control over my emotions I so totally had the Karate Kid movies in my head when he said that (the ones from the 90s; not the new one) and for some reason that helped. I did stare at my dissertation for a minute or so, blinking like a crazy person, fighting my face back into control and the tears back into my swollen throat. I managed to keep it professional! Having my inner drama queen bursting out during an exam would probably not have done any good; and besides I had not told anyone about the ADD and the examiner did not know that she was ramming the knife into the wound again and again.
On a more positive note the internal examiner was actually really nice and she kept smiling and nodding at me and the external examiner had an amazing way to ask questions. I felt that I time-traveled attending Socrates’ school: his way to ask a question left me not feeling questioned and probed but somehow each question induced a mini-eureka event. To make it short this way of questioning made me understand; it made me realize what the problem was, instead of leaving me confused and second guessing what the problem could, would, might have been—if this makes any sense to you.
So these are the key points of my viva experience. I am proud to announce that I neither rambled, nor fidgeted (well not much anyway) and presented my arguments coherently and concise. This led to the examiners deciding that they had nothing to hold against my arguments (yes they really said that) and agreed to award the degree or recommend the awarding you know—details. (Imagine some self-backslapping here and a little bow to my bearing audience.)
*Dr Nathalie Sheridan successfully completed her doctorate in Education in the UK in May 2011. Her PhD focused on Creative Learning Processes of Refugee Children and the Utilisation of Social Capital. She gives her top 5 viva preparation tips here.