It’s been more than a year on now since my last blog entry and glad to say that another chapter has been successfully closed in my life, with 7th January 2009 officially been engraved in my life as the first time I walked out from the university building as a “free bird”.
I've found myself being challenged with a particular question constantly:
”if you are being given the chance again, will you go back to be a prisoner of education?”
and I thought to myself:
Oh well, maybe I’ll go and have a think about this and decide in ten years time! For the time being.. let me get a breather and start to enjoy the fact that I've got my life back (!) ;)
Some points that I would like to share with everyone who is preparing and sitting for their viva:
1. Plan to arrive a day earlier if your viva is not held locally
Planning to arrive two hours earlier on the D-day is really really not enough! Especially if you are based in the UK and planning to take public transport (in particular train) in a typical British unpredictable weather!
Personal experience: Nothing will ever prepare me on what's been waiting to happen on the day. Despite the fact that I planned to arrive in the uni 2 hours before the viva, I was, in fact, being greeted 8am that morning at my local train station with the announcement board screaming “CANCELLED” on all five scheduled journey due to bloody power cut at Wembley! With the fact that I need to endure with delays and many train changes all the way to my final destination, it felt as if every mile of it was bringing me closer to hell!
2. Believe in yourself and relax!
Nothing worse than stressing out and flipping your notes on the day of the viva. Trust me – it’s not worth it! You have prepared the best you can (well, I hope you do) and jamming everything last minute will not improve anything.
Personal experience: I have been stupid enough to flip around my notes (five pages long notes that I have carefully prepared for the past one week during my revision time) and while I keep making sure that the bloody notes is not leaving my side till the last second before I step out from the train at my final destination, I still managed to conveniently left the notes on the last leg of the journey to the Uni!
The good side is that I then able to appreciate how a gladiator feels when they walked into the coliseum to fight grinning hungry lions weaponless!
3. Never give up!
No matter what: never give up! You have gone a long way and have gone through everything! there is only one day left for you to fight and win the battle!
Personal experience: knowing that I am now weapon-less, I’ve managed to drag myself into my supervisor’s office only to declare to him that unfortunately “I am NOT FIT for the viva and that I shall go home now and declare myself as FAIL”
Imagine how my supervisor reacted (bear in mind he actually flew on a six hours trip back to UK to attend my viva).. I really thought that I would actually die in his hand rather than died during the viva having to defend my thesis without any notes (!)
I've managed to make a fool of myself in the beginning by forgetting what the aim of my research is (three years to do the research and one second to forget what the aim is – nice!) and frantically flipping my thesis searching for it for five seconds with a quiet eerie background accompanying the noise of me flipping the thesis pages.
The end of the story: one and a half hour of grilling, still with no notes in my hand, but glad to be informed five minutes after that that I have PASSED the viva!
There has been other several things that I have learned while living as a hermit and buried within my own research:
1. that “silence is not always golden”
2. that “energy and persistence concur all things”
3. believe in yourself
4. Be DEAF when people tell you that you cannot fulfil your dreams!
All in all, this achievement will not be possible without the never-ending support, encouragement and believes from my family, partner, friends and colleagues.
Now, with that done and dusted … what am I to do with the free time?! *twiddling me thumbs*