No detail of my confirmation viva, nor the destruction I’ve caused to my nerves, would come close to describing the relief I feel today. I am pleased to confirm that I’m through! After a meeting of over an hour followed by an agonising twenty-minute deliberation – whilst my supervisors and I waited outside, I was given some recommendations and informed that I am now a confirmed PhD student. This sounds like zero progress, but this is huge considering I faced being kicked off the programme in October. The letter of my unsatisfactory performance was as recent as January 14th.
What does this mean now? It means with doing the recommendations of the panel (which add about three months work) I can move ahead with the research. I have received a nod from the university for the topic and how I intend to study it. I have successful defended its potential theoretical contribution and (less importantly) its practical. I can move ahead with the empirical work soon. The recommendations are sound and although they will add three months work now, they will save a some time during the analysis stage- so I’m hoping to remain on target for a completion in 2016. Anything beyond that would be financially, psychologically and probably physically no longer feasible.
Today I will just remind myself that I’ve passed, upgraded, transferred, confirmed or whatever the hell anyone wants to call it.
The date has been set (25th Feb aka tomorrow) and since I handed in my confirmation report and chapters I haven’t even read my own work since. Although I did nothing to prepare like I had imagined, I did agree to meet my supervisor before the viva. I landed in London yesterday and met him in the evening. His advice was to be prepared to answer confidently on the theoretical work within the submitted chapters, and to read up on sampling for the methodology. I’m spending the day alone promising myself I will at least re-read what I have sent. After all they would be reading it now and I risk them knowing it better than I do!
I’m on my third coffee and more than half-way. I will have dinner with my family and read the rest tomorrow. My confirmation viva is not until 2pm.
I worked non-stop to produce my confirmation report by the deadline and indeed the three chapters attached to it (plus the first draft of my methodology chapter). It’s funny how we wait for validation and this very wait can make us stop doing any work. The day after I sent my document to the printers, I got on with jobs around the house that I had neglected. In fact the day I arrived home I was setting up new internet routers, calling the painter in to fix some patches, and had brought in an electrician to fit wall lights that until that day were an idea for the future. Within a week of being home, I felt good about being back and catching up with chores first, and then with family and friends.