This Monday I had the honour and privilege to discuss my thesis with two established academics who had read my thesis. My thesis, my ideas, and two people I value have read it. Of course it was their work to do so, and part of the defense process, but still, this very substantial book that I have written is not something you put on your nightstand to read. That’s also why I want to publish smaller, readable articles, so that parts of my research outcomes (and recommendations) will make it ‘out there’, to be discussed and perhaps even taken on-board.
The viva experience, in hindsight, was great. Of course I was very nervous on the day itself, and on the days leading up to the viva, but overall the experience was very positive. The questions were clear, reasonable, and the atmosphere was very friendly and constructive. Having read and heard many horror stories about potential ever-lasting vivas of over 4 hours in length (thank you, supervisor Dan for that not so calming story…), mine was done and dusted in a very civil 1.5 hours. It was clear what was expected of me, the questions were non-ambiguous and clear, the tone calm and my supervisor was there as an observer and the reassurance policy that I did not end up needing in the end.
My husband had joined me for the day, and he had travelled with me to Loughborough to wait with me until I could ‘go in’, and was there waiting for me (getting more nervous by the minute, according to himself) when I finally came out: those 2.5 hours in total that we had spent apart didn’t go by that fast, apparently.
The verdict was a good pass with very minor corrections, and all correction requests/suggestions made perfect sense. I will start working on them in the near future, as I am ready to start my next challenge, where I’m hoping to use what I’ve learned to change how certain things work, whether that’s via academia, or perhaps even ‘closer to the fire’. In the meantime, I’ll just have to get used to seeing that ‘Dr’ in front of my name every now and then. It’s weird. But cool. Very cool. Who would have thought that in 2005 when I thought ‘academia is not for me’. Now, 12 years later, I love it, I owe it everything, and it has taught me so much. Wherever I will end up, inside or outside academia, the passions and skills acquired here will hopefully guide me through the rest of my professional career.