It’s nearly six pm on a Friday, and I’m still in my pajamas. Am I sick? Have I been fired? None of the above—rather, this is the start of my Week o’Doom, also known as VIVA PREP WEEK AAAUUUUGH!
If you are unfamiliar with a viva (hi Mom!), it’s the oral defense of my dissertation. Basically, I sit in a room with two examiners, and they ask me about my thesis. Everyone in the U.K. does it, and while all of my friends who have done it insist that it’s actually not that bad, it’s stressful but you get through it, and no one has ever really had the nightmare viva where they have to send out for takeaway because you’ve been in there for seven hours, I remember what they were like the week before their own vivas, and they were all nervous crazy wrecks to a man (and woman).
I’m not a total wreck yet—that’ll probably happen when I go to catch the train to Norwich and discover the entire National Rail system is down—but I’ll admit, it’s a bit nerve-wracking. Suddenly all of my carefully-crafted arguments look a bit amateurish, and my typos seem to be multiplying as I turn the pages…but what can you do. I’m trying to remember that I had supervisors who read my thesis and wouldn’t have let me submit if it wasn’t ready, and that when it comes down to it, I know my work better than anyone else on the planet. (And let’s face it, with a dissertation on the links between original writing and translation using Beowulf as a translation case study, that is a very small planet indeed.)
Anyway, this leaves me with a few more blog posts between now and the fateful day. Will I be looking for study breaks and suddenly come out with my most incisive book review yet? Will I write three more posts whining about my dissertation? Will I slowly devolve into misspelled gibberish? Only time, and the copious amounts of wine and beer I suspect will fuel my studying, will tell…