Are we nearly there yet?

The inspiration for this post came from a tweet by @evalantsoght who tweeted that being asked when you are likely to finish the PhD is like kids in the back of the car asking “are we nearly there yet?” A slightly irritating reminder that the journey still has some way to go!

I am in my final year of a part-time PhD and hoping to have my viva in early summer next year so I do feel as though I’m nearly there but keep getting a little panicky at what has yet to be done. So on thinking about preparing for the viva whilst still writing up I also reflected if it was too early to be thinking about this. Here is what I have been doing over the past couple of months and what I plan to do over the next few months…

I started to discuss with my supervisors who my external examiners might be around May time this year. As a member of staff in my institution need to have two external examiners. With the REF approaching I was also conscious that the demand for examiners might be high around the time I want to have my viva so thinking about this early and approaching potential examiners seemed prudent.

Who to choose?

I am fortunate in that I have had a say in who my examiners might be. I drew up a list of a few people based on discussions with colleagues who had recently been examined and thinking about key authors who are already referenced within my thesis. I hope to have selected examiners who are knowledgeable about my subject and methodology. Obviously I cannot name them here, but time will tell if I have chosen wisely.

Preparing for the viva

I attended a recent workshop held at my institution by Professor Gordon Joughin from the University of Queensland. This was a useful opportunity to explore the viva, our ideas of what the viva might be like along with some tips such as practicing questions before hand. Gordon also highly recommended Rowena Murrays book on How to survive your viva so of course  have purchased the book and hope by some miracle it will help me survive but I wonder if he means I ought to read the book or use it to as a shield to fend off any bullets that come my way?

What is really exciting though, is the prospect of joining with #AcWriMo. During the month of November a twitter community are coming together through the PhD2Published  blogsite and make public declarations of writing targets, and support each other through twitter and the blog. I’ve made my declaration, and hope to complete my findings and discussion chapter which should be a total of just over 30000 words and will get me well on the way be being “nearly there” in terms of completing the PhD.

I hope to blog during November about my progress on #AcWriMo (I wonder if this counts in my word count), so you can keep tabs on me and see if I keep my pledge.