Flashback, I just arrived home. Checking my emails. Then I received an email from School of Graduate Studies, informed me the date, time and venue of my oral presentation. Suddenly, my hands are sweating and my heart pounding so hard. I can not sleep well, talking to myself like crazy, keeps on reading my thesis, jot down any issues, tagging all important items, drafting my presentation slide and meeting with my fellow friends, seeking their advice and opinion. Not forgetting meeting my supervisor. I did mock presentation and to be honest… I am so nervous and I could not talk and present well. The words seems so hard to say, It was sunk into my throat, my heart pounding so hard. It was a frustrating moment for me and my supervisor (I think). He criticized my slides, my presentations and suggest me to improve the slides and keep on practicing.
As for the viva preparation, I searched for tips on viva voce on the net. Downloading the viva procedure from SPS (surviving-viva-voce). I really like this quote, “… During your presentation, you are the KING. And if you show the panel you are KING during the presentation, you will remain KING during the Q&A. Otherwise, the panel will become KING and you will be eaten by them …” -anonymous-
Keep my prayer to Allah SWT, ask my husband, my kids, my mother and mother in law to pray for me.
Two weeks until the big day, the nervous is gone. The feeling of, “Please hurry” and “I can’t wait to get it over!”.
Two days until the big day, I was down with fever.
A day before the viva, I went to the viva room to setting up the presentation slides and making sure that all the documents has in place.
A night before the viva, my laptop’s screen went crazy. Its was blue and green..(oh, my..). I pray to Allah that tomorrow will be a better day for me.
The big day is here! I woke up early (I could not sleep actually), Tahajjud – pray for Allah to ease the VIVA process. Recited Surah Insyirah;
[94:1] Have We not uplifted your heart for you ˹O Prophet˺,
[94:2] relieved you of the burden
[94:3] which weighed so heavily on your back,
[94:4] and elevated your reputation for you?
[94:5] So, surely with hardship comes ease.
[94:6] Surely with ˹that˺ hardship comes ˹more˺ ease.
[94:7] So once you have fulfilled ˹your duty˺, strive ˹in devotion˺,
[94:8] turning to your Lord ˹alone˺ with hope.
The viva process starts with a welcoming speech by the Chairman. Then, the Chairman asked my supervisor and I to step outside for a while allowing the Chairman and the examiners to discuss. After 15 minutes of waiting, the Chairman invite my supervisor and I to step in the viva room. I start and finish my presentation calmly (I am surprised! Alhamdulillah). Every questions and answers, I am trying my best to response and justify. The session went well, examiners look every pages and chapters. They asking questions and giving suggestions for improvement. It took about 2 hours. I cannot believe that my favorite sentence on that day is “Okay, there is no more questions”. I can breath now.. The Chairman asked me to step out from the viva room for awhile, allowing them to deliberate. Outside, I can see they are talking.. sipping a cup of tea and enjoying their donuts, and looking through my thesis again. 15 minutes is like forever.
Finally, they let me in. I sat down, looking on the cup of tea and a doughnut. My mind said, “You guys look delicious, but I’m sorry.. I don’t have an appetite to eat”.
Chairman, “Congratulations, you passed you PhD. You have 6 months to do your corrections…..bla..bla…(I’m in the auto pilot mode, I am not really remember the words he said. Suddenly…) Do you have anything to wish?”. I was speechless for awhile. However, I did manage to thank my supervisor, examiners and the Chairman. 5 years is being a roller coaster for me to finish this.
I know that everybody has their own experience and definitely and totally different than mine. So it is not rightful for me to judge yours and you to judge mine, as long as he/she finish his/her PhD (regardless how many years). PhD is a journey, indeed.
I am struggling for the first 3 years, mentally and physically tired, and finally regained my momentum to finish this. Thanks to Allah.
I feel relieved, blur, dizzy and I really need a pillow. I still cannot sleep that night. So during the weekend, my husband take me for a short vacation because he quite worried that his wife is not responding and looking like a zombie. haha! So I am a PhD survivor.
The best moment of my life…