Viva Report

Today I finally received my viva report.  I’ve waited five weeks in agony. Even though my examiners gave me immediate feedback on what they’d like me to revise after the viva, my limbs still went weak when I read through the formal school letter and browsed the 11-pages report.  With their indifferent politeness and cold formality, school letters are never pleasant to read.  Then there’s the viva report that I dreaded all summer.  To be fair it was very prescriptive, containing details on what was insufficient in my methodology, research questions, and poor presentation.  But understanding and accepting are different things.  I understand I received major corrections because there are weaknesses in my research methods, but find it hard to accept that, even with a strong viva performance, I was not able to tilt the examiners’ decision towards minor rather than major corrections.

Coming to terms with the flaws and having invested so much (time, money, energy) in the thesis, I’ve decided to do the corrections and re-submit within a year’s time.  I don’t like to leave things unfinished, and even if it’s for the sake of finishing the thesis, rather than about trying to get a job in academia, I should still aim at eventually getting the Ph.D.

Ironically, this very unfortunate event in the eyes of a Ph.D. student has given me more time to do aerial training.  I came across aerial–the general term for aerial circus apparatuses such as trapeze, rope, and silks–during the fourth year of my Ph.D.. Before that point, I always thought that in order to do aerial, one needed to have a background in gymnastics.  But while having a gymnastics background is IMMENSELY useful and makes a HUGE difference, it is still possible to do aerial without a gymnastics background.  Putting in the time and effort to train is important.  It took me one term (eight weeks) before I could invert in the air, and even then I still had to push the rope with my foot in an awkward-clumsy un-graceful fashion.  When I watch my videos from my first year, I’m still amazed at how much I’ve improved, but I crave for more strength.  What was initially an alternative way to keep fit has become an obsession.

Initially it was a friend’s idea that we should book an aerial class together.  In the end, it was me who signed on and fell in love with the rope (a.k.a. corde lisse).  I also train on static trapeze and silks, but mostly on the rope.  I’m working on my meathooks at the moment.  The probability of me ever becoming as good as this amazing aerialist is less than 0%, yet I still train with aspirations of becoming stronger:

So despite the major setback I’ve had by receiving major corrections, I thought I could start noting down my progress both on the thesis and the aerial training side to encourage myself to keep focus.  Hopefully by next year’s submission time, I would have produced a good, strong thesis, and gained arms, abs of steel.


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