Phd Thesis Anxiety

I once had to give behavioural coaching to a salesteam who were rank outsiders at a major business pitch.They had not been invited to pitch, but had asked for permission to anyway.

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I asked all the questions and watched their behaviour closely. I gave feedback about gestures, ticks and stress-based body language.

They not only knocked out many of the other competitors and went into the next round, but they won the pitch and a £2m contract worth of accounting business.

But, they agreed that I had done enough to write and defend my thesis.

Getting this confirmation makes it much less likely that you are going to get a curveball on game day…in front of all your friends and family.

I made them write down all the questions they feared the most and work out ideal answers.

I made them review these and then rehearse giving the answers, prior to meeting up with me for a mock panel.There are urban legends and even some blogs that recount stories of people failing their thesis defense, but the overwhelming majority of grad students, even those terrified of failing, will pass. And why does everyone fear failing their thesis defense?Well, defending 5 years of your work in front of a room of your colleagues, experienced professors, committee members, friends, parents, and partner might produce just a tad of anxiety.Aaron provided a great introduction where he laid out a) the rationale for why anyone would want to expand the genetic code and b) the appropriate background on prior work from his lab, the Romesberg Lab, on which his thesis work was based.He did this at a level that captured the attention of both the biologists and chemists that made up his audience; a tough feat to do.If you’re preparing your thesis defense presentation, than you’ve either just finished writing your thesis or are pretty close to finished.Part of this is dividing up your research projects of the past 5 years into distinct chapters.For all those hopefuls, I wanted to share a few tips to consider when preparing your thesis defense presentation.But first, let’s address one of the major stress-inducing myths about the thesis defense.Writing the introduction to your thesis is a great exercise for determining what information can help you do this, but think simple and be concise.For instance, Aaron’s thesis project was focused on the optimization of a semi-synthetic organism, which uses two synthetic nucleotides to form a third base pair, giving it an expanded genetic code.


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