2020 did not start like a normal year.
Many things were happening around the world. Me, along with other PhD students, are doing our best to develop our projects, study, and work. We all had plans in the short, medium and long term. Then COVID-19 happened, and, with it, Britain´s lockdown. All of a sudden, we all were working from home, with our rather big bunches of printed papers to read, maybe transcripts to analyze, theses to write, and a big and overwhelming feeling of uncertainty.
This has been an experience that could seem ideal for people in academia because we finally get the time to be in a peaceful place where we can think and write, but strangely, distractions can still come from anywhere. Personally, I can identify that I have better days than others in terms of productivity, which can be dictated by how I feel when I wake up; where I decide is going to be my “workplace”; if I slept well; the underlying worry of thinking how my friends and family are doing back in my home country; etc. At the beginning, I was trying to continue with my normal routine. However, if at the end of the day I did not consider I followed it as I wanted, I sometimes have a feeling of guilt and tediousness—making isolation even worse.
After some time, I decided to change my mindset. We are in the middle of a pandemic. We are all living the same situation, with personal variations, but we are not victims.
We are a community and we are joining efforts to protect our health, and our health care system. If I keep this in mind, then everything makes sense. I can also be more flexible with myself and adjust as much as I can. I try not to be too hard with myself when I judge my productivity and the way that I use my time. I am also trying to do things to take care of my physical, mental, and emotional health every day. I have exercise routines that I follow online, I try to do some mindfulness meditations, and I try to be in touch with my family and friends both here and in Mexico.
Regarding my PhD, I have to admit that this situation represents a big challenge due to the stage where I am at, but at the same time, I think it is also a good opportunity to bring a new perspective to the field of my research and to explore new data collection methods. When this optimism abandons me, I go back to the thought that I am not alone, and many people are living the same…We are all looking for ways to cope with this.
To conclude, in my experience, keeping in mind that this is global and this is joining us as a community, not neglecting my physical and mental health, as well as being flexible with my productivity pace is what is helping me to get through this situation.
And I refuse to experience this issue as merely “surviving” adversity, but rather truly living this reality, because at the end of the day is still my life…Our lives.