“Doing one’s best in a pandemic is different”
It was a good hard year. The first news threads about pandemics were not so alarming, but a “new normal” has come and we have learned to live it. Working from home, wearing masks, avoiding handshakes, keeping distance, etc. What seemed like a quest at the beginning soon became a tiring routine. I believe that we all faced many inconveniences: being away from our families during holidays, constantly rescheduling bid celebrations, being under pressure of sad news and canceled plans. I would love to say that my work and progress have not been impacted. Sadly, it isn’t true. But the beginning is always the hardest. The most important thing that I learned from the pandemic is to be kinder to myself. To remember that one of the most important qualities we, doctoral students, have is our great passion and creativity. Every day is exciting, academia is a constant adventure. But as in every relationship, the love feeling needs some space. Friends, hobbies, reading non-dissertation-related books, mindfulness meditation, sport, dancing, coffee in cafes, learning a new language, etc. Dedicating time to those things will, in fact, make the academic work more successful. Funnily, I discovered this truth thanks to the pandemic. Even though I did not probably do as much as I would hope, I achieved a harmony of my work and life balance. An academic career is a long journey and it would be sad to run out of fuel too early. Let’s do our best but remember that doing one’s best in a pandemic is a very different thing. I believe that in a time of lack of communication, doctoral students should seek any suitable opportunity to meet other researchers online. Sharing your work in progress with others can give a new perspective and open eyes to things not considered before. I see IPSERA doctoral workshop as an excellent opportunity not only engaged with fellow doctoral students but receive feedback from more experienced researchers on how to improve my study. I am grateful to the conference and workshop organizers to take the extra effort to move the activities online. I think that following a routine is important to feel in control of your progress. I wish my fellow doctoral students to be kinder to themselves and be open to new opportunities of ”online” pandemic times, as they might be surprisingly exciting. Good luck!