Once upon a time, long ago when Corona was still just a beer, one of our PhD student blogger’s Unene wrote about the value of having a crew, especially as a PhD student. One of her main points was that PhD research can be stressful and isolating (and this was before lockdown), but you don’t have to be alone on your journey – and perhaps sometimes you just need reminding that it’s okay to call on people for help and support. And that is the case now more than ever. So who’s in your crew or where can you find one?
One of our current PhD bloggers, Kirstie, has just produced her latest video outlining how she’s coping with carrying on her lab based PhD in lockdown, and one of the things she talks about is the value she places on her weekly supervision sessions in helping to keep her research going, and reminds us all not to be afraid to ask for help.
And, don’t forget, your fellow students may be studying something different, but they will know what you’re going through. Throughout the University, groups are being set up to help research students support each other – in the Manchester Institute of Education there’s a PGR social solidarity virtual group set up to share resources as well as some welcome distractions, including a weekly quiz!
Students in the School of Arts Languages and Cultures set up a Zoom PGR study at the start of the lockdown each weekday 2pm – 4.30pm. The group aims to reintroduce focus, structure, and a sense of community into the working lives of PGRs during the lockdown. Recognising that many PGRs have little to no opportunity to see other human beings at the moment, each session kicks off with a half hour informal catch-up. This is followed by a two hour work session using the Pomodoro technique.
Details were circulated on the humanities PGR email – so if you’re a humanities student who missed it take a look through your emails! And if you’re not, why not see if there’s something for your school or Faculty? And if not, think about setting one up – there will definitely be other students who are feeling like you and would love to get involved. If you’re already running something you think would be of interest to other students – let us know and we might be able to help spread the message!
But your crew doesn’t have to be academic; friends and family can support you too (even with work they don’t understand – sometimes a bit of reassurance and moral support can go a really long way). Don’t isolate yourself – even if you are isolating! Remember to check-in with friends and family. Our student bloggers have been busy with their top tips for keeping in touch and staying sane. Laura has given her tips for making the most of virtual hang outs and Malaika has looked at socially social distancing! Even before lockdown Carola wrote a blog about keeping long distance relationships going at Uni – and now we’re all working out how to manage relationships in the same way – even if we’re only a few kilometres away from our nearest and dearest!