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march twenty-fifth: I have an interview at harvard tomorrow to be a full-time researcher for a very very prominent former presidential advisor. the job is really competitive, so I won’t be heartbroken if I don’t get it. it’s an honor to even make it to the interview stage!

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Out of all the negatives that this lockdown and self-isolation are creating, one positive out of it is that I have now completed all of my RA work for my supervisor and can concentrate on my own work until end of the year when she’s back from maternity.

Pretending to go to work has actually helped and I haven’t gone around procrastinating the past two days, managing to do more work in half a day than I have done in weeks. I think it helps that my partner is back in work (he’s classed as a key worker and the lockdown makes his travel to work safer now) so I am not distracted by anything else, especially as I can cook and clean in the evenings before he’s home.

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23.03.20// Monday! I just taught my first remote class, which made me super anxious for some reason. But I made it through! Taking a second to breathe and smell the literal roses my family was kind enough to send me before continuing on with other teaching responsibilities. On my personal to-do today:

  • read for 1hr
  • type up secondary source notes

I think that’s about all I can manage for today. How are you? What have you been doing to manage stress with everything going on? I wish you all well.

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Not sure if I am crazy but after a week of moping around, I finally realised that I am still having to do my PhD. I have planned out the next 6 months of work following what my supervisors want me to do and I have all the books I want to read in the next few months in one big pile. Unfortunately the second stage of data collection is the interview stage so that is now going to be postponed until we know it is safe for one-to-one interviews. Due to ethics, I am not supposed to do Skype interviews but we shall see if I have to post an amendment at a later date.

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To avoid burnout and feelings of isolation when doing my work from now on I have decided that I am going to treat my PhD as a proper 9-5, Monday to Friday job. I am a sucker for routine and I think this is going to be the best for me.

I will be getting up early in the mornings, going for a walk when I know there will be less people about and I can scope how busy the shop will be for me to go, have breakfast and a shower and then dress up in proper, working clothes to be ready at my desk by 9. Then I will finish at 5 (with a lunch break at 1 for 45 minutes), do some weights/skipping/house exercise, shower again and take my medication by half 6 before cooking tea ready for when he comes home at half 8.

This will hopefully keep me productive and up to date with my work and leaving down time for the evenings and weekends. The plan to put exercise into my routine is so that I get moving once in a while now that I am not going to be as active as I have been and I have a lot of clothes that I own and haven’t fit into for a couple of years and there’s no knowing when we will be able to afford to buy new ones. Also, the more weight I lose, the less likely that I will be fobbed off with my gynaecology referral.

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20.03.20// on this morning’s to-dos:

  • read for at least one hour (I really really need to finish Calvin’s Institutes)
  • create full outline for comps essay
  • respond to some important emails

What are you all up to? How are you? I’m really loving taking an hour a day to walk outside. This morning I did some yoga. I’m trying to take everything one day at a time and recognize that I’m really fortunate to be able to practice social distancing and work from home—not to dismiss my (I think understandable) anxiety around everything, but to fold in some intentional thinking and gratitude into my day.

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19.03.20// It is very dreary outside today so I’m turning to tea to turn the “dreary” into “cozy”! Today I’m reading some critical material for my comps essays and trying to fight back some anxiety around everything that’s going on. What are you up to?

How is everyone doing “working from home”? It’s not as if I didn’t work AT home before, but the circumstances are making it very difficult for me to concentrate and be productive. I’m trying to be gentle with myself about it, but deadlines are still deadlines, unfortunately.

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I am now on self isolation out of safety concerns due to coronavirus. I live in a built up area and I have to travel on full buses to get to campus so I am now working from home for the foreseeable future. While I tend to work more from home than campus anyway, I am now avoiding any reason that would require me to travel to campus for meetings, sessions and coffee dates with other PhD students. This has not been taken lightly but the safety of others is more important than me attending anything right now, especially as the university remains open until the 27th.

What this does mean, however, is that I cannot escape from Skype meetings and working for the next few days to get my analysis done for my supervisor. The only respite is that my next physical meeting with my second supervisor isn’t until the end of April and I am hoping things will begin to calm down by then.

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the worst thing about grad school in my country is that it doesn’t matter that the world is living a pandemic that is killing people, if you’re alive then you still have to hand in your thesis by the same deadline (24 months after you’ve entered the program, which is 9 months away for me)

So here I am, and even though my country haven’t declared that people shouldn’t be going out, I’m still leaving home as little as I can (specially because my grandma lives with me and I don’t wanna risk passing anything to her, that stays indoors almost all the time). I don’t have a lab that I need to go to and my advisor was meeting me through Skype anyway, so I was already working from home.

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Honestly the best suggestion I have for new grad students is to type up your notes on everything–coursework, seminar papers, conference papers, comps, diss chapters, you name it. Type it and save it somewhere you can find it later. You never know when you’ll want to consult that stuff again and if it’s in a searchable format? Ideal.

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