How to do a PhD in the age of coronavirus

Several tips that have helped me adjust to the coronavirus pandemic whilst doing a PhD.

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About two months into my PhD journey, the UK took drastic mesasures to prevent the coronavirus transmission and annouced a nationwide lockdown and a ban on travel. Everything was quite surreal and I felt like all the ideas and plans I had for my research project went up in smoke.

In an attempt to avoid absolute nihilism, I started experimenting with my new 'work from home' lifestyle and tried different ways to keep my motivation and spirit uplifted. After some trial and error, I started to find my groove 😎. A key turning point that helped me adapt was changing my mindset: I started to see this challenge as an opportunity to be creative and find alternative solutions to approach my research. I decided to write a brief blog post on what worked for me with the hope that it might be useful for other PhD students and researchers who are in the same boat. 

  1. Take things slow! You are more important than your PhD. Recognise what you can control and what you can't.
  2. The world wide web is your new best friend! As everything shifts online, look out for webinars, free online training courses, and virtual conferences. There are already a lot of materials and opportunities available and this is rapidly increasing by the day.
  3. In these uncertain times, don't worry too much about planning for the long term. Develop a 2-4 week work plan and try to have a plan B up your sleeve.
  4. I am sure you have heard it many times, but routine is crucial. Don’t feel guilty if you are not being productive right off the bat. Everyone has a diffierent style so find what works for you.
  5. Kickstart your motivation. Set your day up with a list of tasks that are achievable so that you can get that feel good factor for reaching those mini accomplishments. This will hopefully give you that little nudge of motivation each day. Another way is to keep in touch with your community. WildHub, for example, is a great platform to converse with people in your field, to learn from one another, and to share the struggles we are all currently facing! 

And that is it! You can find the full blog here: Doing a PhD in the age of the coronavirus: The art of adaptation

Poster image credits: Photo by Kristopher Roller on Unsplash

Go to the profile of Michaela (Micha) Lo

Michaela (Micha) Lo

PhD student, University of Kent

I am a PhD candidate at the Durrell Institute of Conseration Ecology (DICE), hosted at the University of Kent. My research focuses on how land use change influences human well-being in central Indonesia. My background is in tropical forestry and development. Other research interests include the application of food systems thinking in forestry issues, biodiversity and food security at the forest-water interface, and the management of multifunctional landscapes across the tropics. I am a keen advocate of strengthening international and inclusive collaborations in forest and conservation research. I have a deep love for baking (please share with me your recipes!), basketball and peanut butter 🤩
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