The University is closed for the foreseeable future

PhD Life

We are in unprecedented times – I really mean it this time! The university has been closed; as a PhD researcher, this presents somewhat of a challenge. Many of you will be in a similar or worse situation, and I hope all works out well for you – I am confident it will.

Due to the way the finances work for my studentship, the money was paid upfront, and therefore my wages are ‘guaranteed’ until the end of the studentship, which happens to be almost one year from now. Consequently, I am luckier than most in that although I have lost my primary place of work for the foreseeable future, I can still work from home and not have to worry about money in the short-term.

But how will an academic cope with social isolation? Well, fortunately, I have been doing my part for social isolation since I decided to do a PhD. Ninety-percent of my time is spent alone, writing, analysing-data, or working in the lab. Being an introvert is helpful in a situation like this, and my mother has always said that ‘I enjoy my own company’.

So, for me, the pandemic has changed very little about my life. The most significant change is that the gym is closed, and the kick-boxing society is on hiatus. I suspect I will get extremely proficient at press-ups over the coming few months! Also, it might be the time to get into yoga – my shoulders will thank me.

How long will it last?

I was speaking to my supervisor as she drove me home from the university for what could be the last time? She said that they are starting to think about re-opening the university in September or even January 2021! Because of the large volume of people that congregate at universities, I suspect it will be one of the last places to return to normality. Therefore, I am in this for the long run!

When I asked her how she thinks the shut-down will affect her students (me and three others) who will graduate in ~ a year, she said we would get extensions. My first reaction was, please no! I like the student lifestyle, and it is a privileged position, but I need to do something else. I am someone who gets bored with anything after several years, which is why I will never master anything.

My life for the foreseeable future will involve lots of writing. Academic writing to be precise. Maybe the silver lining to this pandemic is that I will be forced to improve my writing. Either I will improve my writing, or my ability to procrastinate.

The mid-term future has become much more cloudy than ever before, with no one having any idea of how society will change. We will be talking about this time for decades to come.

I wish everyone who reads this the best of luck, and I have been pleasantly surprised out how we have all acted in this crisis – apart from you panic buyers!

Author: Louis

Spend less than you earn, Invest the surplus, avoid debt. Eat food, not too much, mostly plants

29 thoughts on “The University is closed for the foreseeable future”

  1. I’m finishing up my dissertation. I feel you. I’ve felt isolated, but this forced isolation seems even weirder to me. Like I’m a rebellious teen… don’t tell me to isolate ! I’ll do it on my own accord! Lol

    This is a very strange time and I wish you all the best.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It is really good just now to see a positive attitude in these uncertain times! So, thank you! In my books you must be a Master of something as you are doing a PhD. I have a Masters by Research in the Humanities but still feel like a Jack of All trades and Master of none. I like you am happy in my own company (not all of the time but most of it). That said, I love company but I am able to occupy myself in all manner of ways. I feel lucky but so many will find it hard to isolate! I practice Yoga and meditation at home and find it helpful (I am not a Master in this either but it helps). We really are in strange and uncertain time but I sincerely believe we have to have faith in getting through this! (not in a religious way, though that is fine for some). When my nephew was just a little boy (he’s 18 now), he used to tell us “hopes up!”. He meant we always have ‘Hope’. Really enjoyed your post. Wishing you all the best in your studies, research and life in general! Hopes Up! 🙂

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  3. Good luck. You’re writing well already, in my humble opinion. You express yourself with the written word as though speaking to someone directly. You use simple, easy to understand vocabulary. It is clear, conversational and to the point.
    Us introverts must stick together! Lol. Keep it up. It’s good.

    Maureen

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  4. As a fellow academic, just remember that Newton did his best work when Cambridge was closed because of the bubonic plague!

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  5. I to am an introvert. So I find solitude peaceful. I’m not stuck in a room and free to walk wherever I please. Perk about living on a mountain in a rural area. My dogs take me for walks several times a day 😁. Soon the weather will be more stable and a new garden to grow. Be safe and take care.
    PS take a break from academic writing and write something totally unlike you! 😜

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  6. Thanks for this…
    Thinking about this only yesterday. A misdiagnosed and definitely not terminal illness truncated my own Ph D as an M.Sc… Time for a dramatic re-think, moving into epidemiology. Now a mismanaged viral infection’s put most of the world in lockdown.
    A year or so of living like the privileged monks of Mount Grace Priory in North Yorkshire, self isolated in their individual cells, ( ensuite too) studying, some hours working according to their skills – and cultivating their individual enclosed gardens.
    Extroverts might hate it… Academic friends are planning the books they’ve never had time to write. Everybody who loves reading, writing and learning is lucky. I fear for the people isolated in tower block flats, possibly in difficult relationships. How to help them ? So many routes seem to be closed. How many won’t have jobs to return to ? .

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  7. I recently started my master thesis in a hope to finish my degree in two years. And I can relate to your story so very well. Just today I was wondering about the effect of this crisis on my academic length and other consequences. It made me a bit tensed but I am glad that I found this story. It almost speaks what I am currently facing and that I am not only one feeling this. Thank you.
    I hope all of us get through this tough time soon.

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  8. Hi there
    I too am a University student. I am currently undertaking a Master of Arts (Literature and Creative Writing) at Western Sydney University. Our classes went online this week. At first I was apprehensive about this learning style, however today seemed to go well. I have 4 assignments due in April and don’t envisage any problems with them. I have all the resources at my disposal that I would have had if I were attending University and am saving $40 per week in petrol by not having to attend. (I live in the bush, 120km or so from Uni). I thought I would miss the classroom interaction with other students, but an online classroom still allows for that. I am using my driving time to work on assignments too, so I guess this is working out pretty good for me.
    Being disabled and vulnerable to diseases through my immune system being depleted ( I have cancer), means that not mixing with a lot of people who potentially could pass on something to me is great.
    I hope that your PhD studies continue to go well through this time and that your university is open to your need to access materials and texts through your library somehow.
    Dave

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  9. Good luck with working from home! I’m in a similar situation myself – I’ll be doing online-only learning away from my university and I’m quite worried about it! Also, I totally recommend doing yoga! Yoga with Adriene on YouTube is the best for at-home practice!

    Here’s hoping things get back to normal-ish in the not-so-distant future!

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  10. I feel you. I’m trying to schedule my defense right now (on Zoom) so that I can start the job for which I cannot currently get an offer because of what’s going on. PhD life is so ambigious already without this crisis. Best of luck to you! -Neri

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  11. Good afternoon sir. You write really well. Sir I love writing blogs and I am a beginner. Sir you liked my previous post. Please advice me how can I do well and what else should I do to get better results.

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  12. As a student myself I thought this was a very interesting article to read, having university ended so abruptly was hard and getting used to online lessons even harder. But I guess everyone will soon get used to it as it becomes our new norm

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