It eluded us then, but that’s no matter – tomorrow we will run faster, stretch our arms farther…And one fine morning – 

F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Moving to another country on the other side of the world is stressful at the best of times. My PhD started just as a global pandemic began although hopefully it will be over before my studies conclude. Others who have completed their PhD comment on how lonely the process can be, the long hours alone sitting at a desk avoiding the world to complete the one big book that (it can seem) makes or breaks your career. Now it seems my journey will begin in isolation. The PhD will not quarantine me; the virus will. For some existing PhD students life may not change a lot at all!

“Productivity” tweets are circulating twitter at the moment, commenting on the enormous amount of work will we be able to do while cooped up in our homes or remaining a metre and a half away from one another if we do venture outside. The entire world is almost completely still. Yet it appears the drive of labour outputs remains. It is also difficult to work from home (if you are not accustomed to it) or it might not be possible to work at all during this crisis. It is difficult to “be productive” when you are worried, stressing about family members (from at home or abroad), pay checks, and the possibly food crisis. Additionally it is difficult to manages one’s personal worries alongside the global worries of the economy, and the so called #coronapocalypse. It is just plain difficult. Before this mini shut down, society emphasized ‘doing’ – we always have to be doing something. We need to work, socialise, exercise etc. Moving faster, and faster,  and faster! Now (during this pandemic) we must do more. Everything we had no time to do before (because we were so busy) has to be done now. We must catch up on work. While other comments reflect upon how we should be creative, that we should take this opportunity to learn an instrument, write the novel you’ve always wanted to write, paint a masterpiece. I am very aware of my productivity levels at the moment, and the need to work as much as possible because “ this is an excellent opportunity” but it is difficult and I just think that…

It is okay not to “do” and just “be”. 

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