granddr
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Is there anyone doing PhD and alone in especially pandemic situation? I am feeling lost here.
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Abzzz57
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(Original post by granddr)
Is there anyone doing PhD and alone in especially pandemic situation? I am feeling lost here.
Hi, I'm sorry your feeling alone at the moment, I'm going to move your thread over to university life as I'm sure there are people there who are feeling the same!
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mnot
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(Original post by granddr)
Is there anyone doing PhD and alone in especially pandemic situation? I am feeling lost here.
You are not alone.
Im a PhD and this pandemic does feel like ive been separated from my group. I haven't spoken to lots of people from my office in months. I still work with my supervisor over Microsoft teams, but I think everyone's agreed its not the same.

Feel free to PM me.
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PhoenixFortune
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(Original post by granddr)
Is there anyone doing PhD and alone in especially pandemic situation? I am feeling lost here.
How far into your PhD are you? I'm in my first year, and it is pretty isolating. A friend of mine is in his second year, and couldn't start his data collection because of lock down.
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Ki Yung Na
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Can I ask what subject you're doing the PhD in? We can pm if you want. I'm interested in higher education. I'm a finance student looking to go into the economics field. We can still pm if it's not the same field. I'd be interested to know what PhD is like. or if not that, I'd be happy to learn about your subject if that will help you keep positive about your subject of interest (ofc I won't share information of it, or about you anywhere).
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Keele University
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(Original post by granddr)
Is there anyone doing PhD and alone in especially pandemic situation? I am feeling lost here.
I'm sorry that you are feeling alone in your studies - I can absolutely guarantee that you are not the only one. PhD study can be quite lonely at the best of times and the pandemic has definitely made things worse in that regard.

Are there any student groups or friends that you can talk to at your university? I was feeling pretty isolated in the early weeks of the pandemic but I've since set up an online reading group with some peers, and have signed up for a few online events such as writing retreats, academic training sessions, conferences etc. Attending these isn't quite the same as seeing people in person but it does give you chance to talk to others about your research and share tips for being a researcher in these strange and unusual times. Plus most of them are free of charge at the moment, which gives you chance to attend events you might not have been able to if you'd had to factor in travel/accommodation costs!

At Keele, our postgraduate association has moved its weekly coffee morning to the online space as well - this has become a really nice place to just go and chat to others about how the week is going, share any worries etc. So see if your university has anything similar in place - or maybe suggest it to your SU if they don't? I've also been attending a fortnightly 'night out' at the theatre that the association has put on, text chatting to other students whilst watching a streamed theatre production together. If these sorts of events aren't available at your university, consider setting them up - I bet there are plenty of PhD students out there who feel similar to you and would like to talk to others!

Twitter's also really helpful - I'd recommend checking out the #phdchat for ways to connect with other PhD students. Lots of people share their PhD experiences on there and offer support and tips to each other. We also have a few Facebook groups at Keele - during the pandemic, I've been enjoying sharing craft projects with others on our Crafternoons group, as well as chatting in our PG Student Life group - so see if your university has similar groups you can be part of. And as you can see from the replies here, forums like this can be really supportive too!

As a few others have suggested, I would also recommend talking to your supervisor about how you are feeling. They might be able to recommend research networks you can join, or put you in touch with other students who are studying similar topics. They can also point you in the direction of any support services offered by the university - it's really important to look after your mental health during your PhD so do reach out and talk to someone if you are struggling with that.

Hope that helps!

Amy
Last edited by Keele University; 3 months ago
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gjd800
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The pandemic wouldn't have changed much about my PhD experience, tbh. I basically wrote mine sat on the couch in my living room for 4 years. But if you are feeling isolated, then get in touch with student support and see what they can offer. The universities are very aware of this and most have some support in place. How helpful it will be is anyone's guess, mind

I second the twitter thing, too.
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Cedg25
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Yeah this has been me since the start of my PhD too. I get incredibly anxious and hit these weird mental blocks where i will sit at my computer intending to work and end up doing something totally random then feel sick for my supervisor meetings - not a nice feeling at all but hope all you guys are doing good!
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mnot
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(Original post by Cedg25)
Yeah this has been me since the start of my PhD too. I get incredibly anxious and hit these weird mental blocks where i will sit at my computer intending to work and end up doing something totally random then feel sick for my supervisor meetings - not a nice feeling at all but hope all you guys are doing good!
Ive been feeling exactly like this recently.
(something I intend to raise with my supervisor this week).

Feel like I need to get back into the office for my own sanity. I got my house before the pandemic and chose it for its proximity to my office (literally a 5 minute walk), I did this specifically to make it easy to go into the office whenever I need to. Now my bedroom has become my bedroom, my office, my dining room, my break room, my living room. Not to mention physically working off campus makes me feel a little in the wilderness.

I think your feelings are very common. Im just starting my second year now. I love my work, but this office situation is making it very hard to get into my work.
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Mr Wednesday
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(Original post by mnot)
Feel like I need to get back into the office for my own sanity. I got my house before the pandemic and chose it for its proximity to my office (literally a 5 minute walk),
So on that note, my institution has had lab based staff and PhD students back in to re-start research - with reduced occupancy and a bit of careful scheduling for several months. However our theory / office based colleagues and admin staff made the point that coming in to their offices occasionally was important for MH and to do the odd job that really can get done remotely - reboot the workstation that went down, grab a big USB backup drive of data, move snail mail about etc. That seems to be working fine, why not suggest similar to your management.

Running along side this we do have all the "usual" breakfast cup of tea, remote seminars etc meet up on teams, but its not the same as physically getting into the office and saying a socially distanced high and grabbing a "2-meter cup of coffee" with a colleague / supervisor.
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mnot
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(Original post by Mr Wednesday)
So on that note, my institution has had lab based staff and PhD students back in to re-start research - with reduced occupancy and a bit of careful scheduling for several months. However our theory / office based colleagues and admin staff made the point that coming in to their offices occasionally was important for MH and to do the odd job that really can get done remotely - reboot the workstation that went down, grab a big USB backup drive of data, move snail mail about etc. That seems to be working fine, why not suggest similar to your management.

Running along side this we do have all the "usual" breakfast cup of tea, remote seminars etc meet up on teams, but its not the same as physically getting into the office and saying a socially distanced high and grabbing a "2-meter cup of coffee" with a colleague / supervisor.
Yea that sounds similar ish to mine, but most of my work is computational atm, and I think my unis policy might be if you can work from home, you should work from home.
Im going to ask to work from my office certain days during the week or something, as I dont feel I can work from home permanently any more and this is detrimental to my work. Im hoping they'll allow it as my office has lots of space and not too many people in it (and the building is for research so dont have to worry about taught students bringing covid into my building).
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Ki Yung Na
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Good luck everyone. I hope your efforts give you a happiness and is valued throughout! Massive respect and hats off for winning a place as a phd student at your respective institutes.
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a_level185
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(Original post by granddr)
Is there anyone doing PhD and alone in especially pandemic situation? I am feeling lost here.
mate im on a double gap year because i couldn't resit my exams this summer which has passed. i havent had any contact with the outside world for 15 months
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Cedg25
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(Original post by mnot)
Ive been feeling exactly like this recently.
(something I intend to raise with my supervisor this week).

Feel like I need to get back into the office for my own sanity. I got my house before the pandemic and chose it for its proximity to my office (literally a 5 minute walk), I did this specifically to make it easy to go into the office whenever I need to. Now my bedroom has become my bedroom, my office, my dining room, my break room, my living room. Not to mention physically working off campus makes me feel a little in the wilderness.

I think your feelings are very common. Im just starting my second year now. I love my work, but this office situation is making it very hard to get into my work.
Dang I really wish I had responded earlier! It is nice to see someone know how I feel and your bedroom situation is the exact same as mines except I stay with parents - but i actually intended to buy a flat/house of my own before the pandemic - now i feel it could be financially a bad move so I am holding off.

I am just going into my first review and I feel 1000% totally lost - I would fire me at this point if I am being honest hahaha

its an odd situation because I was just speaking to my girlfriend and said - you know what, in hindsight, if i knew my PhD would be like this id have just gotten a job. More money, less stress, more outdoor and social activity - woohoo!.....

But, I don't want to do badly in my PhD and sometimes I feel like it seems like I do but I really don't. I just feel my work is so badly effected with me working from home that it has been a waste of everyone's time!

Sorry for ranting and if you want to chat anytime let me know
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mnot
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(Original post by Cedg25)
Dang I really wish I had responded earlier! It is nice to see someone know how I feel and your bedroom situation is the exact same as mines except I stay with parents - but i actually intended to buy a flat/house of my own before the pandemic - now i feel it could be financially a bad move so I am holding off.

I am just going into my first review and I feel 1000% totally lost - I would fire me at this point if I am being honest hahaha

its an odd situation because I was just speaking to my girlfriend and said - you know what, in hindsight, if i knew my PhD would be like this id have just gotten a job. More money, less stress, more outdoor and social activity - woohoo!.....

But, I don't want to do badly in my PhD and sometimes I feel like it seems like I do but I really don't. I just feel my work is so badly effected with me working from home that it has been a waste of everyone's time!

Sorry for ranting and if you want to chat anytime let me know
No need to apologise, I get a sense of comradery of these threads (especially as PhDs are a bit like being out at sea by yourself).

TBH I wouldn't worry if its your first review. My supervisor told me before I started normally the first 3 months are just trying to figure out what the project area actually is, and its not till the start of 2nd year people really get into full speed (which is where I'm having to approach). Looking back I spent a lot of my first month or two reading.

Yea I had a good job offer and chose the PhD path. But TBH with Covid I actually am rather glad im doing a PhD as im still doing something positive, who knows what would of happened in a job, and with a PhD being your own boss is a great feeling.

Im jealous you are in a position to buy a house already, well Ive no idea what the covid housing market is like but if you buy one now or in a year it must be nice to have option.
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Cedg25
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(Original post by mnot)
No need to apologise, I get a sense of comradery of these threads (especially as PhDs are a bit like being out at sea by yourself).

TBH I wouldn't worry if its your first review. My supervisor told me before I started normally the first 3 months are just trying to figure out what the project area actually is, and its not till the start of 2nd year people really get into full speed (which is where I'm having to approach). Looking back I spent a lot of my first month or two reading.

Yea I had a good job offer and chose the PhD path. But TBH with Covid I actually am rather glad im doing a PhD as im still doing something positive, who knows what would of happened in a job, and with a PhD being your own boss is a great feeling.

Im jealous you are in a position to buy a house already, well Ive no idea what the covid housing market is like but if you buy one now or in a year it must be nice to have option.
I totally agree - I just feel I have had a bad PhD experience so far and I am stuck in the rut - its almost 1am and I am still not prepared for my meeting tomorrow so busy night ahead for me (first late night session in a good while).

Yeah I am a lucky guy - I did work and save for a good few years before university and worked all the way through so I have saved my pennies haha.

I hope so I have no idea what to expect from this first meeting, it says on the university website, and in guidelines, I am supposed to have a 4 month initial review but this has been thrown in with the 6 month one - all very confusing
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mnot
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(Original post by Cedg25)
I totally agree - I just feel I have had a bad PhD experience so far and I am stuck in the rut - its almost 1am and I am still not prepared for my meeting tomorrow so busy night ahead for me (first late night session in a good while).

Yeah I am a lucky guy - I did work and save for a good few years before university and worked all the way through so I have saved my pennies haha.

I hope so I have no idea what to expect from this first meeting, it says on the university website, and in guidelines, I am supposed to have a 4 month initial review but this has been thrown in with the 6 month one - all very confusing
Good luck.

Sounds like you were hard for your house deposit and work ethic got you in this position.

At 6 months I imagine they are just trying to make sure you are settling in, good opportunity for you to raise any concerns you have as well/questions about the status quo.

Im sure with covid they have to be very understanding.
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