With my PhD upgrade viva behind me, it is now time to think ahead about the next year of my PhD. The first year went by very quickly, and it is surreal to think I will be entering the second year when the summer is over. My original plan was to conduct a few archival trips this summer to the United States to support my research, but with archives closed and travel restrictions still in place due to COVID-19, I’ve had to rethink my plans.
Doing a PhD in the best of circumstances can already be a difficult task. Having to do one during a global pandemic does not make it any easier! However, it is important to think about what can done while our range of options is limited. For one, I’m looking forward to starting to teach next academic year. Teaching is one aspect of the PhD I’ve been excited about long before I started my degree, so I’m excited to get into the classroom and work with students, even if it is virtually. It will be so enriching to hopefully give back to students and be a mentor for them like many have been for me.
As for my research, I have been thinking about how much work I can do without making those archival trips I will eventually need to take. Once the LSE Library reopens, there is plenty of reading I can do there combined with books available online. There are also some sources available online and accessible from my computer I can analyse that I will take advantage of in the coming months and as year two begins. My task will be to make sure I am fully immersed in those online sources to make the best use of my time before I can return to archives to conduct further research.
COVID-19 has changed all of our plans, but it looks like it will be with us for a long time, making it vital to work around the virus and plan our lives accordingly. As I think ahead to my second year, I’m trying to make the most of what I can do now, how I can maximise efficiency, and make the most of my time.