As we cruise through the summer, it is hard to believe the next academic year is right around the corner. Before we know it, it will be starting up, and starting any new academic year in normal times can often be stressful or anxiety-inducing. Starting one during a global pandemic is unprecedented and will require all of us to get creative about how we can manage it.
Your first port of call for helping you with this, should be talking to your supervisor.
In another post, I offered tips for incoming PhD students and one of my recommendations was forging a close working relationship with your supervisor. During the pandemic, this is crucial. Your supervisor will have the knowledge and experience to help you determine how best to productively use your time and can advise you on available resources to take advantage of while more traditional forms of research are limited right now. In every instance, you should make good use of their expertise.
Th following point might be difficult to process, but the pandemic may require you to re-think your research project.
You might need to only tinker with it, but some of you might need to completely revamp it. I completely understand how difficult this might be, but part of doing a PhD is about being flexible and changing directions when necessary. I’ve had to do this myself, and while it can be challenging at times, it is a good life skill to have.
Last but certainly not least, take care and be kind to yourself.
It can be very frustrating to work under these conditions, but we all need to make sure we are properly managing our mental health and keeping a good work-life balance. Set realistic goals for yourself and do the best you can. We will all get through this, and we will do it together.