Covid-19 has seeped into nearly every aspect of our life, changing the ways we work, shop, and communicate. The situation has required flexibility and patience. As a PhD student who started my project at the end of September, I have had to adjust what I am focused on, as well. Before the virus picked up, I was concentrating on purifying and crystallizing two membrane proteins. Of course, that is no longer possible while working from home. As such, I have spent my time preparing a review. This process has made me better acquainted with the existing literature and has helped me more clearly understand the intricacies of my project. Additionally, this exercise will help form part of the introduction of my thesis.
Like many others, I have had a hard time adjusting to these new working conditions. I have struggled with both motivation and concentration. As such, it has been a conscious and ongoing effort to find out what works best for me – learning what times of day I’m most productive, how to block out distractions, and how to break work up into small, achievable pieces. The technology that we have today has made the situation easier than it otherwise would be. For example, being able to conduct meetings over Skype or Zoom has allowed me to hang on to some semblance of normalcy. And the abundance of social media and messaging apps has allowed me to maintain contact with friends and family without really missing a beat.
It has also given me a chance to pick up old hobbies and explore new ones. Lately, I have been finishing up a couple of embroidery projects and catching up on audiobooks. I have also started to pick up the Irish sport of hurling as a way to get outside and be active. Ultimately, this situation is far from ideal, but I am thankful for understanding colleagues, a gorgeous campus to walk around, and enough work to stay busy.