We’re about a month into all this working-from-home, social-distancing, quarantining stuff, and I feel like as a whole (school, state, country, world, as a whole group of people really) we’ve gone through our various stages of grief. We’ve been sad that the freedom to just go out and meet our friends at a bar is gone. We’ve been mad that our apartments are so much smaller than we initially thought they were after being inside them all day. We’ve agonized over the idea that this whole thing would never end.
And hopefully most people have made it to a type of accepting conclusion: this is the way things are right now, but if we are cautious and careful as a group of people, hopefully this crisis will come to pass sooner rather than later.
Wherever you think you might be in these stages of grief, I think it’s important to remind ourselves (especially as grad students) that staying on track with our degree plan is so important. There is no denying that productivity, even in quarantine, is crucial for your graduate degree to go the way you’d like it to.
However, being that we are currently living in a world where we are stuck inside and working from home, it’s more important now than ever to try to create balance for yourself.
It’s true that classes have moved online, and a lot of work-places are asking employees not to come into work. But this just means you have all of your work suddenly moved to your computer, which for most of us is always accessible. This so quickly becomes dangerous because this quarantine didn’t really take away our ability to work—we can do that anytime, any place now. It took away our ability to release.
Bars and restaurants are closed. Gyms are closed. Skating rinks, movie theaters, art studios are all closed. This creates a huge imbalance: there’s all the time and resources to work, and no resources for relaxing or letting go or having fun.
So more than ever, it’s important not to let your work become you. It’s important to take time to NOT work from home, and try to just be home! And let yourself grieve! Take naps, eat good food, try to work a little bit of “you-time” into each and every day so you don’t drive yourself crazy with work.
We all need little reminders here and there about balance, but now more than ever, do not let your life become work. Do things for yourself, be patient with yourself and the world, and we will get through this strange time together.
Serina is a Ph. D. student in the Genetics program.