What it is like to be Early Stage Researcher during the Covid-19-situation

Photo by Nick Bolton on Unsplash

All the ten ESRs in Edulia are doing their work away from their home countries, and some of them were on secondment in a third country when the virus hit.

We have asked them how the Covid-19 situation has affected them. Here are their experiences and thoughts.

More online data collection

First, we asked if their progresses are delayed due to the virus situation. The answers varied, some were delayed, mainly because of delay in the data collection, especially for those who are supposed to collect data in real life situations. Others have been able to adjust their data collection. However, some are concerned about the impact of the results since online research are less ideal than real life studies.

In addition to use online data collection instead, some ESRs have reduced their secondments and postponed face-to-face interaction to avoid delays.

Uncertainty is challenging

The constant uncertainty. The need of always having a plan B, and never being sure if what is planned will be possible. It was also hard not being able to meet people face-to-face, being abroad and quite a lot alone, away from family and friends.

Missing out on the chance of presenting results in conferences, meeting other scientists and building networks at conferences is hard as well.  So is the overwhelming feeling that everything that has been delayed has to happen in the final year.

Isolation is hard

Isolation is stressing for most, and so is not being able to attend any sporting or outdoors activities. Anxiousness and loneliness become normal and feeling guilty for not managing to be as efficient and productive as wanted.

However, talking to someone every day, joining webinars and getting involved helped to cope with the situation.

Good advice from the ESRs

It is a new situation for everybody. Try to keep positive and do things you really like to do. Adapt quickly and accept that things will be changed, and that you must change your plans. Do the best you can and not be too hard onyourself. Instead, remind yourself that it is normal to have days when you struggle to feel productive.

Physical activity, good nutrition and taking care of yourself, practice or find a hobby. Talk with your family and friends – and do not be afraid to ask for help

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