Students and postdocs: being in your position during a pandemic is HARD. What is one thing you'd like your mentor to know or do that would help? DM and I will anonymize your reply & post it. Especially interested in URM students/postdocs & what is unique to your experience.
Student 1: I’d like my mentor to know I have OCD and am terrified of getting my coworkers sick unknowingly and it is likely to affect my work when I return but I will do my best.
S2: I wish my mentor was more understanding of how hard it's been to have all my travel plans (including visiting my partner, who works in another country) be totally disrupted, and now on hold. 1/3
S2: I feel like the mentor has a lot of expectations about how productive I will be during this time given that fieldwork etc is over but I feel totally zapped by the uncertainty and have been close to burnout. 2/3
S2: What he could do to help - just be a bit more encouraging and positive about the fact that I'm doing any work at at all, rather than always focusing on how behind I am on some projects. 3/3
S3: There are no childcare centers open, yet the University wants me to come to lab everyday starting this week. What should I do first: start training child 1 to use the cryostat, or the child 2 to do cell culture?
S/PD4: I'm not a mini version of you, just because you can work under this situation doesn't mean I can and pushing me doesn't help. I also don't have a permanent job so while I struggle to work, I have more pressure to do so.
S/PD5: I am currently working on 4 papers, which are at different stages of completion, a grant, and applying for a potential position abroad. AND I AM WORKING SOLO. It has become so overwhelming that I reached a breaking point. 1/2
S/PD5: I would really like my PI to be more proactive towards releasing the manuscripts rather than delaying the process through endless meetings and suggesting more experiments. 2/2
S/PD6: Faculty are so busy with teaching and childcare that research is taking a back seat, but it's the only thing connecting postdocs to the university. With no plan to bring research back on campus and more new preps in the fall it seems like it will only get worse.
S/PD7: I'm a first-generation, URM student who has had >10 family members get infected with COVID19. >10 people. All have recovered but all were essentially front-line workers who have been given little or no PPE to work and been told to work. 1/9
S/PD7: It's a huge source of anxiety for me as a student trying very hard to finish my PhD when it feels like everyone in my family is dropping like flies. And yet the world continues on and we are being strongly encouraged to get back to work. 2/9
S/PD7: The very issue that my family members faced with a lack of PPE & not being safe at work is the very issue I'm now being confronted w/returning to lab. 3/9
S/PD7: Our local transit system is only operating allowing x people on a bus at a time with no explanation about how this will work. I have been hearing things about not enough hand sanitizer on campus, being only given 1-2 masks a week and other concerns. 4/9
S/PD7: Getting a PhD, especially if you're the 1st in your family to even graduate from high school, is incredibly challenging but what is most distressing to me is that it seems like institutions are hell-bent on getting things "back to normal"...5/9
S/PD7:...when some of us want to wait a little longer until logistics about transportation and PPE get worked out first. I watched first-hand several of my family members struggle on ventilators in the ICU for weeks on end and it nearly killed them. 6/9
S/PD7: The fact that I'm being asked to return to work with such uncertainty makes me feel like, as a URM student, I'm shouldering the burden not only for my research, but also for my family and it's a huge source of anxiety for me. 7/9
S/PD7: And I can't get anyone to understand this. When I voice my opinion, I was told I tend to overexaggerate things to the point I just shut down & stopped voicing concerns. 8/9
S/PD7: I am going through exactly what my family members have been going through but the only difference is that I'm trying to get a PhD so that I don't have to be a grocery worker or work in a meat packing plant. 9/9
S/PD8: As a student with a non apparent disability I often struggle to adequately explain my struggles. I’m usually met with “well it doesn’t seem like you’re struggling so that means you aren’t” when In reality I’m working 3-4x as long just to give that impression. 1/2
S/PD8: Specifically with the pandemic - I don’t work well in a single location. I need to move to new environments to stay productive. Now I’m stuck in my home, a place I’ve never worked well. Productivity is almost expected to increase and that just can’t happen. 2/2
S/PD9: I wish my childless PI knew that having having a child makes this so much more complicated for students. I was already stressed with my current load coming home with me, but I now I'm also balancing my kids' coursework while making sure he is emotionally supported, too.
S/PD10: Even though you feel safe, I do not. I have an autoimmune disorder you don't know about. You are sad about missing lab meetings/other events. I'm sad abt missing the birth of my 1st nephew/niece & not being able to go home to see my grandparent who's health is declining.
S/PD11: I'd love to hear: It's OK that you don't feel as productive-we're all coping w/this differently. Are you OK? Do you feel secure in your health insurance, your home workspace, etc.? Is there anything I can do to help? It's OK you are prioritizing your family & your health.
S/PD12: I wish my PI understood that we live in different worlds, with different rules. PI has a nice house, two monitors, good internet. I'm staying in an unsafe neighborhood, with bad internet, lacking tech, and with abusive family. 1/2
S/PD12: I don't want my PI to have to see the bruises or blood or have to hear the yelling. I don't want to have to explain it just so I don't look lazy when I'm late to a meeting because my internet failed again, or when I have to miss meetings because my family demand it. 2/2
S/PD13: I would tell my PI that I need more interaction. I’m blessed that I don’t have a PI that is verbally abusive, but communication of any kind is lacking. We haven’t had any meetings since switching to online instruction, & I feel like I need more guidance from while WFH.
S/PD14: Parents of URM S/PDs may be more at risk to losing their job, and this means that we will have to step in and help with job search and assist in filling out job applications since a lot of our partners have limited language proficiency. 1/2
S/PD14: This means helping siblings w/school work, & in those cases the workload, combined w/grad school work, becomes a game of what gets priority. Making sure your family can put food on the table & your siblings don’t fall behind in school will always come 1st. 2/2
S/PD15: I don't like how I feel expendable. My post doc contract was cancelled because of COVID-19 & my PhD supervisors expected me to carry on as normal despite being unemployed, but I did set boundaries. I'd tell my mentors that I'm a person not a tool.
S/PD16: I wish my mentor would understand that has a black student, I am constantly concerned about my health as we live in a small rural town and I do not feel that I will receive the same quality of care for COVID-19 as my white counterparts.
S/PD17: I am so grateful for how supportive my PI has been, but I still can't help but feel like such a disappointment. Between ADHD and being immunocompromised, I have been barely capable of working every day. It's probably incredibly frustrating to my PI,... 1/2
S/PD17: ... but it's unimaginably frustrating for me. I'm supposed to be out in the field, but instead, I'm staring at a blank word document trying to write. So all of the patience is incredibly appreciated, but it doesn't stop me from feeling like its going to run out. 2/2
S/PD18, finishing PhD: My PhD supervisor is busy with everyone else who's in panic mode, because they would've been in the lab now but can't, and I'm getting my writing done at home but I feel a bit neglected in terms of guidance & support in this important time. 1/4
S/PD18: My new boss (in another country) is nice but he sees the pandemic as a mild disruption. He already worked from home often and doesn't think it's that bad. 2/4
S/PD18: I'm autistic and moving to the new place will mean my relationship becomes long distance, and atm would also have 14-day quarantine if we visited each other, which makes visiting pretty much impossible. 3/4
S/PD18: I am very stressed about moving anyway but the idea of not being able to see my partner makes it much more stressful and I'm considering if I should just abandon this move because it's too much. I don't think he'd understand my position at all. 4/4
S/PD19: Just because you use work as a distraction doesn't mean I do. My main priorities right now do not include publishing X or finishing Y.
S/PD20: Not seeing each other face to face in the office does not mean he can call/text me at all hours. I've gotten calls/texts to talk science/planning late at night, while I'm making dinner, and on the weekends. When he calls, we wind up talking for >1 hour. 1/2
S/PD20: He's constantly reminding me that he's disappointed in other scientists that don't make themselves available, so I feel obligated to answer when he calls - and to get a strong letter down the road. 2/2
S/PD21: While the PI, in a fancy home with a partner and no kids, may be feeling super productive, I am having a much harder time. I have no partner, live in a small shared apartment far from any family, and I haven't felt human touch in MONTHS. 1/2
S/PD21: I don't bring this up, because "professionalism," and because I feel like my worth has been reduced to solely my productivity. 2/2
S/PD22: There is a lot of unspoken pressure. We were one of the 1st labs back, before the Uni officially reopened labs, because the PI told us that summer experiments & field work were still happening...1/5
S/PD22: ...implying that all the prep work for those is considered essential, so we had to come in before things were opened back to do all the prep work.

There is an immense amount of pressure to be productive under these conditions, and half of it is unspoken. 2/5
S/PD22: I’m worried I’m being held to standards from Pre-COVID-19. I’m afraid of asking for later deadlines or for a change of expectations of feasible lab & field work w/no labor & limited resource access. I don’t want to appear to be the “weak” member of the lab. 3/5
S/PD22: Everyone is working insane hours (in lab, in field, sometimes a bit at home) and I’m afraid that if I say “I can’t produce X and Y because of COVID-19 related disruptions” it won’t be considered valid and I won’t be respected. 4/5
S/PD22: I’m already seen as the lab’s weakest member. I can’t afford to lose any more footing. So that means working insanely hard to meet expectations that just aren’t feasible anymore. 5/5
S/PD23: I am distracted by the death and suffering happening in our world. I am not making the same academic strides or having major “aha” moments right now. Please acknowledge this and try to create a space where progress is rewarded— any at all.
S/PD24: My PI has it harder w/kids, teaching, & being an expert in X. Still, regular meetings & timely feedback must be prioritized. Months w/o these is not ok. Meetings where there isn't time to really discuss is not ok. I have tried to be very understanding but I have deadlines
S/PD25: I wish that my PI would simply acknowledge that WFH is not the same for S/PDs as it is for established faculty. Every grad student I know lives in a shared home with other students — we don’t have the luxury of having separate offices or nice big backyards etc. 1/3
S/PD25: My desk is literally 2 feet from my bed and it’s mentally exhausting to spend literally 24/7 in my bedroom. 2/3
S/PD25: I’m all for finding creative solutions & I know everyone is struggling with WFH, but it’s invalidating to not at least have the acknowledgement that grad students and post docs are the least likely to have a good space to work at home because of financial limitations. 3/3
S/PD26: As a URM student/postdoc I already felt alone and in need of a support network. Now I’m facing significant stress and uncertainty and feeling more isolated than ever.
S/PD27: I wish that they would understand that I cry all the time. And feeling like I have to constantly have perfection from them is only adding to the stress. A positive comment here & there would go a long way. Also I want them to tell me that it’s okay to feel how I feel. 1/2
S/PD27: I wish that they understood I’m alone and in a different area than my family. The last person I hugged was my partner at the airport pre-pandemic. We’ve since split up. 2/2
S/PD28: Many students graduating right now are hanging in the air. There is no job security in research & current situation has exposed that reality even more. 1/2
S/PD28: If you are a PI who offered a PD position preCOVID19 to a student graduating in summer, consider hiring them soon, or at least provide substantial answers. Some of us planned our life around it. 2/2
S/PD29: Some of us may need to take extended time off of our studies due to financial hardships at home, and to not view this as a lack of commitment to our studies.
S/PD30: I am working on my thesis. My PI ask me to present my latest data next week and tomorrow I have a interview. However, I just broke up with my partner and being by myself during this quarantine is really tough. 1/2
S/PD30: I can barely focus on anything during these last few days. My PI won’t take this as a justification. Worst of all, it is impossible to meet a friend that can help me during this mental breakdown moment. 2/2
S/PD31: This has been a super difficult time for me as due to autism I have a lot of trouble adapting to change well and so I need more time to do that. I get emails bordering on pestering asking about what work I’m doing and how the work is going. 1/2
S/PD31: I wouldn’t mind being asked how I am doing personally. If nothing else it would help explain the completely differing of levels of work I get done day to day. I’m not a robot & it feels (even if unintentional) uncaring if the only thing I’m ever asked about is work. 2/2
S/PD32 (URM student): it's incredibly difficult moving across the country, but moving to a PWI in a very segregated area made it even harder. I need trips home to make me feel like I can breathe again. 1/4
S/PD32: I would go home every few months just for a weekend and it's really hard not knowing the next time I can do that thanks to the pandemic. 2/4
S/PD32: It's also hard being the only student my PI can't personally relate to easily, and I totally feel like the outcast seeing how quickly the PI warmed up to the new students who share the PIs background. 3/4
S/PD32: Sometimes, I just need a break. working through a depressive/anxiety swing just ups my imposter syndrome and any feelings of worthlessness. It's better to just let me go home (see tweet 1) and see my old friends and family. 4/4
S/PD33: Just because I am not as efficient as you are in capitalizing off of "extra free time", doesn't mean that my priorities have changed. It's unproductive to question my abilities and motivations in the middle of this situation. 1/2
S/PD33: Also, occasionally asking "How are you doing?" wouldn't hurt.... I am a human first, and scientist second. 2/2
S/PD34: I'm still working on seeing myself as a "colleague." I don't challenge your ideas because, as a black woman, I am taught from a young age to NOT do that to authority. I am not the same as your previous white students, & you cannot treat me as such. 1/2
S/PD34: I wish they understood how much pressure I am under from all sides to get this PhD finished, but I cannot handle the stress associated with this situation. I am lucky to get several hours of work done a day, and cannot work 8-5 and stay sane. 2/2
S/PD35: Faculty members acknowledge that the job market looks bad and suggest that we simply do another postdoc or two and wait it out. 1/2
S/PD35: For those people who've been on the market several years already, at the expense of other priorities/goals (relationships, kids, home ownership, spouse's careers), the prospect of > 2 more years instability, relocations etc. is incredibly demoralizing. 2/2
S/PD36: I wish my PI understood that productivity right now doesn’t matter, that spending hours discussing the same powerpoint or figures is exhausting and not productive.
S/PD37: Disability accommodations are completely lacking. X Uni is totally incompetent in this area, but that’s every uni I have ever been to. My PI falsified a whole diversity supplement plan. The PI never implemented any accommodations and the Uni couldn't make them. 1/4
S/PD37: They sent me back to the lab without them. My current pi is brand new, and completely clueless. I have heard things like students with disabilities “take up time that could go to other (better and more able) students” from professors supposedly focused on equity. 2/4
S/PD37: I have Y (a type of disease), and I don’t have the same ability to even finish grad school that everyone else does. I have to drop out because academia just doesn’t make room for us. People say they want to help, but no one does anything. 3/4
S/PD37: Before I leave, since I haven’t made any scientific contributions, if I could do anything in academia, it’s to convince people that accommodations aren’t optional, and that space for us should be a priority. 4/4
S/PD38: My relationship with my advisor has not always been positive and at times was very contentious. However, I'd like to share a positive anecdote. 1/3
S/PD38: Recently things have been particularly difficult for me and my family. My advisor has released quite a bit of pressure on me to be productive and finish manuscripts that we are working on, despite this theoretically being my last year of my program. 2/3
SPD38: Recently my PI called just to check in to see how we were doing, and to let me know that PI was thinking about me and my family. It was really incredible how far that phone call went with me at this time. It made me feel like the PI saw me as a fellow human. 3/3
S/PD39: (CW: eating disorder)
I wish my PI knew that being home due to quarantine has triggered a relapse of my eating disorder, and that trying to keep up with that and the stress of my experiments not working is so, so exhausting.
S/PD40: I know how much my advisor is struggling with childcare right now, and I don't want to be a burden. But we haven't talked one-on-one in over a month and I'm struggling too. Even a short check-in email would mean so much.
S/PD41:While we may have all this time, the mental & emotional toll makes everything 3-4x longer to do. Especially for those facing depression & w/loved ones far away. There are some days where nothing works, where sleep & just playing games is enough. & sometimes that’s too much
S/PD42: I just want my faculty advisor to know that I'm sorry. Before the pandemic hit I tried to explain that food and housing insecurity were making it difficult to meet deadlines, and that criticism w/o clear guidelines on how to improve my work was making it...1/2
S/PD42:...more difficult to progress w/my thesis. I have already had to take time off from school. I don't want to quit, but after COVID wiped out what little resources I had, I don't think I can do this anymore. And I'm sorry for wasting my PIs time. 2/2
S/PD43: Having started my position shortly before we were ordered to work from home, I need someone to tell me what to do/work on so that I don't feel like I'm wasting my time and our grant's money. 1/2
S/PD43: I wasn't able to cultivate a relationship with my PI and now I'm afraid that when we are able to go back to lab I will be looked at as a failure. I need them to reach out to me and say this is a terrible way to start a position and it's okay... 2/2
S/PD44: My current PI has actually be great about the pandemic, honestly far better than I expected: low but reasonable expectations for productivity, plenty of availability, and very little pressure to race back in now that we're restarting. 1/3
S/PD44: The thing that scares the hell out of me are the institutional responses. After a rocky PhD, I felt like I was finally getting things back on track via a longish postdoc. However, I've already aged out of most postdoc fellowships and I'm running out of ESI status too. 2/3
S/PD44: Obviously, nobody's hiring for the near future. Can get extensions for the time we were actually closed, but it doesn't feel like anyone is going to do anything about the ensuing collapse of the job market. I just wanna know if I have a future! 3/3
S/PD45: I am an international trainee and URM. My family is in another country that I cannot return to right now even if I wanted to. I have no words to describe how hard & distracting that is.1/2
S/PD45: I wish my PI understood that research is NOT my priority right now & that not everyone is excited to go back to the lab. 2/2
S/PD46: PD: My mentor has small children, so I'm pretty much on my own in a dept where I already felt alone. Luckily I have a great support system from graduate school, but...1/2
S/PD46: I'm terrified of going back on the market when the only research I can get done is loose ends from my thesis. It's hard to keep working without even a check in. 2/2
S/PD47: I need my University to actually tell us how all our resources work now instead of just saying "email so and so for information on academic resources". Is it so hard to make an infographic? 1/2
S/PD47: I have 4 classes in the summer of my senior year, I'm still working, working on grad school stuff and panicked because preexisting conditions and covid. Is it impossible to just tell us what's going on and not send us on a scavenger hunt? 2/2
S/PD48: I'm so brand new to this. I'm in a dual masters and PhD program, so I'm still learning absolutely everything. I need a lot of support. I have a lot of questions about the tools I need to do my research. 1/3
S/PD48: I need to hear from my mentor more than 2x a month, & I need them to respond to emails w/questions within a day or so, not a week after I sent it. I know I've tried hard to develop an image as someone who is competent and able to find answers to questions on my own. 2/3
S/PD48: Normally that's true. But WFH means I'm not talking to any other professors or students. So there's nowhere else I can turn to find answers on my own right now. 3/3
S/PD49: Right after the shelter in place order came into effect in my area, I fell ill with coronavirus symptoms. My advisor insisted that productivity should not be reduced, complained that I was too slow to produce more analyses, & accused me of not prioritizing my research.1/4
S/PD49:I was chided for not having video on during Zoom mtgs, & pitted against lab mates to perform the same analyses in parallel as my PI wants to "maximize productivity". Attempts to establish boundaries btwn personal & research life is interpreted as uncooperative & rude. 2/4
S/PD49: Before the pandemic, I regularly spent 10-12 hours a day in the lab. It saved me no pain in the way that I've been treated over the last two months. 3/4
S/PD49: It is more clear than ever that I am only as useful to my advisor as the data I produce for him. Unlike my cohorts, who all hope to return to campus as soon as possible to continue their research, I dread returning to lab and having to see my advisor in person again. 4/4
S/PD50: I wish my supervisor realized how much he sabotaged our work. We have hit hard in data analysis, drafts of papers and grants for the first 3 weeks of lockdown, until he openly started complaining he is losing money, because he has to pay us. 1/2
S/PD50: We worked super hard putting in much more time than we would if we were in office, the fact he kept saying he is losing money meant he didn't value any of our hard work. It was very sad how fast he lost all the faith and trust of the team. 2/2
S/PD51: I was supposed to start an undergrad thesis this summer and I was really excited for it. After the start of the pandemic, my mentor emailed me out of the blue saying he would no longer be accepting thesis students and volunteers. 1/2
S/PD51: I was devastated because I am applying to med school this year & this is going to heavily impact my application. I understand that it’s a hard time for the mentors as well but I wish they’d realize how hard it is for students to get these positions in the first place. 2/2
S/PD52: My project is currently suspended with no pay. I moved internationally on a visa & this has affected my status. I have not been paid for months & am struggling. My PI has done the best they can for me via the Uni & I am very grateful but still feeling very stuck. 1/2
S/PD52: I was asked to keep working on stuff for the lab as it is in my best interest, but am feeling a bit lost in all this & am not sure how to talk to PI about it w/o creating issues or tension, or when my project will restart or if I will be compensated for this time. 2/2
S/PD53: I am mourning so much right now & not sure how long it will last or how much more I will loose. I am immunocompromised, my parents are elderly living in another country w/a lesser health system & I don't know if I'll see them again. 1/2
S/PD53: I am not sure how to look forward and prepare for a job market I don't even feel ready for even if circumstances were better. 2/2
S/PD54: I was doing fieldwork in another country & came home this spring without any guidance from my university. I emailed my advisor to let them know I made it back to the US. It's been 2.5 months since that email, and they have yet to check in with me about how I am doing. 1/3
S/PD54: In a department zoom call in April, the advisor made clear they (the advisor) didn't even know where I was (they thought the person was in the other country). I sent another email asking for advice on how to do remote research weeks ago. The advisor has yet to reply. 2/3
S/PD54: I have had several people in my family die during the pandemic. Two from the virus. Another, in another country, died of (X, not Covid-19) when the hospital refused to admit him. 3/3
S/PD55: I was already unsure whether I should transfer to PhD from MSc, & now w/all the burnout, uncertainty, & anxiety abt grad school I have no idea what to do.I don't see how I can finish a MSc thesis but I feel so burnt out that 4+ years as a grad student seems impossible.1/2
S/PD55: It's causing me a lot of anxiety & I can't talk to my supervisor about it as PI is (leadership position) & so busy, & I don't know how to tell PI I'm struggling. I don't even want to go back to the lab when it reopens but feel like I need to to make some progress. 2/2
S/PD56: Just because my health condition doesn't put me at extra risk with COVID doesn't mean it hasn't gotten worse because of limitations put in place. I've lost access to one of my best preventative measures.
S/PD57: I'm a PD w/my partner in another country for who knows how long, applying for all the grants I can to fund my salary & trying to keep a happy face on as my "mentor" says how we can be as, if not more, productive WFH. I wish they knew how demotivating & ridiculous that is.
S/PD58: I'm a transwoman in STEM (which you can probably guess isn't fun), and tbh the faculty appear to be doing their best to support me through this new, horrifying job landscape, but they keep forgetting I'm trans, so think things that worked for them won't work for me. 1/3
S/PD58: For example, the #1 suggestion is find a good research Uni in the middle of nowhere, get a TT line,& work my way to the top tier from there. The suggestions incl places where the next town over, trans people have literally been murdered just for being in public places.2/3
S/PD58: Faculty need to THINK before they speak: just because something was an option for them, doesn't mean it's going to be at all viable for URM. And "fine if you don't leave campus" is no way to live. 3/3
S/PD59: I would love for my PI to just email me back. I haven't proposed my thesis yet, and I have been emailing my PI thoughts about what I could do. Zero feedback over 2 months. I’m so glad that PI’s not expecting everybody to be working at 100% right now... 1/2
S/PD59: ...(at our zoom group meetings PI’s talked about how hard it is to do work at home), but I just need a little bit of feedback or else I am aimlessly lounging around. I really don’t know what I should be doing, or if my PI even likes my ideas for my project. 2/2
S/PD60: PD are losing a lot of time from projects which will affect future job prospects/fellowships etc and that when I'm trying to be proactive by writing papers/grants/fellowships/coming up with ideas it's not great to ignore emails from me for weeks/months.
S/PD61: Before COVID 19 I had depression and more. I took some time off from my grad program to get a handle on it, and found coping mechanisms that helped me finally feel better about myself, my work, and my progress. 1/4
S/PD61: They involved seeing people more, doing activities out in the world like Y classes etc because the writing stage of graduate school is so isolating. By trying to "work harder" I had isolated myself from the things that I needed in an effort to "hurry up and get done."2/4
S/PD61: The pandemic has taken all of those coping mechanisms away. I feel like I am back to square one on my mental health for the umpteenth time, and the faculty in my program haven't been able to give any guidance. I feel defeated. 3/4
S/PD61: I don't even know what I wish my PI could do. Give concrete advice of actions, instead of just hand waving that I can do it and things will be fine? I need actual recommendations on how to tackle all of this alone, rather than platitudes. 4/4
S/PD62: I am looking for contracts/jobs. I am BLOWN away by the continued prevalence of PIs/advisors who will not talk about jobs outside academia. Meaning, they don't have to know about those jobs, but their mentees are quite clear they will be "demoted" or in the doghouse...1/2
S/PD62: ... if they ever breach the topic of beyond-academia. At the same time that the writing's on the wall-few/no academic jobs! Worse than usual! That strikes me as a) hard; b) so outdated for current grads & PDs. 2/2
S/PD63: I’m terrified that my mentors won’t be understanding or emphatic with my disability. This pandemic has made it so much worse for people like me.
S/PD64: I think most US PIs are unaware of immigration concerns even when they hire immigrants. At least in this time, I wish PIs made an effort to relate to their students' anxiety over having family in a country w/much worse health care & not being able to do anything about it.
S/PD65: WFH, loss of routine, & a shifted schedule have kicked my ADHD into overdrive. I'm trying to make sure I'm still working 8 hours a day, but sometimes that means 8 hours of the project that caught my focus even if its not your top priority.
S/PD66: I am applying to PhD programs this year. I had a project in progress but it had to be shut down when the pandemic hit. I might not publish by the time applications start. I'm worried that I won't get into a preferred PhD program w/no undergrad publications. 1/2
S/PD66: I am sorry to all the profs & people who had high expectations for me, & who I've let down bc I fell into a depression after the pandemic hit. I have autism & it's really hard to cope with routine changes, & easy for depression to hit after my routines go away. 2/2
S/PD67: My chronic illness has flared so badly since lockdown (largely due to restrictions on routine/non-emergent care + limitations on meds that are safe to take during a pandemic) that I’m having a hard time doing much of anything. 1/2
S/PD67: Something that would make a *huge* difference would be getting a funding+time extension on my PD fellowship. I’m seeing my PD just disappear without making the progress I need to be making during this time. Help from my Uni +PI in advocating for this would be huge. 2/2
S/PD68: I am post-doc and during the pandemic, I just wish that my mentor would send me an e-mail (as he does... a lot) just to ask me how I am doing ?? That would make my days at home easier.
S/PD69: I need to graduate by Aug (for new position w/hard start date). I've been in the lab 5 years. My PI keeps laughing when going over what needs to be done, won't let me schedule a committee meeting to discuss moving towards that step, and keeps saying it's not possible. 1/4
S/PD69: I need PI to stop saying I can't do it & start asking how PI can help & what I need. PI said he's not worried about my scientific capability & that I've gotten what I need out of the PhD, but keeps wanting more data. 2/4
S/PD69: PI is more worried about how stuff will come together into manuscripts than how it fits into my dissertation. PI wants me to work part time on the dissertation when I'm in (new position) in the fall & defend in fall instead. 3/4
S/PD69: This despite me explaining that I won't have an income come August, want to get a part time job to pay for things & work on new skills, will have 30 hours a week of (special training) (mostly online now), and want to succeed in those for my ultimate career goals. 4/4
S/PD70: I hope my child free mentor realizes how difficult it is to WFH with two toddlers. 1/2
S/PD70: Casually telling a 5th year PD about how she needs a big paper to start applying for TT positions w/zero discussion on how she should achieve those & what aspects of the project she will work on in the future despite humbly being asked twice is definitely not helping. 2/2
S/PD71: You continually downplaying the pandemic is infuriating and making us lose all respect for you as a person. If you keep pressuring people to put their lives at risk just because you want things to be normal again, we will leave.
S/PD72: I am anxious about a return to lab starting soon & very upset that research staff & students’ concerns were not taken into account in these plans. We weren’t asked what hurdles might be in our way for an return, such as the fact that I take public transport to the lab.1/2
S/PD72: I’m an URM student in a (research area with a lot of contact with others). I’ve had a number of family deaths in recent weeks and all my PI asked was whether I’d be able to continue working. 2/2
S/PD73: My partner lost their job due to the pandemic. I, a PhD candidate, am now providing all income & insurance. My lease ends in July & I have to move across the country to start a PD as soon as I defend in August to have the shortest possible gap in insurance and income.1/2
S/PD73: But the cost of living where I'm going is so high that I don't think we can afford the move or an apartment. I feel like I can't breathe every day, much less write. And the clock is ticking. 2/2
S/PD74: I want my advisor to know I’m really not doing well. Ask me because I’m afraid to say anything.
S/PD75: I’m the only one w/kids in my lab. My PI has asked how I’m managing homeschooling/no daycare/trying to WFH all of 1 time. It’s so isolating to be the only 1 not fully plugged into lab bc I have kids. It’s been radio silence fm my Uni & PI regarding this childcare dilemma.
S/PD76: Wish my PI cared or acknowledged how hard it is to be living alone & self-isolating in my apt while trying to finish analyses & write my dissertation like it was business as usual. Never was checked in on in a personal way in the months of being nearly completely alone.
S/PD77: (UG) Expecting all of us to act more or less like normal w/o tangible proof of struggle (Immediate death/illness) is unrealistic & terrifying. The anxiety about what is or will happen is paralyzing, & increased by profs expecting normal levels of work & effort.
S/PD78: (Student sent a message from their PI that said nothing is more important than taking care of yourself, family, & friends right now) This is my pi. I am incredibly grateful. Our lab has continued to be productive but he has been nothing but supportive.
S/PD79: What I'd like my PI to know: 1) Just surviving day to day is hard right now. 2) Be kinder. 3) Maybe in the middle of the pandemic isn't a time to say, "Well, you've had two years, out you go now."
S/PD80: I wish my mentor was a little more supportive right now. I've always known they were a bit hands-off but they still gave me the support I needed. I feel like I've been ignored this whole time since I've had only a handful of communications with them. 1/2
S/PD80: None of those have even been to check on how I'm doing or if I need support. I know things are crazy right now but I'm preparing for my qualifying exams & as a 1st gen student I have no idea what the heck I'm doing. That feeling of being ignored hasn't really helped. 2/2
S/PD81: A lot of us are suddenly tasked w/teaching our parents new technologies to help them keep their jobs or find new jobs. For those of us in long distance relationships, we did this to pursue grad school, but did not sign up to be completely stranded from our partners.1/3
S/PD81: Do we remain long distance & not see each other until flying is safe again, or do we be together & thus absent from our programs until we can visit reliably? 2/3
S/PD81: These are small potato problems for sure, and I know have a huge amount of privilege that these are my stressors right now, but they do take a ton of time and emotional energy to navigate. 3/3
S/PD82: We cannot help that the library isn’t open and that you don’t respond to emails. I got an A- on a class in which I couldn’t reach my prof for 5 weeks (with questions about the big project for the class). 1/2
S/PD82: When I finally did the professor kept telling me to get books from our closed library. Since the prof is my advisor I won’t push it, but I feel like the prof had expectations that could not be met with a state wide stay at home order. 2/2
S/PD83: (to S/PD21): I totally feel your pain. I am the only PD in the group who is in the same situation as you. I feel like no one understands, and so much is expected from me.
S/PD84: I don’t think a lot of PIs understand imposter syndrome & the many shapes & sizes it comes in. My PI (older generation) didn’t even know what it was, until we were having a casual discussion. I think it would be helpful for more advisors to be aware of how ImS affects GS!
S/PD85: Understand that I’m not working harder during quarantine out of some problematic workaholism. It’s bc I’m deeply fulfilled by my work & I'm not interested in spending a whole day doing mindless activities or reading just in the name of “taking a break”. 1/3
S/PD85: My disciplined approach fulfills me, while having to constantly defend it makes me self conscious. 2/3
S/PD85: I also hope PI understands that after quarantine, I’m going to return back to my home country & spend 1-2 weeks of uninterrupted leisure w/my friends & family that I haven’t seen in 6 months—this being the largest consecutive stretch away from them and counting. 3/3
S/PD86: The biggest issue I see is lack of feedback, often both positive and negative. Yes, I like hearing when I do well. I also need to hear when I’m not. Don’t be scared to tell me until it’s too late, and keep the feedback constructive. (For your grad school issues). 1/2
S/PD86: I think it’s incredibly hard for students when you a) can’t run experiments and b) don’t get face to face time with your advisor and group. Feedback helps us grow, and it’s much harder to get right now. 2/2
S/PD87: At the beginning of the COVID crisis I unexpectedly lost a relative. They died of a condition that I was in the middle of writing a paper on (It was completely by chance). They were one of my best friends & I was devastated that I couldn't be there for them in the end.1/4
S/PD87: I traveled across the country to be with my family amid fears of spreading the virus. My productivity tanked but the University was only willing to give me a week off. My family was never able to grieve or find closure and working on my paper made me physically ill. 2/4
S/PD87: I fell behind to the point where I was reported for not meeting standards. My PI informed me that I needed to work on meeting deadlines or I could be asked to leave the program. Its the lowest I've been in grad school. I just wish my PI knew how much my heart hurts. 3/4
S/PD87: I'm trying my best but everything at home is falling apart. I lost my friend, their family business, & a house that was my 2nd home. PI has a no mixing of personal & professional policy. I wish they knew how important it is to know what's going on behind the scenes. 4/4
S/PD88: I really would like to get work done right now and I’m trying best but it’s just not possible between juggling my kid, and my spouses job (who makes way more money). 1/3
S/PD88: There really isn’t much time left for me to do work & on top of that, as URM, to have deal with police brutality etc is really just draining. Throw in the job market and the time it takes for application and I’m just spent. There’s nothing left. 2/3
S/PD88: I know there’s not much they can do and they have deadlines and what not too but I’m feeling kinda left out of the work being done because childcare is closed and even if it was open I’m concerned about sending my kid back. Just stressed all around. 3/3
S/PD89: Being an international student is HARD; I have no clue when I’ll be allowed to go home, or when my family can come and see me. Add being in a LDR, and every day is a struggle. The fact that I’m doing better than I was 2 months ago does not mean that I’m OK.
S/PD90: I’d like my mentor to know that roommate tensions have been extremely high during COVID and this has impacted my productivity.
S/PD91: As a PD w/a toddler, no childcare, & no job lined up for the fall, I wish my PI understood that I need to shift towards professional development rather than administering his programs so that I have a chance of supporting my family financially once my contract is up.
S/PD92: I would like my PI to know that being a first gen, URM, international MSc student is super stressful right now and me being concerned about funding/trying to find more sources of money isn't me being ungrateful. I am super stressed not only about my finances...1/2
S/PD92:...until the end of my MSc, but also the real difficulty I may face trying to find a job in my new country when I graduate. Our dept really isn't considering how little support international grads are eligible for & I feel like no one is in my corner to support me. 2/2
S/PD93: I’m in the last possible semester of my program. I want an extension not because I don’t think I could finish, but because I’m afraid to enter this job market and idk if previous students are eligible for unemployment. Please let me stay.
S/PD94: I wish my PI would take this time to review manuscript drafts so that I can publish, graduate on time, and get a postdoc position in a reputed lab😃
S/PD95: As glad as I'll be to see my co-workers again, I don't trust them to sanitize all the things.
S/PD96: I’d like my mentor to know that studying from home is making depression impossible to run from and I promise I love what I do; I’m just having an impossible time doing it right now.
S/PD97: I wish my PI would be more realistic of productivity expectations rn. A few weeks before the pandemic, I began dealing with a health issue that continues today without a clear diagnosis. Getting healthcare has been slow and anxiety provoking.1/5
S/PD97: Add to this the stress of cancelling a major life event and receiving job and grant rejections, with an unclear job market in the fall and I'm even more stressed. For good measure throw in having to all of the sudden be with my partner 24/7 with little to no privacy...2/5
S/PD97:...while trying to work in a small apartment without a dedicated desk (a coffee table is not the same) with loud neighbors next door & unreliable's hard, no incredibly hard to be clearly focused for longer than 3-4 hours a day rn. 3/5
S/PD97: What makes it even worse is the expectation or implied suggestion that since we are all wfh rn that work or meetings be conducted on weekends. 4/5
S/PD97: To reiterate, I wish my current PI took a moment to consider that there is so much life outside of lab work and publications that has all at once been violently uprooted and I am just trying my best. 5/5
S/PD98: I would like my mentors to know that as a final year phd, I have no source of income. My stipend ended in my 3rd year. I've been living hand to mouth from temporary part time contracts I was able to get as a TA. 1/2
S/PD98: As an int'l student we are limited in the income we can generate through work due to visa regulations. Now with covid 19 our contracts won't be renewed. This is giving me a lot of anxiety. I'm so distracted by my financial situation that I can barely concentrate. 2/2
S/PD99: I feel this one (S1). Not sure if I'm more scared of being an asymptomatic carrier and giving it to someone else, or someone else giving it to me [I'm high-risk of it going *very* wrong]. 1/3
S/PD99: I'm trying so, so hard. But there's days where my brain feels like I've taken it out of my skull, put it down somewhere in my flat & lost it. I know in our meetings, it looks like I'm coping, I look to be clean, my bed (in video) is made, but out-of-shot, it's chaos. 2/3
S/PD99: It's bad enough when I cry in her office, but to cry over Zoom - that feels like a whole other level of pathetic? As a queer, non-binary person in STEM with chronic MH issues, I feel like I can't be seen to cry or not cope, otherwise I look like a liability. 3/3
S/PD100: My mentor is in general very supportive. But one thing I struggle to express to my mentor is my future worries with another child on the way, more time off, and wanting to balance being a parent with not falling behind in my postdoc (fixed term). 1/2
S/PD100: Having children completely changed my perspective on life and it's hard to explain that to my mentor. 2/2
S/PD101: Please know that I live in abusive home & deadlines are difficult for to adhere during this pandemic but I'm trying my best. Also, my depression returned & I am struggling w/anxiety. When I ask for extension it is bc I am struggling & I can't tell you bc I am ashamed.
S/PD102: As a postdoc who works exclusively on 1-year or lower duration fixed term contracts, I am terrified for myself and colleagues when it seems a very large fraction of us will soon be unemployed with virtually no new grants being approved
S/PD103: I am an immigrant juggling 3 bachelor students, 2 different projects, a long-distance marriage and a long-distance PhD mentor, in addition to an on-site mentor. 2/2
S/PD103: I wish my mentors would put in some effort in helping me w/my post-PhD plans than only focusing on using my efforts to keep their careers safe & on track. The future is also scary for us highly ambitious PhDs yearning to stay in Academia in these difficult times. 2/2
S/PD104: Consider students w/special needs more. I can't take exams like "normal" students & I feel like this is being ignored during planning. The help I need w/my exams would be considered cheating under the current circumstances. I'm afraid to speak up bc I would be a bother.
S/PD105: I wish they would know the impact that covid has had on my finances. I am worried that I will run over the time that I have for my stipend. That might not seem important to some, but coming from a disadvantaged family means I have no options to keep myself going.1/2
S/PD105: Just because they suggest delaying the fieldwork until lockdown is reduced doesn’t mean there isn’t a longer term impact on me and my potential career in academia. 2/2
S/PD106: One parent has dementia, another parent is on chemo, my sibling is a nurse and my grandparent is in late 80s. My supervisors could just take their foot off the gas a little bit yknow?
S/PD107: I wish they knew how all-consuming it is to be inundated with loss (family’s jobs, covid patients, innocent Black ppl), & to live alone at this socially distant time. I wish he didn't implicitly expect us to abandon our humanity for the sake of productivity or “normalcy”
S/PD108: My PI is supportive but my Uni is not. I was supposed to be in main data collection phase, now can’t access means to do that safely. Uni/Dept won’t say how they’ll help us return safely or how students are supposed to get by-no program extension, no funding extension.1/7
S/PD108: Keep getting told to “just do it from home”. My specimens & necessary $$$$ lab equipment aren’t available at home, so I can’t. When I voiced that concern I was told “then you’ll have to get back in the lab to do it then”. 2/7
S/PD108: Facilities aren’t open yet, & when they do open it will mean getting on a crowded subway & sharing cramped office space. I’m high risk & disabled. Uni folks didn’t see why that would make me not want to jump back into the commute/work routine. 3/7
S/PD108: I had to spell out that it could kill me. They ghosted me after that. No solutions, no help proposed at all. This Uni also had to be shamed into extending internal deadlines for UG&grad students on a # of things (awards, grants, scholarships, exams) when COVID hit. 4/7
S/PD108: They were late to acknowledge that anyone might be impacted at all & treated it like we were all just popping off for holiday or a work from home by choice relaxing week or two. Months in & this attitude hasn’t changed much. 5/7
S/PD108: I just wish our department head or a grad student rep, anyone really, could muster then empathy and imagination to try to see what we’re going through. As a disabled researcher I feel completely abandoned and de-valued right now. 6/7
S/PD108: As an international grad I also feel overlooked, we are countries apart from family during a global crisis. We can’t go home & we can’t access resources available to domestic grads. 7/7
S/PD109: I'm not a S/PD anymore, but, when things were tough at home I really appreciated my advisor's proactivity in easing economical burden on things (computer, books, etc.). It also was not a "you're poor so here's money" but "are you aware that I have $$ for this & that"?1/4
S/PD109: Advisor just being willing to listen to my experiences and trying to understand the importance of my culture/family/etc helped too (this is an international student). 2/4
S/PD109: Finally, understanding that I may need a bit more guidance than standard white (I'm white passing but hopefully what I say makes sense) high income students who've grown up with less "respect for your superiors" kind of mentality. 3/4
S/PD109: At the start of my PhD I was asking permission for everything I tried, & this advisor was great at both guiding me & letting me grow. Meanwhile another advisors answer to my ?s was "if you're interested do it" which was as helpful as a truck wheel for my motorbike. 4/4
S/PD110: We don’t all have office space. We live in shared houses, there’s noise, people who are furloughed wandering about the place wanted to know about walks and what’s for dinner etc. It’s hard and my back is screwed.
S/PD111: Don’t think I am less passionate about academia because I have begun to question my choice to do a PhD. 1/2
S/PD111: The current climate has highlighted many issues I already had to try hard to overlook. It’s easy to look down from your tenured ivory tower & think we have it easy because we’re ‘just students. 2/2
S/PD112: Unsure if true for other URMs, especially first-gen/poor folks, but I’m never going to “voluntarily” take time off because work is still for some reason so intimately linked to survival, not luxury. 1/2
S/PD112: So when offering us the option of coming in or taking a break, I’m *always* going to choose work, even if I’m desperate for a break. Recognizing this and forcing us to take time off would relieve that internal pressure to work until we’re dead. 2/2
S/PD113: A concrete plan to support trainees whose research, graduation, & job searches have been delayed by this. Money doesn’t grow on trees, but keeping current employees should be a priority, especially in NYC where leaving the Uni often requires moving out of your apartment.
S/PD114: My PI keeps saying I had a "mild case," but my complications from Covid-19 post-infection are not trivial. I developed dysautonomia (including POTS & gastroparesis) & lost 9lbs. The vertigo also exacerbated an undiagnosed vesibular disorder & I may now need neurosurgery.
S/PD115: I have ADHD and I wish my advisor understood that so many of my strategies for dealing with it so I can get work done seem to have flown right out the door.
S/PD116: Since the pandemic started, 4 close family members have had covid, one grandparent possibly had a stroke, another grandparent developed heart issues, my mom threw out her back, and my parents' dog got sick. went home to be with my family in case the worst happened...1/2
S/PD116:...but now that I'm home, I'm stuck in the closet again, something I promised myself I'd never do. I don't know how to tell my mentor that the emotional toll of dealing with these things have had a lasting impact on my productivity even after some of them have passed. 2/2
S/PD117: I'm a postdoc and my pi never checks in with me or asks how I'm doing. I told them I was struggling and they ignored it. Later they made assumptions about why I'm struggling, yelled at me for it, and refused to accept that their view of things doesn't match reality.
S/PD118: I am disabled, nonbinary/queer, and on the job market this year. I have no assurance that I have a job past this year, and might hide these things to improve my chances at a job at the detriment to my mental health. I wish my mentors supported me being my whole self.
S/PD119: I would like my PI to know that I shouldn't have to work 18 hour days just because I'm the only one in the lab who's single and has no children.
S/PD120: I feel you don’t care about my personal safety, just about your data. I’m the one who has to touch and come in close contact with people, not you. Lastly, I’m not a carbon copy of you. I’m me and that’s pretty damn great.
S/PD121: It's disappointing how my PI has been *working* on my manuscript for close to 11 months now. I haven’t received a single comment to-date. I hope my PI understands how crucial it is for a post-doc to get publications.
S/PD122: I'd like my mentors to know that, while I manage at the moment, I'm just not as productive as when I have them & my usual work environment. Additionally, my relationship to my mother is very strained, & because she dislikes you, I have to hide that I'm calling you. 1/3
S/PD122: I can't focus particularly well because of this, and I just zone out in video meetings sometimes, because hiding them is extremely difficult. 2/3
S/PD122: While I totally understand that childcare is difficult atm, your screaming toddlers in the background don't make it easy to focus on what you are saying either (or to hide our conversation). Yet, calling you is one of the few things that preserves my sanity right now.3/3
S/PD123: I wish my mentor would not try to make every lab member feel like we are in a productivity war. I feel like if I have an unproductive week I’m made out to be a slacker, when really I’m trying my best.
S/PD124: My PI has been uncharacteristically kind and supportive now that our interactions are through a video and not privately in-person. I feel very guilty about not being able to accept that kindness and be vulnerable about my research anxiety and stress, because...1/3
S/PD124:...our previous daily interactions were so negative and detrimental to my mental health. As a relatively new trainee who has earned the privilege of being a 1st author & coauthor on multiple drafted manuscripts, I don't feel that I have a voice to stand up for myself. 2/3
S/PD124: That's only been further exacerbated knowing I can't stand up for myself in-person if a draft is submitted without me. 3/3
S/PD125: I wish my PI would understand that, while living alone, this isn't like adjusting to a new normal. Every week I spend like this I feel worse. If I'm lucky, I get to see one person a week. I feel like I'm decaying. 1/3
S/PD125: I'm trying my best because I think the project I'm working on is really important and I know you have limited funds, but I'm probably not going to get better until we're back at work and I can see people again. 2/3
S/PD125: I know you're trying to improve the situation for me, and I appreciate that, but you can't fix this. I just need patience, and maybe more menial tasks right now. 3/3
S/PD126: I am a PD in (another country). I find it particularly difficult that I have to prove what I am worth in the next two years to be able to get a permanent position and until that time nobody bothers to guide me or keep track of all the projects that I am asked to join.1/2
S/PD126: Currently I am working on six different research projects and am teaching several courses... during corona... feels alone...2/2
S/PD127: It would be great if my postdoc advisor would start returning my emails and start ordering things in a timely matter. I can't walk into his office and do the mini sit in that I normally do since he is working from home.
S/PD128: My mentors are complicated-on 1 hand, they are overtly supportive (understanding I have delays, suggesting opportunities). On the other hand, to fulfill their "minimum requests," I'm working over 80 hours/week, stopped sleeping more than 3 hours/night. 1/2
S/PD128: The work requests don't stop. I'm told I won't be able to get a job in this environment without achieving this "minimum." Because of the overt checkins with only the expectation of "doing fine" as a reply, it becomes my fault that I can't keep up. 2/2
S/PD129: I wish my PI(s) knew that asking directly for even reasonable accommodation in this time makes me feel ungrateful and worry that I seem like I can't hack it.
S/PD130: When goals or arbitrary deadlines are not met, my PI questions my productivity and I get lectured about my delays. I’m surprised that their first reaction isn’t checking in that I’m doing okay and I have support. 1/2
S/PD130: Why not check in on students health first, esp during a pandemic rather than lecture when things are delayed? That makes me feel worse about myself even more than I do now and it’s emotionally taxing. 2/2
S/PD131: I think that this is an example of how the pandemic doesn't create new problems, but just exacerbate existing flaws: PIs and supervisors in the US are pretty much never trained in mentorship...1/2
S/PD131: ...and at R1 universities, there doesn't seem to be much institutional incentive to develop that skillset. Under good conditions, the negative impact of that on researcher development is usually easier to miss or ignore in favor of research productivity. 2/2
S/PD132: I wish my supervisor understood that leaving that burden of initiating conversation solely on the students is not okay. That we see how other supervisors effectively communicate with their students. 1/2
S/PD132: How other advisors set up weekly/near weekly meetings during the pandemic. I wish that my advisor would do this, and knew that other students have said that their students cry the most often. This is all especially true now that we are in the midst of a pandemic.2/2
S/PD133: A successful postdoc is measured by rapid significant research progress. What systemic adjustments will academics make to compensate for the fact that that is currently impossible for an entire generation of postdocs?
S/PD134: I'm a postdoc, and I'd love for my adviser to try to understand how I approach work, and appreciate when I do it well, rather than only show frustration with me when I don't do what the PI had in their head on the timescale they never communicated with me they wanted!
S/PD135: I struggled with my mental health all throughout graduate school. After starting my PD, I finally found a good therapist in my new city. The hardest part about working through the pandemic is not being able to physically go see my therapist. 1/3
S/PD135: I'm lucky to be able to do online sessions. However, doing therapy in the same room I work in all day every week makes it exceedingly difficult to focus. I also have to ask my partner to leave the house to feel the same sense of privacy. 2/3
S/PD135: I wish it was encouraged to use sick time for mental health days instead of grinding away at a computer every day. 3/3
S/PD136: I'm starting grad school in the fall. My concern right now is the not knowing if there will be in person classes in the fall & moving across country to start grad school. My current employment has been affected due to the pandemic & I'm not sure if I can afford to move.
S/PD137: To my advisor: working from home in a large home w/your family & your own office is very different from working in a shared apartment with a laptop on your lap, sharing w/someone you don't know well & your loved ones hundreds of miles away where you can't help them.1/2
S/PD137: And while I'm trying to work, I'm also trying to manage and keep hidden the reappearance of an eating disorder I thought I had beaten several years ago. 2/2
S/PD138: I wish my mentor knew: In the grand scheme of things, it's hard to feel like my science matters very much right now. It feels pointless.
S/PD139: Not my mentor directly, but at the department level, there’s still a lot of pressure in clinical psych programs to provide excellent mental health services while a large number of students are themselves suffering from distress (from MANY directions).1/2
S/PD139: Availability of mental health resources and understanding from faculty at the department level would help greatly. It can be difficult to help others through their distress when students are experiencing their own. 2/2
S/PD140: I wish my adviser could have empathy for me. To realize that my sister is pregnant bringing a life into this world, that I could be the next george floyd, philando castile, i wish i didnt have to earn her empathy. 1/4
S/PD140: I wish she would try to understand rather than rushing to condemn me. I wish she would stop acting like everything is normal and expecting me to just get on w/my life. I wish I didn't have to wear the mask, but given that I am black & you are a white woman, i need to.2/4
S/PD140: For my safety and the safety of my community. I wish i couldnt taste the resentment from our interactions. Black people are dying and Im getting a PhD in (STEM). what good will my PhD do me, when I could die in the street, or going into lab to run your gels? 3/4
S/PD140: You talk a good game about changing expectations yet you dont change your expectations. I want action and empathy, not empty words and documents. 4/4
S/PD141: I wish my PI knew that increasing productivity is an unrealistic expectation. I don’t even know when I will be able to finish the project I have started and yet I got another one to take on.
S/PD142: I wish my PI knew how terrifying this is for people with chronic health conditions. I almost dropped out of my program because I was so sick from an incurable disease, & just as I am getting better this new disease could kill me or prevent me from finishing my degree.1/2
S/PD142: You didn't let me take a medical leave of absence then, will you still support me now? 2/2
S/PD143: My PI has privilege when speaking to students. To hear you say “a (up to 10%) pay cut is devastating” is privilege. I am unemployed, a 100% pay cut is devastating. If a $$$ piece of equipment (mind you: duplicates are in the lab) breaks...1/3
S/PD143: “it’s devastating that you have to come out of pocket to replace it”. When you ask “how am i doing” you mean my mental health & not progress on my project, because being productive right now is a privilege. 2/3
S/PD143: Is it too much to ask that you practice some imagination & work with 10% less? Because your students have been this entire time, even before the pandemic. 3/3
S/PD144: I would like to be asked if I would like a vacation. They took one for burnout and never asked any of the lab if we felt the same. I have quietly endured a cancer scare, family care taking among other things but it’s like things keep getting piled on. Fine. 1/2
S/PD144: But ask us if we need a break and if we can really sign up for more before signing us up! 2/2
S/PD145: I feel incredibly stressed about my career path as a trans woman of color, and about how I am trying to balance a number of medical/personal setbacks with expectations of productivity. 1/3
S/PD145: I do not have the cognitive load to be as productive right now as white cis folks in my field, but feel that as a late stage graduate student I am in a critical time period. I feel like I am internalizing many of the systemic disadvantages as a personal failing... 2/3
S/PD145:...and it is making me feel like I should abandon my dreams of being an academic researcher. I often feel like a liability to my PI because of the path I have had to go through, and this pandemic has greatly amplified those feelings. 3/3
S/PD146: I wish they knew that me returning to an abusive home has put an immeasurable burden on me that I would not have had if I were still at the university.
S/PD147: In addition to dealing with chronic health problems myself, my partner's mental and physical health have deteriorated due to pandemic-specific triggers to the point where they've had to move in with me. 1/2
S/PD147: I'm taking care of us both and it's incredibly draining, but their medical problems aren't mine to disclose and I don't trust my PI to be sympathetic even if I did. 2/2
S/PD148: I wish that my advisor and colleagues understood that being a student-parent during the pandemic is challenging. I have two kids and the only time that I can have for work is when they are taking a nap and after 9-10pm.
S/PD149: I feel underappreciated, like I'm not an asset. I don't feel truly seen; I feel like a token. I feel like people in the dept. would rather my voice be silenced. I feel like my advisor and other profs are hypercritical of me...1/3
S/ nothing I do is ever acceptable, which makes me feel like I'M not acceptable. Like I don't belong & never will. All of this has caused me to lose sight of myself. 2/3
S/PD149: I'm so tired of microaggressions that at times, I just want to leave the program, even though I know I'm worthy and capable. 3/3
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