I thought that my PhD was tough then coronavirus arrived!

This is a personal post based on my personal views and experience. Please keep your judgement for yourself. Thanks

Since my last update at the end of February, my world and the entire world turned upside down. We are living a global pandemic that no one has ever seen before. Everyone is having their own struggle, there’s shortage of food at grocery stores, people are dying, others have been living in self-isolation for weeks, many are losing jobs.

This isn’t only a medical emergency, as we progress and we have more and more evidence of the dramatic effect of the new coronavirus, it is clear that a social and economical crisis will follow soon! Sorry for being pessimistic but numbers don’t look good at all! If you are struggling with your mental health please visit my latest blog article on keeping your sanity during a global pandemic.

In the chaos, desperation and anxiety of these days, I started my new job as a chemist in pharma. The more I think about it the more I realise that finding a job between Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic was a sort of miracle. The job market stopped because of the uncertainty of Brexit and has slowed down in the past few weeks due to the pandemic. In between those dramatic situations, I got my first employment. I love it! I get to spend my days in the lab doing chemistry and focusing on science only. Apart from meetings and updating my lab book, I spend 90% of my time doing science and it’s great! To learn how I got my dream job, please check here.

What does it mean focusing on the science only?

The atmosphere and environment are great. I don’t have to worry about troubleshooting with machine failures, hostile competitions between labmates, I have a team of people that support my research and the work I do in the lab. No one makes me feel an idiot if I make mistakes and when I do make one, they give me instructions on how to avoid repeating them. There is no queue for analysis and machines and every single experiment I do in the lab has a purpose. I turn up to work every day and I am happy to be there and in the lab because I know that my contribution is valued and I am a key member of the team and I have been in the lab for barely 2 weeks!!!!

I am happy to go to work and be in the lab and this has literally never happened during  my entire PhD!

Outside the work in the lab, I finally have the feeling that I can express myself freely and I can be myself 120%. I make jokes, I say stupid stuff and I am entitled to have 1 h of lunch break, meaning that I don’t have to eat at my desk doing work but I can go outside and play in the sunshine, and there’s plenty in Kent!

Outside my job, loads of things changed in my life. I used to live in Nottingham three weeks ago and I live in a beautiful city on the border with France now. My house is in front of the beach, I wake up every morning and I see the sun rising from the sea. After 6 months of unemployment, I got my first paycheck yesterday and I finally put money in my saving account rather than withdrawing from it.91350012_750135635390395_3362983264196231168_n

I feel like I found my little corner of Italy here. Since I live in a small city, there is no big chain like Starbucks and everything is locally produced. People care about the environment and when I go shopping I don’t feel bad because nothing is wrapped in plastic and I know that I support local businesses with my money.  It’s great and I love it. People are nice, they talk to me on the street, my neightbors welcomed me with a cup of tea when I arrived in the flat. It’s literally like being in Italy again.

We all had to readjust to a new normality! It’s okay if you struggle with that!

Of course, the dream stopped when the pandemic arrived in the UK, the news sounded bad, people assaulted the grocery shops and we all got upset when the idiots in London and other fancy location in the UK didn’t follow the social distance rules. The government announced the lockdown and life is a little different than before. I had to adjust to a new life and job and after 2 weeks, I had to readjust again to a new normality. Non-essential shops are closed, we can’t touch each other and keep at least 1 metre (6 feet) apart, we are allowed to go out only for 1 hour every day to excercise in isolation. This doesn’t bother me much to be fair, I am an introvert and spending time alone is my normality. The only things I miss are the gym and the face to face interaction with my friends. However, I know that this won’t be forever, the lockdown is meant to support the healthcare system and give them time to adapt and deal with this new emergency. It’s a small sacrifice we are all asked to do for a short period of time before life will go back to normal.

In the rush of going back to normal. I would advice everyone to use this time to figure out which part of normality they want to rush to! cit.

See you next month and hopefully more positive news from myself and the entire world will come! Ciao

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