Studying in Italy, surviving quarantine and COVID-19
In these difficult times, when we are surrounded with sad news coming from all over the world and especially Italy (where I am currently completing my PhD) which has been one of the countries most affected by the pandemic, it is difficult to stay positive and see the silvering of the current situation. Many of us can agree that completing a PhD under normal circumstances is stressful, so what happens when la dolce vita takes a drastic turn and your research becomes affected in a new and unfamiliar way? Well, actually the answer I hear the most often, is that no one actually knows. So instead of worrying about things that are out of our control and focusing on the negative aspects of navigating the uncertain waters of work and life and that sunny holiday everyone had seem to be planning being cancelled, I would like to share the good things happening right now all around us.
“ There must have been a mix-up”
“ ...maybe there was another candidate named Julia, and they confused us - it is such a common name”
“ ...maybe they had a stack of applications on their desk- then a gust of wind came - threw the stack off the desk- and suddenly the last application was the first - mine”
“What happens when they find out?”
These are some of the things I heard myself say on the phone, talking about my new position. It took some time until I realized how crazy that sounded. The following is not an article, but a summary of my thoughts.
The comfort zone is the psychological state in which you feel in control of the environment and everything is familiar. This zone includes the habits, the routines, the knowledge and the behaviors you are used to. Outside this zone, there is the unexplored or panic zone, formed by activities that produce panic and anxiety. Between these two zones, there is the learning zone, formed by the skills and abilities that are out of reach of the secure environment. Here is where growth and development take place.
About the blog
Being a PhD student in a European training network is a life-changing adventure. Moving to a new country, carrying out a research project, facing scientific (and cultural) challenges, travelling around Europe and beyond… Those 3 years certainly do bring their part of new - sometimes frightening - but always enriching experiences.