Clemente, E.C. et al
Despite reading her university’s daily emails featuring “Health & Wellness Tips,” graduate student Molly Thompson, whose PhD project has been brought to an abrupt halt as a result of the ongoing global pandemic, has yet to see a single improvement in either her health or wellness.
“At first, I thought maybe I just wasn’t following the instructions on how to breathe in and out properly,” said a visibly exhausted and anxious Thompson. “Like that time when incubating my buffer at 63°C, instead of the required 62.5°C, and I messed up 3 months’ worth of experiments,” added Thompson with panic in her eyes.
“Anyway, after a few weeks, I just had to give up on the breathing stuff – it only made me more stressed, because my mind kept wandering off to all the experiments still on hold while the labs were closed,” explain Thompson. “I never really got to the bottom of why it is that breathing exercises didn’t help fill the gaping hole that a complete lack of in-person social interaction has left in my life.”
At that point, the online interview as interrupted by the all too familiar sound of an email notification.
“Oh my goodness, they’ve just sent another one,” exclaimed Thompson, her face frozen in despair because of her home’s weak internet connection. “It’s called ‘5 new things you can try to make the most of your free time.’ What free time? I am currently trying to learn three different programming languages so I can turn my fully lab-based project into something that I can do from home while the whole world is on fire.”
“That’s on top of my mandatory morning cry, of course.”
“I’ve never had less free time in my life,” she whispered, exhausted.
Asked what she would like to see in future Health & Wellness emails, Thompson thought carefully. “Apart from an announcement that we all get free mental health benefits, I guess puppies?”