Resilient strategies

What Academics are Telling Us about their Resilience…

Getting all hands on deck with a ‘family matrix’ which identifies the roles, responsibilities and needs of each family member on a weekly basis so that we can hold space and make time to support each other. Recognising the importance also of quality family time together outside of household or school-oriented learning or work responsibilities and the indispensability of brief periods of ‘alone’ time or time ‘away’ from each other to recharge. 

Puja Kapai, Associate Professor, Hong Kong 

The most important “strategy” (if you would like to call it a strategy) was to think about alternative plans to conduct my research under the given circumstances, to discuss these plans with others, to identify the best option, and then to apply this alternative plan. 

Anonymous, Professor, Germany 

I completely gave up social media. It was helpful to give myself time to think and to rest from a formerly frantic life. I also engaged in physical exercise which was helpful to focus on work and to do one thing at a time. I managed to write 2 articles and to participate in over 5 academic events during 2020. I work in the humanities, so time to reflect is absolutely necessary in order to conduct analysis. While working I also focused on my well-being and did not make myself worry too much about deadlines but about completing work. Everyone was understanding as we are all on the same boat trying to cope. 

Anonymous, Assistant Professor, Hong Kong 

I have arranged fortnightly meetings online with peers. These meetings helped us discuss our work, also allowing us to socialise and chat during the quarantine. We would be getting and giving each other advice on research and academic work, talking about ourselves, then chatting idly, and this strategy did uplift our spirits. 

Anonymous, PhD candidate, Hong Kong 

Sheer gritting my teeth to open the door to my office, open word and continue despite watching all my academic prospects for employment overseas and hope for the future I had networked and planned and worked towards wither away. My psychologist got me through. My supervisor discovered a kindness on top of a terrible and difficult year for them to assist me over the final hurdle. I think it will take years to recover and I have been formally diagnosed with PTSD.

Anonymous, new PhD graduate, Australia 

Finding meaning/purpose has been key, as has my love of learning and innate curiosity. This is how I am managing to find and do work that interests me, keeps my brain busy, and hopefully leads to future opportunities. I have a personal mantra now, which I believe helps me be more resilient. I apply it to almost anything in my life. “Hope, faith, commitment”. 

Rosalie Clarke, Unemployed PhD graduate, United Kingdom 

I hired a dissertation coach, joined an online community she created for PhD students, and participated in online writers’ groups and FocusMate. I essentially created a virtual environment to support habits and connections that were formerly provided by my physical, social environment. 

Jess Gerrior, PhD Candidate and Adjunct Lecturer, USA 

On this page you’ll find examples and stories from academics around the world and at every stage of their career.

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