Writing a thesis during a pandemic

People often say that writing is lonely work. We need solitude to write calmly and effectively. As a doctoral student, I thought this was true until COVID-19 hit. Before the pandemic, if someone had asked me how the writing part of the research would be affected if the world got stuck, I would have replied that with peace and loneliness, I could pay more attention to writing. of my doctorate. thesis.

Under ordinary circumstances, as a people, we tend to extrapolate things like in mathematics where the limits are stretched out endlessly. Well, real life is a different cup of tea.

All of my preconceptions that research and writing require solitude have been challenged to their limits in the 20 months since foreclosure was imposed in March 2020. The idea that writing requires solitude loneliness turned out to be wrong, at least in my case. Containment didn’t give me solitude or peace. Eliminating the hustle and bustle of life does not lead to loneliness even if one is physically alone. Loneliness comes with peace of mind. As the world crumbles with millions of deaths, infections and the loss of loved ones, it affects us emotionally, psychologically and even financially in some cases.

Under these circumstances, we cannot continue to search as if nothing had happened. Writing social science and humanities research is not about shuffling content like in a 9-5 job. A good thesis can be written when the researcher is passionate about daily routines, with writing being a subset.

I realized that writing is a subset of my whole day or my job that during the pandemic was ripped off. Before the pandemic, my day started with going to college and talking to friends, classmates, colleagues, acquaintances, and other familiar and unfamiliar faces. Attending conferences, workshops, conferences and symposia would then be the next part of my day. Even small but big things like just going to the library to read newspapers or sitting in the canteen and discussing a series of things with my friends gave me peace of mind, which ultimately enabled me to do research. After going through all this, the solitude that one chooses for oneself then helps to write the chapters of the thesis.

This is different from the loneliness of the confinement which takes the form of loneliness. Stillness and the absence of noise do not lead to peace. This realization did not come in a day, week or months when, as a researcher, I was trying to live my life like in the pre-pandemic situation.

It was after having fought battles with myself and failing to replicate the same kind of enthusiasm for research and writing that I had before the pandemic that made me wonder what is missing that I am not. not allow myself to be myself, likes to write and research like before confinement. The answer has become clearer over the months. I realized that it was my “routine” that made me “me”. Without routine, I cannot be myself. Trying to duplicate most of my routine while on lockdown seemed very ‘contrived’ and ‘inorganic’. Also, it seemed to be forced, inorganic, and mundane. As student researchers in the humanities, we do not have physical laboratories to conduct our research. This whole world is supposed to be our laboratory.

Moreover, what some digital education promoters and tech enthusiasts do not understand is that not everyone is programmed to behave mechanically like a robot and can be flexibly adapted as required. of an environment defined by an engineer. Phrases like “beggars can’t choose” don’t help either. As a result, many researchers are experiencing considerable distress in recent times. The stress of being able to conduct your research correctly, of being in a mental framework or even of wanting to do a literature review, of being stressed to submit your doctorate. thesis in these times of crisis and great uncertainty. Many researchers have unsubscribed from the doctorate. course accordingly. What many people do not understand is that research needs an enabling environment in order to accomplish or flourish.

Most universities have been closed since the pandemic hit us. The ones that opened did not begin to function as they did in the pre-pandemic times. The point to note is that the last 20 months have been lost either considerably or entirely (in the worst case). The expectation of researchers to conduct their research and come out with a well-documented thesis under such circumstances is quite frankly a very difficult task to accomplish. Many exceptions have officially stated that locking has helped them excel better, but exceptions are not the norm and the world cannot run on exceptions.

Those who claim to despise those who have not been able to excel or even compete in these difficult times simply refuse to accept that research cannot be done in a “survival of the fittest” mode. In a country where researchers are anyway trolled by large swathes of the media like those who live on taxpayers’ money, this kind of thinking will harm research and researchers even more. The realization that came to me during the pandemic is that until the world returns to the natural order of things, research cannot be carried out with the same zeal and enthusiasm.

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