From a practical viewpoint, some of us as non-Europeans are facing problems related to our resident permits and visas due to processing delays in government bodies. This leads to many uncertainties particularly in a PhD programme such as this where we all travel regularly to take part in collaborative research and training. For Frederico and Franzi who had just moved to new cities for their research, unpredictable situations with accommodation forced them to return to their families in their country of origin. Moreover, in the coming months all plans and events, one of which is a three-month secondment for each ESR at a YEASTDOC industry partner site, are on standby. In a multi-partner training programme where the weeks and months activities’ are planned far in advance this presents a big logistical challenge.
The coronavirus pandemic is also having a huge impact on our minds. We feel fear, sadness, and helplessness; sometimes leading us to overreact to the situation. Social media is influencing our thoughts and even though we know that not all the information is correct and things are exaggerated, it is still difficult to switch off from it. We are aware that this can seriously affect our mental health so we are trying to stay positive, channeling our thoughts and actions into creating a daily routine. We know that without a structure, time might become amorphous and tomorrow will be yesterday in the blink of an eye. Some of us feel more mindful and we have begun to appreciate things much more such as our workplace, our health, nature and most importantly society and its people. At the moment, we are trying to play our part by following protocols given by the government in each of our different countries in order to protect not only ourselves but also our fellow humans who are at risk, and we keep an eye on the well-being of our family and friends.