But then. There are others. Those for whom on-site working is the only option. For whom ‘working from home’ is a cramped corner with a laptop in a shared address with lousy wi-fi. For whom support from supervisors was never that great and is now wholly absent. Whose income has disappeared or been compromised. For whom carrying on will mean serious risk. For these people, and there must be many of them, the pandemic poses a particular threat.
It’s not as if everything was sunny before the virus hit. The fact that The PhD Proofreaders exists at all is testimony to the cruel reality: many students are not supported, are not left feeling they are getting what they should. All of us feel we are imposters, at least some of the time. I know I did, and still do. The knowledge I can be a convincingly good one, frankly, doesn’t help (part of my career was spent in health public relations – no one stands in front of a national TV news crew defending a hospital and feels totally convinced of their own role; or if you do, that’s when they get the cringing howler…).
So how much worse must it be for my fellow students who are not getting the help they deserve? How can the pandemic do anything other than make it far worse? Even for those of us who are luckier, this pandemic has made human contact all the more harder. It’s so much harder not to think your supervisor is having a go at you for no good reason when you are meeting via a screen, when you cannot hold those nourishing and stabilising informal chats with people who get it – and point out your paranoia is actually normal. And yes, your supervisor does have a point, mate – take a calmer look.