PhDs are inherently isolating places, even at the best of times. 
So much of the work that goes into a PhD – whether that’s reading, writing, or analysing data – is necessarily solitary. You’re expected to put in long hours, most of which are spent working alone. 
It’s natural that you’ll feel lonely from time to time. 
What typically makes that easier to deal with is having informal interactions with your peers and colleagues. The power of these interactions shouldn’t be under-estimated. They’re a way of breaking up the solitude and they allow for a space of vent, digest and connect. 
Which is why we’re all finding this pandemic so difficult to deal with. Chances are you’ve been working from home for most of the past year, away from the comfort and familiarity of the university and away from these informal interactions. It’s little wonder you feel so isolated and lonely from time to time. 
Regardless of how efficiently you’re working from home, or how much you’re getting done, if you’re missing out on routine interaction with your peers you’re bound to find things a struggle occasionally. 
There’s little in the way of remedy, other than sitting tight, being patient and doing all you can to foster digital forms of interaction. Instead, the purpose of this message is this: if you’re feeling lonely and isolated, remind yourself why. The world is trying to move on, but at times we can forget that we’re still in a pandemic, and we’re still struggling on a social level to manage that fallout. 
Go easy on yourself, keep your head down, and remind yourself that this will soon all be over. 

Hello, Doctor…

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