We're all in this together: Academic Twitter shows solidarity while dealing with COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the academic community in various ways. Universities have been shut, hiring suspended, conferences cancelled – the list is long. These changes have affected researchers directly, with many struggling to deal with the academic and professional fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past weeks, several academics have turned to Twitter to express themselves and reach out to others in the same situation. The result? Academic Twitter has been abuzz with conversations, stories, discussions, debates, personal experiences, memes, or humor about how COVID-19 has affected them. What stands out is how the academic community has come together on this platform to offer much-needed words of encouragement and offer support to those who are feeling low and need some motivation. It is almost as though there is a tsunami of positivity from academics on Twitter which is helping bolster many people’s spirits during this difficult time. I thought of putting together a bunch of these positive tweets to indicate the solidarity among researchers on Twitter.
While some researchers try to look at this pandemic as a good chance to catch up on reading or writing, others have found it difficult to concentrate on their work. Many twitter users are urging researchers to not beat themselves up over lower levels of productivity. For example, take a look at gif about the slow progress on their thesis and assurance that sometimes even a little progress is good enough.
We applaud your 20 words @PhdExhausted !— Grad Write Slack (@GradWriteSlack) April 5, 2020
Remember everyone, dissertation writing is difficult on it's own. Add a pandemic to it & well, it's even more difficult.
But we can and will get through this together!#COVID19 #coronavirus #acwri #amwriting #AcademicTwitter #phdchat https://t.co/W5E6SrLew1
Publishing is an important aspect of academia. This is a trying time for all involved in the publication process. In the case of , a peer reviewer and Associate Professor at Ohio University, the journal she is working with extended her review deadline, giving her some much needed respite.
Thank you Journal of Media Psychology for sending reassuring email to reviewers to not worry about taking extra review time while professoring, parenting, and trying to survive #coronavirus #AcademicTwitter #academicmama— Dr. Parul Jain (@drpjains) March 24, 2020
offers some much needed perspective – think about your priorities right now. They should be health and safety over and above everything else. If you are healthy and safe right now, you are already productive.
PhD candidate tweet is a sharp reminder that the current situation is a crisis, not a productivity contest.
Just read somewhere, “This is a pandemic, not a productivity contest.” The best thing I found on social media during this pandemic. @AcademicChatter— Kritika Gupta (@kg_kritika) April 7, 2020
Another PhD student, Prathyush criticizes the tendency of some academics to indulge in productivity shaming. Instead, he emphasizes the need to practise empathy and kindness especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you don't come out of this quarantine with:— Prathyush (@prathyushspeaks) April 5, 2020
1.) more kindness
2.) more compassion
3.) realization of our own insignificance and fragility as a species
The chances are that you never will.#phdchat @AcademicChatter https://t.co/WKWb13oiUF
Of course, you cannot be kind to others without being kind to yourself. and Open Academics encourage people to be kind to themselves and others, given how challenging the current situation is.
At a time of unease, kindness becomes even more important.— Mindful Academics (@MindfulAcademix) March 24, 2020
Choose kindness today.
Do something kind for yourself and something kind for a friend, student or stranger. @AcademicChatter @OpenAcademics @parent_phd
Stay safe. Be thoughtful and kind. We're in this together.— OpenAcademics (@OpenAcademics) March 16, 2020
Stay safe. Be thoughtful and kind. We're in this together.
Stay safe. Be thoughtful and kind. We're in this together.#AcademicTwitter #phdchat #sciencetwitter #epitwitter #soctwitter #COVID19 #COVID #COVIDー19
Social isolation can take a toll on you. It has has been known to exacerbate depression and anxiety. The #AcademicTwitter feed has a lot of tips on supporting yourself and those around you. For example, here’s a tweet by Mindful Academics that recommends that you get a quarantine buddy who you could regularly check in on and build a resilience plan together with, to get through the pandemic together.
The coming weeks of social distancing may be increasingly challenging as novelty wears off, & uncertainty grows. Build a resilience plan with a coworker/friend. Commit to daily check-ins, writing targets, self-care strategy & celebrate the small wins. #phdchat @OpenAcademics #edu— Mindful Academics (@MindfulAcademix) March 21, 2020
In this thread, mental health advocate cautions against using specific words or phrases while discussing our research and other academic or career related topics. As she puts it in this thread, “HOW we say things matter and makes a HUGE difference to our #mentalhealth.”
Many senior researchers are reminding their colleagues to take time out to check on their students and junior colleagues. , a mental health activist and scholar, encourages us to look out for students and other vulnerable people. She also stresses the negative effects of isolation and anxiety on mental health.
#AcademicTwitter, remind students & folks to follow guidelines to mitigate #COVID19 but not stress about what they can’t control. Share #mentalheath resources, check-in & ask them to seek help as needed. Isolation & anxiety around #covid can cause rapid decline in mental health.— Sirry Alang, Ph.D. (@ProfAlang) March 13, 2020
Ajay, encourages professors to give their students the benefit of the doubt when it came to assignments.
Pro-Tip— Ajay (@RCI_101) April 7, 2020
This is one of those times when you give students the benefit of the doubt.
Their #MentalHealthMatters more than your inflexibility around assignment deadlines and "academic propriety".#coronavirus #COVID19 #AcademicTwitter
International PhD students and early-career researchers are facing a particularly hard time as they are often away from family and loved ones.highlights the emotional vulnerability that many junior researchers deal with.
Can I please remind you to check in regularly on your PhD students via phone or email. They are vulnerable. Many (perhaps most) live alone with no family nearby. We supervisors are the closest they have to a family.#AcademicTwitter #AcademicChatter #Coronavirus— Andrew R. Timming (@timminglab) March 22, 2020
Principal Investigators (PIs) play an important role in researchers’ lives. , a PhD candidate from Vanderbilt University, urges PIs to take the lead and emphasize their students’ physical and mental health, while reassuring them that it is ok not be as productive as they were before the pandemic.
If you are a PI and you haven't explicitly told your students that their health (mental & physical) is more important than their productivity, and that it's okay to be less productive right now, what are you waiting for?#covid19 #AcademicTwitter @AcademicChatter— Cait S. Kirby (@caitskirby) April 6, 2020
, a PhD candidate from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, congratulates those who have recently received their doctorate degree during the COVID 19 crisis. She thanks them for giving hope to the rest of the academic community.
Dear PhDs who have become newly-minted doctors in the midst of the coronavirus,— Maya Camargo-Vemuri (@camargovemuri) April 12, 2020
Thank you for being an inspiration & guiding light to so many other scholars right now.
Thank you for reminding the world that academia never stops.
Thank you for motivating us all.@AcademicChatter
, who heads the Heemstra lab at Emory University’s Department of Chemistry, encourages researchers whose career goals are unmet because of the current situation. Her message is simple and inspirational: while you may not be able to achieve your goals right now, you will achieve them in the future.
In a pandemic, it feels like our career goals should be the least of our worries. But, it’s frustrating to feel like you’re moving farther away from your goals with every day.— Jen Heemstra (@jenheemstra) April 7, 2020
The upside is that every day you’re growing into a person who can accomplish those goals in the future.
, President and Research Director at Thinkhouse Canada, pointed out that while the pandemic could end many academic careers, it does not mean that researchers can't look forward to a bright future.
I know for some of you the pandemic seems like the nail in the coffin of an already struggling career.— Chris Cornthwaite, PhD (@cjohnyrun) April 10, 2020
I promise you the future can be great. There will be opportunities. Don't lose hope. Stay hungry & grow yourself as much as you can as a leader. #FridayFeeling
’s tweet about her daughter who was forced to cancel her eight birthday due to being in quarantine serves as a reminder to focus on things that really matter to us. Responding to Monica’s tweet, scientists across Twitter sent birthday wishes and encouragement to this budding scientist.
I‘ in #QuarantineLife due to #COVID19 w/weak immune system— Monica Malta, PhD (@MonicaMalta7) March 17, 2020
But I have a special ask
It was Helena’s 8th b-day
She wants to be an astronaut & #WomenInSTEM
Her ‘Science & Robot’ party was cancelled
I’m hoping folks around the world can cheer this #Science kid@NASA @WomenNASA pic.twitter.com/t3PxephYvq
PhD Diaries also chooses to bring in some much-needed perspective to the conversations around COVID-19 - researchers are multi-faceted people with roles and interests that may have nothing to do with their career. It is good to remember that when you are facing stressful times. Your research output does not determine your worth as a human being.
My biggest flex is that I've survived years in academia without believing that it's the single most important thing in my life.— PhD Diaries (@thoughtsofaphd) April 9, 2020
I like what I do, but my entire identity is not what I do.
We're so much more than what we do.
I'm also a big sister, avid reader & amateur yogi
Wasn’t that motivating? Of course this list of tweets is not exhaustive, but it is indicative of how academics are going out of their way to support each other during this difficult time. Head on to Twitter to witness the solidarity and heartening discussions among researchers on this platform.
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