All in one room: A day just for PhD students

Another academic year has begun – offices and labs in our department are populated again, classrooms are actually being used, and there is a pretty good chance that you will have to wait in line for the photocopy machine (and, of course, the washroom). Despite the fact that, come September, our department is filled with people – the lull of the summer months already light-years behind us – it does not necessarily mean that PhDs and post-docs spend much time catching up. In fact, it seems likely that the amount of time spent socializing actually decreases proportionally to the number of years spent in the PhD program.  After all, our tasks become more time-consuming and complex, our deadlines more terrifying, and our interests more narrowly focused. So isn’t it natural that, after a while, we dart straight to our little corner in our lab, do our work and head home, limiting our social interactions to brief hi’s and bye’s in the hallways, instead of more substantial “what are you working on these days” conversations? We may even work from home a lot of the time. Isolation may eventually become a natural way of maximizing our time, staying in control of our productivity and keeping the eyes focused on the finish line.

However, it is obvious that much can be gained by interacting with our peers; the PhD is an intense journey at a point in our lives where we have many other priorities to juggle, and – try as we might to get them to relate – our significant others and family members won’t always see where we are coming from, and how despaired we might be feeling at times.


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