By popular request, and by "popular" I mean three or four people, I will start writing some of my articles in English :P
I am past halfway through my master's degree, which feels surreal because of everything that's happened - or not happened - due to the pandemic. I definitely did not have the research experience I was expecting.
I can't say I've coped extremely well to this whole situation. In the first days of lockdown I almost let my model organisms go extinct. When I realised I wasn't managing it well, I had to go out and make an insect trap from scratch. Experiments were halted either way, but that was definitely a moment of anxiety.
Then came the long months of "yet another day of the pandemic". We were gradually allowed to resume research activities, but when also given the option to work at home, it became increasingly difficult to just get myself to stand up and go.
On one hand, it was a great opportunity to catch some breath. On the other hand, I was so puzzled as to why I was losing all motivation.
It's not that I don't like what I'm working on.
I love Biology. Well, at least the parts of Biology that are on the more visible side. When it comes to the molecular stuff, I am a total potato. But I'm working with insects, so that shouldn't matter. In fact, the sole reason I'm in RikeJoy is because I enjoy science, right?
Just prior to the pandemic, I had talked to my professor and laid out a plan for the year. I'd gone through a depressive state the previous year (I might talk about it in another post) and hadn't been able to do as much as I hoped, so I was determined to make it work this time. And just as I was getting ready to really focus on my experiments - they announced a lockdown.
It was a blow in my face. I was just recovering from a period of internal battle, but then here was an external shutdown that was imposed on the world, and I couldn't do anything about it. It felt as though I was slipping back into the state of low energy that I'd just gotten myself out of.
Of course, there were parts of me that were really excited for this unexpected opportunity. I could finally take some time out for the hobbies I'd left in the corner! I could call my family and friends on the other side of the world, without worrying too much about time. I could get myself back on track with cooking and exercise, something I'd completely thrown out the window the past few years.
Looking back, I must have expected myself to be able to do way too much. I felt super fulfilled for maybe two months, then I disintegrated. There was a bunch of online events and activities I involved myself in, and I started rethinking my career for no reason. Suddenly I found myself in the same pit I had been in last year: the pit of purposelessness.
I realised the hard way that having a purpose and value in my priorities is so, so important in life. Even though at first I was having a great time developing my other talents, I got lost in them. I forgot the one thing I promised myself to go after as my career.
As the kind of person who has a lot of interests but whose work ethic is super focused on one thing, it was simply impossible for me to try and keep up with all my interests at the same time, without losing sight of my main path.
At the peak of my confusion, I was woken up by the words of someone I look up to: "what you're supposed to do in life is exactly what you're doing now, but at a higher level". Yes - I chose this career in biology, and this is exactly the main thing I'm doing right now. I just wasn't working on it the way I wished to, then getting worried whether this was really the path for me.
In retrospect it may seem silly. But a mind can have a million little thoughts at once that overshadows the one knowledge of truth. It is up to each of us to discern which thought to follow.
Have I completely recovered from my second wave of helplessness? Not quite.
But I know myself better now, and I know exactly where to look: forward.