The Scamp in Isolation

I have been practicing social distancing for the last 5 years. It is an unfortunate by-product of my PhD experience and horrible taste in men.  Two months before the official lockdown I had really started to isolate myself so that I could finish the rewrite and get it in on time.

I was supposed to leave for China to represent the office, and then come back to a new life where I could see my friends more often, take up a hobby that did not involve schoolwork, and finally be free of Napier.

I was going to be a new Kim.

Instead, I have basically been in quarantine since March 17th. My compromised immune system means I am potentially at a higher risk for infection, and I figured with my luck, I’d catch everything you could including Covid19 when my body finally relaxed after the rewrite was complete. I did not leave my place for a week because of a cold, and then for fear of the lackadaisical attitude of the people where I live about staying inside. I finally got to the point last week where I was willing to risk germs for my government-approved exercise outside once a day.

But it is just making me angry. No one here takes it seriously. People are working in their allotments, hanging out in the parks, and walking, jogging and cycling way too close to each other. I’m ready to scream. I’m also mourning the cancellation of my upcoming trip to Mallorca, and what will probably be the cancellation of my family’s trip here in July for my graduation ( the ceremony which has also been canceled).

I’m also lonely. I spend all but about 30 minutes at the start of my day with only myself for company….and I am not good company. That’s not entirely true. My family and friends have been amazing. I get calls and videos and photos all the time. I also have very considerate colleagues who check-in when they notice me looking a little down on the video chats in the morning.

I have been trying to work out and do things that keep my brain occupied, but with the warm weather taunting me, and cabin fever getting the best of me, I cannot wait for things to settle back into a normal where people are not getting sick and we can all go outside again.

Because I hate being a downer, I just want to say that I admire all of the nurses, doctors, pharmacy workers, and grocery store workers who are coming to work every day without complaint and demonstrating a courage and bravery that I can only hope to emulate one day. I have several friends in the US that are total badasses, and several former students here in Scotland that I could not be more proud of. It is nice to know that there is still some good in the world.

The Scamp Observes Some Teaching

One of the things I love most about my job is that every semester I get to do teaching observations.

I’m not always a fan of the observing part, but I am a fan of the chance to see all the different types of classes that are taking place on campus.

Today was a new one. Today the lecture I attended was in a church.

That’s right…..a church. The pews served as desks, a massive projector was set up in front of where the services are led (unfortunately I do not know the proper name…pulpit?) and a very nice man from the church was on hand to make sure that the mics worked and the students could hear the lecturer.

It was by far the oddest observation I have ever been to. It felt wrong to be sitting in a church learning about something that had nothing to do with religion, but since I am assuming the university pays the church and given that the person that I was observing does most of their teaching at the church.

I have to say, the novelty of going to a lecture in a church meant that I could ignore the fact that the lecture that I was observing was so over my head that it might as well been taught in Klingon.

I’m using this as a distraction to the fact that I have 1 month left to complete a rewrite of a thesis. I still have one chapter that needs to be written and still have lingering doubts that I am going to complete it on time, or that what I have is good enough for them to sign off on.

I am still hating the uncertainty of this nightmare PhD.