Wellbeing is something that I have had a complicated relationship with throughout my life, although perhaps without always having the vocabulary to label it. This became most salient during the second year of my PhD, when it felt like a blackout curtain suddenly dropped and the world became, quietly and without fanfare, simply a different place. It took me the better part of a decade to recognize this, though.Read More »
Month: March 2023
Learning Courage: On the Unexpected Benefits of Examining My Anxiety by Alex Mendelsohn
Most of the stories I read about mental illness portray it as this hellish, horrendous thing that you must wait out. While in the darkest throes of mine, I have found it difficult to read these stories. If my experience was entirely a waste, how could I find the motivation to keep going?
I have found that the prevalent feeling during my illness has indeed been of time wasted. However, I think there are significant benefits if remission is found through medical treatment. I realised that the strategies I learned in order to stay alive, whilst should not be needed as medical intervention should be accessible and a first port of call, may be truly useful to others.Read More »
My Mental Health Journey: Reflections from India by Ritika Mahajan
India stands fourth in the number of PhDs awarded annually. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Report, 27000 candidates completed a PhD in India in 2017. This number is equal to 10 per cent of the total PhDs across G20 nations. Between 2011 and 2017, PhD enrollments in the country jumped by 50 per cent, and articles were written about the mad rush to attend university. In particular, the authors of these articles raised concerns about research relevance, quality, authenticity and originality.
Recently, mental health issues also attracted attention when authors of a study conducted among PhD students in two Indian public universities reported that 70 per cent of respondents suffered mild to severe depressive disorders. The cases were severe among students of economically weaker sections, those who earned less than 250 dollars a month or were less proficient in English. Despite this, the mental health of PhD students in India is still a stigmatized issue, where many deny that there is a problem. In my opinion, this is why those of us that feel able to speak out must do so. In this blog, I share insights into the challenges I have faced both at the start of my journey into academia and now as I begin to supervise students. I hope this is of some value to PhDs and new academics in India and beyond.