I was looking forward to writing this blog about all of the exciting things I was going to be doing over the next couple of months. I was meant to move to Oban earlier this month to start two months worth of fieldwork and I had planned to go to Sicily for 10 days for a training course, leaving later this week. However, due to the current situation across the world, neither of these trips will be taking place for the foreseeable future. So instead, I shall be sharing my experiences of carrying on through this pandemic in my new working from home life.

To keep me busy for the foreseeable future I already had a list of things to be getting on with including finishing up my literature review, writing and preparing for my nine-month assessment, making new contingency plans for my field and lab work and finally getting round to submitting my masters thesis for publication.

I am also trying to use this time to learn some new skills, I’m finding that this is helping to structure my day. Very generously Simon Cockell, who is the Bioinformatics Core Facility manager at the University of Newcastle, is spending an hour everyday teaching bioinformatics. I have been tuning in every day live at 4pm to learn as much as I can. I was already planning on attending intensive courses on bioinformatics but as most courses are up in the air for this year, I really appreciate being able to get a start on it now. I’m looking forward to continuing with this over the next 10 weeks!

Additionally, as part of our QUADRAT training, we have been given some exercises to work through to become familiar with R markdown and GitHub by Alex Douglas at the University of Aberdeen. To make a good start on this, my fellow QUADRAT students and I have come together (online) to work through these exercises as a group, where we can share screens and get help from one another. Also a great excuse to have a little catch up and check in on everyone, seeing people’s pets is definitely the highlight! No pets for me here, but I have taken to borrowing the neighbour’s cat for a cuddle from time to time…

It’s great that there are so many online resources available and that I am able to take full advantage of these at the moment. However, the circumstances have made me far less productive and focused compared to usual. I am trying to set myself smaller daily goals and structure my time well, in an effort to ensure that I am still working away towards the bigger goals mentioned before. Little by little, I’m sure we’ll all get there. Stay safe!