‘I will remind myself to relax more often’

| Rense Kuipers

In this series, Through the Looking Glass, photographer Annabel Jeuring stops by at student houses to portray students in their current, isolated reality. This fifth episode: PhD student Akash Raman.

Photo by: AJF

‘As a PhD student, I feel most comfortable in a lab. Since those are closed, it’s about finding ways to work on my research at home. I must admit I feel less productive. Even though I wake up earlier than usual, my days mostly lack the common routine of waking up and knowing I have a day full of lab work in front of me. At home, it’s definitely hard to get away from my laptop screen, or sometimes even my Xbox. I’m currently playing The Talos Principle, a first person puzzle game. It helps to keep the mind sharp.

At the TNW Mesoscale Chemical Systems group, I work on a project aimed at studying hydrogen bubbles on electrodes. Communication with colleagues is still going well; we have our Skype meetings, sometimes with the entire research group. As an international PhD student, I can say this social part is important - it helps to not feel isolated. Although I was never really an outgoing kind of guy, I’m thinking of organizing a coffee moment with everyone online - during work hours, like we used to do.

I’m lucky I live on campus, at the Calslaan. The weather has been great the last few weeks, so I did go out for a walk or bike rides. And I even started doing yoga again. There’s also one thing I started doing on a regular basis, which is just sitting here for five or ten minutes and looking out the window. I don’t think I ever did this before the lockdown situation. I think I’ll continue this inwards experience after the crisis. To get comfortable with myself, to think of what is important to me and take more time off. I will remind myself to relax more often, for sure.’