I have published a letter in Science about how visiting the pub was a benefit to my research. Yeah seriously, Science! Read it here: No one is an island
OK – some context. Science has a ‘Working Life’ forum dedicated to stories about academic life. Some are positive (e.g. My children help my science), others less so (e.g. Sexual harassment and the toll it takes), but the overall idea is to share experiences that other scientists might find useful to hear (especially if they are going through something similar).
My Ph.D. involved heaps of remote field work, for long stints of time, where I was working alone, and away from my family and friends. So yeah, at times I felt a bit isolated. It wasn’t long into my first field season that I thought my research would suffer if I didn’t look after my mental wellbeing by finding myself a local support network.
So I reached to the people of Christmas Island. Integrated into their tight-knit local community. Made a bunch of lifelong friends who not only helped with my feelings of isolation, but offered practical support throughout my field work that ultimately improved much of my science.
At the centre of this story is the local pub. That was where I first started to meet new friends and where (years later) I organised a raucous rock ‘n roll gig to give back to the community that had helped me out so much.
Hopefully hearing my story is (somewhat) helpful for other students and researchers who find themselves away from their own community and feeling a bit isolated. My recommendation is to drop into the local pub as a first step to becoming part of a new community.
Also, here is a citable letter in Science that promotes going to the pub – enjoy. Maybe that might be the most useful aspect of this ……