Dark Academia, Gender, Intellectualism

Last week, NU Women welcomed Dr Sarah Burton, a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow from City University of London’s Sociology Department to deliver her paper on Dark Academia, Gender, and Aesthetic Practices of the Intellectual.

Rooting her work in Nirmal Puwar’s work on Space Invaders, in which  certain bodies fit into spaces where others are read as alien or inappropriate, Dr Burton uses Dark Academia to consider how academic spaces are (re)built, embedded, and contested over time.

Specifically, she examines how this is enacted on and through aesthetic portrayals of the intellectual and scholar as a cultural figure. In this research paper, Dr Burton discusses the encounter of Dark Academia on her sociologist colleagues by asking: “What are intellectuals? What does intellectual life look like? How do you know if you’re an intellectual?”

 

“Just as Puwar has tracked this powerful whiteness from Eaton, to Oxford, to Westminster, I’m going to embark on a sort of return journey following the intellectual from Dark Academia, to popular culture, to its possible inception.”

Arising from social media such as TikTok, Tumblr, and Instagram over the last few years, the Dark Academia aesthetic trend is characteristically recognisable by its vintage dress reminiscent of 1930s-40s Oxbridge fashions: tweed jackets, plaid skirts, knit cardigans, brogues. Think Withnail and I, Dead Poets Society, and the kind of thing you see on Morse.

As a lifestyle the Dark Academia trend advocates for learning for learning’s sake, encouraging such things as translating Ancient Greek and Latin for fun, visiting museums and art galleries, and letter-writing by hand. It’s a romantic view of scholarly work, that takes a pleasurable view of writing and researching.

Dr Burton points to Dark Academia’s explosion in popularity amongst Generation Z during the pandemic. Isolation from school life, has led to an uptake in wanting to ‘feel’ scholarly through adopting this aesthetic.

Its call back to vintage fashions amount to cosplaying as an intellectual, embracing the quiet solitude of lockdown as a lifestyle choice. Its return to pre-digital simplicity is a response to the uncertainty and chaos of the current moment.

“It’s enticing and alluring and escapist, reminding us of putatively simpler times before REFs and TEFs…but it also works to demarcate and exclude. Outside of thin, white, Europeanness there is little scope to legitimately imagine yourself into this aesthetic.”

Most notably, this aesthetic framing of the intellectual is rooted in conservative, Eurocentric, elitist ideals.

Dr Burton notes that within its aesthetic and lifestyle markers, there’s no space for “most women, working class, people of colour, fatness, people with low economic or cultural capital, disability, caring and domestic activities and labour (especially the enjoyment of these), motherhood, queerness, and the mundanity of academic life.”

The fabric of Dark Academia as a look and lifestyle is woven from a preference towards whiteness, masculinity, and Eurocentric cosmopolitanism. Dr Burton’s research participants show that this exclusion is felt as imposter syndrome. It presents an unrealistic view of academic work that ignores the real demands and pressures of university life.

For more information abut Dr Sarah Burton’s work, please see: https://www.city.ac.uk/people/academics/sarah-burton#profile=overview

A full recording of the event is available below.

Upcoming Events – February 2021

Dr Sarah Burton: ‘The kind of thing you see on Morse’: Dark Academia, Gender, and Aesthetic Practices of the Intellectual

Date: 12th February 2021

Time: 12-1pm

Zoom details to follow

NU Women is delighted to host Dr Sarah Burton from City, University of London (CUL) who will be giving a talk on the relationship between gender and the ‘intellectual’.

Sarah will examine the relationship between gender and ‘the intellectual’, with specific reference to portrayals and depictions of the figure. Sarah’s focus, here, is on how the figure of ‘the intellectual’ has been constructed aesthetically, as well as the aesthetic expectations we have of the sorts of places and spaces intellectuals would inhabit, and what this reveals about how the figure is used to gender academic spaces and knowledge. Sarah will follow Nirmal Puwar’s (2004) scholarship on the importance of the aesthetics of space in contextualising how bodies are read – specifically, how bodies are read as out of place, in keeping, or requiring some form of suppression or control to bring them in line with the ‘somatic norm’.

To register for this event, please sign up at this link: 

https://forms.ncl.ac.uk/view.php?id=10394851

Emily Yarrow: An unequal opportunity? Female academics’ experiences of research evaluation in the UK

Date: 26 February 2021
Time:
12-1.30pm
Zoom details to follow 


NU women is pleased to host Dr Emily Yarrow from the University of Portsmouth, and Newcastle University Business School alumna, who will be delivering a lecture on women’s experience of the Research Excellence Framework 2014.

This research investigated gender equality issues surrounding the Research Excellence Framework 2014 (REF2014), and how these may manifest themselves in the career development and career trajectories of female academics in the UK.

The potentially harmful effects of research evaluation on academic careers, the way in which research evaluation and its outcomes are managed and experienced, and the extent to which this may intensify academic work were all considered as well as being integral aspects of the interview guides. However, this research also explored, through some of the emergent themes from the interviews, how research evaluation and its outcomes are used as a vehicle for success by some academics.

To register for this event, please sign up at this link: 

https://forms.ncl.ac.uk/view.php?id=10226807

Carly Jones MBE: Autism in Women

On Wednesday 14th October 2020, NU Women welcomed Carly Jones MBE at a virtual event where she spoke on the experiences of autistic women and girls.

Carly Jones MBE is a British Autism Advocate who has worked for the inclusion of autistic women and girls since 2008. She has spoken on news channels, at universities, and in Parliament, and was the first British autistic woman to address the United Nations on autistic women’s rights. 

Carly was publicly appointed a member of the UK Honours Committee, is an independent panel member for the Ministry of Justice and works for the Heathrow Accessibility Advisory Group.

Demystifying Autism in Women and Girls

Being diagnosed with autism can be a difficult and conflicting experience. Carly spoke to the importance of diagnosis: the access to support that a diagnosis provides, the assurance that you are not alone in your diagnosis, how it can help with family understanding, and how it can provide self-protection.

Carly spoke of the hurdles that women and girls can face in getting diagnosed – autism is often seen as something that is only recognised in boys, and as such, diagnosis tools are often predominantly male-based, leading to women and girls risking being under-diagnosed and left behind, leaving them vulnerable.

There are numerous consequences of being undiagnosed or misdiagnosed – misdiagnoses can lead to the incorrect medication being prescribed, or incorrect diagnoses remaining on medical records. People with autism are often not included in drug trials, so there is a lack of understanding as to how various medications might work (or not work). Carly noted that annulment of prior misdiagnoses is vitally important, as past diagnoses may be raised in family courts.

Carly spoke to the way that people with autism might respond to pain and articulate it – it is important to ask direct and clear questions about an individual’s pain, and explain why they are being asked this. An app has been developed by Carly that can be vital in helping those who struggle to communicate their pain – the app provides images of what pain may “look like” so as to help define and describe what kind of pain is being experienced. The app can be downloaded here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.app.visualpainimagesuk

Carly also noted the importance of understanding that an individual’s position on the autism spectrum is never fixed – your position can move depending on the context or on your emotions at the time.

Strategy to Safeguard and Flourish

For the second half of the talk, Carly moved on to discussing approaches, ideas and tactics for safeguarding and supporting autistic women and girls.

Carly noted that it can be hard for people with autism to ask for help: it can be difficult to know when you need help, or people might “mask” as a desire to fit in.

Pre-emptive safeguarding is one way to provide support: asking clear and explicit questions everyday – such as “what was the best/worst thing that happened to you today” – can help to ensure that an individual will know that they are able to talk with you when needed, and to draw out the nuances of their daily experiences. The Visual Pain Images app mentioned above can be a useful tool, and it is also important to ensure that people understand their bodily rights and boundaries early on in life.

Emergency plans are also important to put in place: implementing a “get me out of here” emoji that can be sent if someone is in a situation they are uncomfortable with, or using the “Uncle Kev” trick – if someone notices that they are being followed, a potential way to get out of the situation is to wave at the nearest house and shout “Uncle Kev”. This can deter the person following you, as they will assume you are with an older family member, and can give you a chance to make a call or knock on the door of the house until the coast is clear.

Carly finished her talk by looking at a selection of case studies, emphasizing various situations in which people with autism might be taken advantage of, and ways to help avoid this.

NU Women thanks Carly for her important and informative talk. Carly’s website can be accessed here: http://britishautismadvocate.simpl.com/online_cv.html

Her Twitter handle is @CarlyJonesMBE

Ovarian Cancer Awareness

NU Women’s latest session was on ovarian cancer awareness, delivered in conjunction with Ruth Grigg from the charity Ovacome, Hillary an ovarian cancer survivor, and Dr Yvette Drew from Newcastle University’s Centre for Cancer.

Ruth is part of the Ovacome charity who supply emotional support and information to anyone who’s been affected by ovarian cancer and opened the session. As the charity has been run since 1996, Ovacome has spoken to a lot of women and have gained progress in promoting women’s knowledge of ovarian cancer.

Ruth shared this knowledge with attendees of the NU Women lecture stating that typically there is little known or understood about ovarian cancer. As ovarian cancer is uncommon, with 7,000 diagnoses each year (in the U.K. the chances are 1:52 ), it is not represented as loudly in the cancer community because the chances of other cancers such breast are much higher (1:7 in the U.K). Moreover, ovarian cancer usually presents late as a Stage 3 CD (there are 4 stages), so by this time the cancer has spread to the abdomen and other organs before a GP or any other services become involved.

The delay of spotting the cancer is due to vague signs and symptoms which don’t seem significant in the context of day to day life. Ovarian cancer is most common in people who are postmenopausal which means 83% of cases are diagnosed in those aged 50+. Regardless, the cancer can present in younger people too which is why it was so important for Ruth to go through the BEAT campaign, outlining the specific symptoms:

B is for BLOATING (this is new for you and is persistent)

E is for EATING DIFFICULTIES (you are eating less and experiencing reflux)

A is for ABDOMINAL PAIN (this is new for you and is getting worse over time)

T is for TOILET HABITS (unusual urinary or bowel movements)

Treatment for ovarian cancer requires a major hysterectomy surgery, followed by chemotherapy. 

A survivor of ovarian cancer, Hilary followed on from Ruth and gave a personal account of her journey from being diagnosed in April 2006 at the age of 48. Being a Chemist, with a long experience the pharmaceutical industry, BP and civil service, Hilary explained she was very used to being tired and stressed, especially when she switched between two jobs around 2006.

Notably, she remembers getting a smear test but the nurse couldn’t get a good enough sample as the process was too painful, she was told she would be contacted by the GP and thought nothing more. As life went on Hilary started developing bladder urgency but put this down to menopause. The turning point was when Hilary experienced persistent abdomen pain so severe she physically had to pull off the motorway as the pain was unbearable.

After going to hospital, the CT scans showed a 15cm cancerous cyst which grew to 17cm two weeks after. Hilary explained how her fallopian tubes, uterus and omentum were removed, which was followed by chemotherapy at the end of June. Between starting her chemotherapy in June and her treatment finishing in November 2006, Hilary worked part time with a supportive employer which helped her greatly- emotionally and mentally.

Hillary has now been discharged from her GP, reaching her 5 year remission mark and says that she is in good health but has experienced the side effects of surgical menopause such as brutal hot flushes, memory loss and depression. After 6 months Hilary began HRT and felt much better and is still on a low dose patch for the rest of her life.

After Hilary’s moving account, reminding us that sometimes  the session moved from the personal to the scientific. Dr Yvette Drew gave us a flavour of what the gynecology team are exploring – such as  the challenge of developmental therapeutics in ovarian cancer, as well as the lack of effective screening. Dr Drew explained that there has been significant barriers to progress in developing new treatments, shockingly stating that there has been no new treatments approved between 2006-2013 despite other cancers seeing developments.

However, we learned that this was due to the difficulty finding where the cancer originates. There is a common misconception that the cancer begins in the ovaries but in fact ovarian cancer starts in the fallopian tubes. Sadly, scans fail to show this. Nevertheless the management of ovarian cancer lies with the revolution of PARP inhibitors moving forward to PARPi combinations including immune checkpoint inhibitors.

Dr Drew stressed the importance of needing to recognise that epithelial ovarian cancer is many diseases in cancer drug development (High-grade serous, clear cell, low-grade serous, endometrioid, mucinous) and that programmes for drug development, design of clinical trials, and approaches to systemic treatment need to reflect this knowledge and focus on targeting the sub types of EOC.

With additional thanks to the chair, Nicola Curtin, Professor of Experimental Therapeutics at Newcastle University , this session addressed this challenging topic in an approachable way. Identifying the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer as well as discussing recent developments at Newcastle and beyond, hoping to reach as many women as possible.

For further information about Ovacome and the BEAT campaign please visit the following:

You can watch the recording of the full event below:

Annual lecture 2020: The Gendered Division of Paid and Domestic Work Under Lockdown

With thanks to Alison Andrew and the joint work with Sarah Cattan, Monica Costa Dias, Christine Farquharson, Lucy Kraftman, Sonya Krutikova, Angus Phimister and Almudena Sevilla, the NU Women Annual Lecture last month explored ‘The Gendered Division of Paid and Domestic Work Under Lockdown’.

Alison presented survey data that illustrated how parents in England have been sharing paid and domestic work during lockdown and examined women’s careers in a post-pandemic world. This data offered important insights not only into employment relations in the UK but to the potential solutions that could be used to reduce the division and encourage gender equality.

Alison outlined that women earned 44% less than men in 2019. Even when considering women from a background of higher education the earning gap only improved to 46%, leaving a staggeringly large amount of gender inequality when it came to the questions of paid work and domestic labour before the pandemic. Even when looking at data from women taking time off around childbirth, the short term breaks or part time employment evidenced “scarring” effects on women’s career progression.

Outlining the statistical foundations of gender inequality before going into the pandemic, Alison’s data created expectations that COVID-19 would impact both sides of the labour market and that this might affect men and women differently. This played out in many places of work (especially leisure and hospitality) were forced to close or scale back this meant that there were changes in demand and treatment of employees such as the furlough scheme.

However, it was shown through the lecture that these losses were not evenly distributed because women, especially women in BAME communities, were over or underrepresented in some sectors such as the NHS. Not only did the pandemic pressure accumulate in work life but when additional need for child and older relative care became a priority, home life forced gender norms and habits to rise to the surface, encouraging work division and interruptions further.

Through Alison’s presented data, the legacy of the crisis taught us is that the solutions for sharing paid and domestic work remains open. For example, fathers’ involvement in day-to-day childcare may increase as a result of short-term changes and perhaps through changes in gender norms or attitudes of employers. Moreover, in a number of firms they have started to accommodate flexible schedules and homeworking environments. Nonetheless, the pandemic has been heterogenous in how its effected different households; in some cases, there has been a transition towards a traditional split of domestic and paid work, but there is evidence of an inverse variation too.

You can view the full lecture below:

NU Women Upcoming Events – Autumn 2020

NU Women/Wellcome Trust Reimagine Research Culture – Virtual Café
Date: 30th September
Time: 10-11.30am
Location: Virtual (Zoom)

We are pleased to announce the second of our Reimagine Research Culture Cafés, which will take place virtually via Zoom on Wednesday 30th September, 10-11.30am.

In January, the Wellcome Trust shared the results of their Reimagine Research Culture survey. Wellcome developed a Café Culture kit so people could discuss the survey findings, and propose solutions. NU Women is running several of these cafés to think about how to better support members of our community, and contribute to a more creative, inclusive and honest research culture at Newcastle. These are open to the whole NU Women community, regardless of area of work, role or grade – everyone contributes to research culture and everyone’s voice matters. 

To register for this event, please follow this link: https://forms.ncl.ac.uk/view.php?id=9174013

Due to the virtual format, there will be a maximum of 20 attendees – if you are unable to attend or cannot get a place, please use the link on this page to register your interest for future cafés.

Carly Jones MBE: Autism in Women
Date: 14th October 2020
Time: 12-2pm
Location: Virtual (Zoom)
NU Women are proud to present Carly Jones MBE, a British Autism Advocate who will be speaking on the experiences of autistic women and girls.

To register for this event, please sign up at this link: https://forms.ncl.ac.uk/view.php?id=9174589

NU Women Annual Lecture: “The Gendered Division of Paid and Domestic Work Under Lockdown” (Alison Andrew, Senior Research Economist, Institute for Fiscal Studies)
Date: 11th November 2020
Time: 12-1.30pm
Location: Virtual (Zoom)

NU Women are pleased to present Alison Andrew as the speaker for this year’s NU Women Annual Lecture.

This lecture will use new survey data to explore how parents in England have been sharing paid work and domestic work during lockdown. The talk will examine how the gender inequalities in the division of work within heterosexual couples have changed relative to before the pandemic and what this might mean for women’s careers in the post-pandemic world.

For more details, and to register: https://forms.ncl.ac.uk/view.php?id=9335156

NU Women Virtual Writing Groups (deadline to register extended until: October 20th )
We are pleased to offer our regular NU Women writing groups (albeit virtually). We have three strands, to reflect different kinds of writing. What will NU Women do? We will coordinate who is in what group, we will set up the virtual platform link (Teams), and email to set up the times/dates. Ideally, one person in each group will take on the convenor role to keep it going. Weekly attendance is encouraged.

Dates, times and registration information is available below.

Please note, that the groups have been updated to reflect the current number of subscribers. If you have already signed up, you do not need to do so again; a member of the NU Women steering committee will be in touch shortly with further details and to let you know which group you are in.

Academic colleagues can choose between:

  • Monday 10am-1pm
  • Tuesday 9am-12pm
  • Friday 1pm-4pm
  • Sign up for one of the above days here

Professional services colleagues can choose between:

  • Thursday 9am-12pm
  • Friday 1-4pm
  • Sign up for one of the above days here.

Postgraduate research colleagues can choose between:

  • Monday 10am-1pm
  • Friday 1-4pm (we are still looking for volunteers to lead this session, so please indicate if you would be willing to do so via the below form)
  • Sign up for one of the above days here.

NU Women: Ovarian Cancer Awareness

Date/Time: 26 November 10-11.30am
Location: Zoom (details to follow)

NU Women are pleased to run this event on ovarian cancer awareness in conjunction with Ruth Grigg from the charity Ovacome and Dr Yvette Drew from Newcastle University’s Centre for Cancer. The event will talk through identifying the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer as well as discussing recent developments in its treatment at both Newcastle University and beyond. The session aims to address this challenging topic in a friendly, informal and approachable way and is open to all women from across the university. It will run for approximately 90 minutes and attendees will be given the opportunity to ask questions and discuss any concerns they might have.

The event is chaired by Nicola Curtin, Professor of Experimental Therapeutics at Newcastle University. 

To register for this event, please sign up at this link: https://forms.ncl.ac.uk/view.php?id=9716906

Moving into lockdown after maternity leave as a PGR

As part of our blog series where we share experiences, tips, and tricks of living and working during lockdown, Philippa Carter a third year PhD student in Geography studying landscape, sense of place and intergenerational memory in North East England, discusses the challenges of returning to her PhD after maternity leave shortly before lockdown began.

I tend to work from home a lot of the time, so when the announcement of lockdown came in March it might not have seemed like such a big change for me compared to many others. Except of course, that my ‘office’, which already doubles up as the family dining room, then also became my husband’s office and my two-year-old daughter became our only other co-worker (unless you count the cat)!

I had my daughter in the second year of my PhD and getting back into the project after a year of maternity leave was tricky. A month before lockdown started, I drafted my first full findings chapter and I felt like I was finally finding some momentum and getting into the flow of the thesis. Six months on that is certainly not how I’m feeling.

In some ways it has been an anxious time for me, particularly before I had my extension confirmed; getting that sorted out was a massive weight off my mind. But whilst there have been a whole host of worries and stresses, it has also given me a different perspective on my research. My work focuses on the small details of family and community life and how these things impact on our sense of place and identity; spending so much time with my immediate family and getting to know my local area so much better has helped me think about this differently and realise again just how important place can be.

Overall, I’m sure when I look back on this time, I will think how lucky I was to have spent so much time with my daughter and we have had some great times, but at other times it has been hard to keep that perspective. I have missed immersing myself completely in my work (which is difficult even in normal circumstances with a young family). My daughter is back in nursery now and in the next few weeks my husband will be spending a couple of days a week back in the office so hopefully over the coming months I will begin to get more space – both physical and mental – for writing as I get closer to my completion date.

NU Women listening workshops: Understanding the concerns of colleagues and PGRs

NU Women invites women colleagues and postgraduate research (PGR) students from across the University to join us in online listening workshops aimed at addressing any questions and/or sharing concerns they have around returning to campus and/or  the University’s adjustments as a result of COVID-19.  These listening sessions aim to help address any questions. There are individual sessions for colleagues and for PGR students, reflecting the different concerns and needs of these groups.

Colleague session:

Date/Time: 8th September, 12.00 noon – 1.30pm

Delivery: Online via zoom (link to follow)

Duration: 1h 30min

[book now]

PGR session:

Date/Time: 17th September, 10.30am – 12.00 noon

Delivery: Online via zoom (link to follow)

Duration: 1h 30min

[book now]

Attendance at the sessions will provide colleagues and PGRs with an opportunity to share confidential views and opinions in a safe space, with a view to driving change and better support for colleagues and PGRs.

Session format

  • In part one you will hear from colleagues from Health and Safety, Occupation Health, and People Services who will answer any questions you might have relating to campus reintegration or adjustments being made in response to COVID-19.
  • Part two of the session will be in a ‘safe space’ format and led by some members of steering committee of NU Women. It will provide individuals with an opportunity to confidentially share their concerns and thoughts in the current climate. The notes from these sessions will be anonymised and used to inform change and provide better support for colleagues and PGRs at the University.

Ahead of attending the session, attendees will be given the opportunity to send in questions they may wish to explore.

We are aware that the times may not be suitable for everyone. If you are unable to attend a session, but still have issues and concerns that you would like to raise, please send your questions to the Organisational Development email address below, and we will ensure that these are answered during the sessions.

If you require any further information, please email organisational.development@ncl.ac.uk

Moving (and working from) home during lockdown

As part of our blog series where we share experiences, tips, and tricks of living and working during lockdown, Rachel Pattinson, who manages digital research programmes in Open Lab in the School of Computing, reflects on moving and working from home during COVID-19.

Like many of my Newcastle University colleagues, I’ve been working from home since the middle of March. And along with 27 million others, I watched Boris Johnson announce the UK’s lockdown live on 23rd March. But I was one of the few who listened to the Prime Minister tell us all to ‘stay at home’ – the night before I was due to exchange and complete on the purchase of my first house.

Last autumn, when I’d had my offer accepted on my new home, Coronavirus didn’t exist. And I was working full-time in the Urban Sciences Building. So beginning an indefinite period of working from home, during a pandemic, and attempting to buy and move home at the same time, caused a number of unforeseen events:

  • I spent the first couple of weeks of lockdown pretty stressed out. Because it’s difficult to ‘stay at home’ when you’re not really sure which home you’re going to be living in…
  • I ended up on the front page of BBC news. Which made my colleagues, friends and family laugh quite a lot!
  • I spend the first of the University’s ‘pause Fridays’ in April exchanging and completing on my house purchase. I was so grateful to the University for giving me the time to get everything finalised!
  • I couldn’t get essential furniture (like a fridge) delivered to my new home during lockdown. So, I had to delay my move and arrange to stay and work in my old house for an extra couple of months.
  • About 75% of my stuff was in boxes for three months. Including some of my work files. And it meant my working space looked very minimal during March, April and May…
  • In June, the internet moved house (a while before I did). And promptly stopped working. So for a few days, I had no internet in either house. I completely used up my mobile phone’s data allowance, I bought a top-up, I bought another top-up…
  • … and I had a day or so where I had to work mostly offline in the new house while I waited in for essential furniture to finally arrive. I did my best, but I definitely attended a few meetings where I’m told that I sounded much more dalek than human(!).
  • I eventually got internet in the new place, but I was still staying in my previous home, so I spent a week commuting back and forth between the two locations.
  • And then I finally moved house! Since moving, I’ve been redecorating and unpacking whilst working full-time. I’ve now worked in four or five different spaces in my house, so my colleagues have collectively seen an interesting tour of my new home.
Rachel ended up on BBC News as a result of her move during lockdown.

It’s not what I planned. But living through and working during a pandemic wasn’t something any of us predicted.

And, looking back on lockdown, I really appreciate the support I received from my colleagues and from Newcastle University to make a major life change like this during a time when the UK stood still.

Balancing Working from Home and Working for Home

As part of our blog series where we share experiences, tips, and tricks of living and working during lockdown, Sathya GunasekaranSenior Developer/ Analyst with NUITshares her experience of juggling childcare and work during lockdown.

If I look back at the last four months of working from home, it was not as easy as I initially thought it would be.  I prepared a to-do list in the beginning of April, which included things like exercising and learning a new skill.

Though I had a proper workstation set up at home, having my husband also working from home and having to home school my 8-year-old daughter were very new to me. I neither had a syllabus to teach her nor the skills needed to be a good teacher! The long list of links to various resources sent by her school was a bit overwhelming. I had to sit with her for her online homework every day. She even had her weekly cello lessons on zoom which meant we couldn’t take any calls during that time (not even from the back garden!). We ordered some books and subscribed to Disney+ and did not know what else to do to keep her engaged while we were busy working. I felt guilty about either having to leave her on her own or at times not being able to concentrate on work as much as I wanted to.

Despite saving 2.5 hours every day by not travelling to work, I did not learn a new skill, I did not teach my daughter much and I could not exercise enough! My to-do list lies somewhere untouched. So, if you have not done an awful lot during the last four months and just managed ticking along so far, it is okay, you are not alone.