Minju Jung By: Minju Jung
Doctoral Researcher in Politics and International Relations
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22 Sep 2020 : Me - getting grumpy and pessimistic


I’ve realized that the pandemic makes me impatient, impulsive and a bit negative. Decision that I made recently proves it.

I’ve been busy recently with dealing with multiple things. I am packing for a four-month-stay in Korea, packing to move from the current flat and searching for a new flat that I hope I sign contract before leaving the UK. Everything began with my impulsive decision to stay with my family in Korea. That decision was purely impulsive. On the day I decided to go back to Korea, the UCU announced that they would request universities to deliver all classes online. For me, it seemed that the campus may remain closed this term, or even if it opens it may close again sooner because of the concern of increase in Covid cases. It meant that working from home may continue. I thought I could not bear more months of staying at home.

At the time, I felt that my flat was not an ideal place for work, because I thought it became noisy all of a sudden. At the time, I strongly believed that I should move to a quieter flat. I also shared my concerned with my sister, and she suggested I go back to Korea and stay there until the pandemic situations get better in the UK. She pointed out that my room back in Korea was still available. That seemed to be a fantastic idea.

Once I made these two decisions to move out and go on a trip to Korea impulsively, everything else happened fast. I let the Department know of my absence during this Autumn and Winter, informed the landowner of my decision to move, ordered moving packing kit, and began searching for a flight ticket and a new flat. Also, I’ve been having early farewells with my friends here.

Now, some doubts have been creeping, and I am not sure of my plan, which I once thought was perfect. I may have been careless in making important decisions. What if I am unable to be productive in Korea with my family? That is highly likely. I would be too relaxed and susceptible to be disturbed in Korea: my family has made plans for during my stay there (it seems that they think that I am back for holidays). I also have some tasks that I should deal with in Korea, like: I should find someone who can take an old piano that I used to play when I was a kid; and I should search for a new computer and monitor for my dad, etc. My excitement regarding the trip is dwindling.

Also, what if my current flat happens to be much better than the new flat I move into? Except for the issue regarding the flat which seemed big at that moment, I have really enjoyed this flat till now. Flat mates are lovely, there are two supermarkets and a fruit store nearby where I can get a bottle of freshly squeezed orange juice, my room has a big window due to which I enjoy plenty of natural sunshine. Now, I feel that the issue that led me to decide to move out is trivial, and it doesn’t seem as serious as it felt back then. It seems that all emotional ups and downs and stress were for nothing, and I exacerbated situations and let negative thoughts grow in my mind.

The pandemic made my life seemingly simple and monotonous, but internally complex. I feel like it is making me grumpy and impetuous.



Over the recent weeks, a few of my friends earned their PhDs both in the UK and the US. They are all smart and hard working. I congratulated their achievement, and they definitely deserve a huge celebration. But, obviously the congratulations was not full of joy, because we know that a frozen job market in academia, which has been known to be a tough field in finding jobs, has been much tighter than before the pandemic. Many of them are worried about losing affiliation that they used to enjoy during their PhD, which may affect their expectation in finding a job. They concern that the academic job market may not get improved soon.

This dark outlook applies to me as well. It seems obvious that I cannot avoid the fear of unemployment when I graduate. I think that it may take much longer to find a job (any position regardless of working conditions). When I am out in the job market after completing my degree program, I may realise that my competitors are not only people who recently earned their PhD, but also people who have had a PhD degree and built a career with a few publications, as we had witnessed in many places after the 2018 global economic recession.

Perhaps, it is one of many long-term repercussions of the pandemic on my life.

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