This post was written by PhD researcher who prefers to remain anonymous.

Among current PhD students who have been studying through the pandemic, I am extremely lucky. I’ve received a four-month funded extension from my university, meaning that I am now funded for three and a quarter years instead of three years.

To get this extension, I had to reveal extensive details about my mental illnesses, my ability to ‘function’ day to day, and about one of my parents, who was hospitalised. My supervisors and whoever was in charge of managing the funding had to read it. It was humiliating, revealing all of that to strangers and to those responsible for overseeing my work, to ask for some extra support that every single PhD student should be automatically entitled to.

There is no way to quantify the work that I have lost to the pandemic. I could have visited a library or an archive and seen something that could have taken my thesis in a new direction. I could have thought more deeply and innovatively about the materials I study if my mind hadn’t felt so eaten up by crushing stress. I could have concentrated on my thesis instead of organising with other PhD students when our department announced their intention to make us all teach in person in September 2020, regardless of escalating case rates and individual circumstances.

I could be working more effectively now if I wasn’t burned out and mentally ill. Four more months of funding— applied selectively and unfairly— isn’t going to change that. And I’m lucky to be in this position.

We are publishing blog posts from the PGR community about the pandemic. This can be on any topic, such as personal experiences, opinion pieces or poetry. If you would like to contribute please DM us on Twitter at @pandemicPGRs