Increasing the visibility of female researchers at our university.
#4: Sally's Story
Sally is a third-year PhD student at UTokyo. She comes from Indonesia and her research topic is investigating the inter-linkage between ethnomedicine, health and rural livelihoods. We are very happy to have Sally here sharing with us her experience as a PhD student and a mother.
Have you felt any difficulties? How did you overcome them?
I feel fortunate that my research activities are flexible in terms of when and where I do them. But even flexibility doesn’t save me (and I’m sure other moms) from the challenges and responsibilities associated with childcare. Being a parent means having to take unexpected time off. It is really hard to draw firm boundaries, and prioritize your work time. Flexibility and sole responsibility for your own research means you must be disciplined to keep things moving forward.
How do you balance research and family-caring?
If my life being both a mom and a grad student can be defined in one term. It is: frequent interruptions. Juggling the role between both a mom and a grad student has continually forced me to be efficient and productive with my time, and I just don’t have the luxury to do anything else. For me the key to balance research and family-caring are time / work management and self-forgiveness. It is important to recognize when to stop (or start), but also important is to accept that sometimes some of us can’t be a grad student and at the same time strive to be “perfect mom” (as defined by society), otherwise we’re going to be constantly physically and mentally exhausted.