PhD & Emotional involvement

Being a PhD student means a lot of things, many of them related to our emotional wellbeing, such as stress levels, confidence ups and downs, professional uncertainties, etc.

Today I would like to talk about another emotional issue that I have experienced over the course of my studies. My PhD is in Migration Studies and whenever I say this, everybody says: “Cool, hot topic these days huh?!” Well, yes and no. It is a hot topic but I am not sure that it is a cool one.

Although my subject mostly deals with citizenship and identity issues, I still feel that the entire hot topic of [im]migration is quite close to my heart, hence my choice. And with current political issues taking place in the world, I have felt more and more devastated. I spend a lot of time reading and understanding the phenomenon of migration and despite being such a popular issue for newspapers, political campaigns, etc. I feel quite alone in the understanding part.

So, as a migrations’ researcher I feed myself with all political news, I follow UNHCR and IOM and all NGO’s that are active in the field. It seems almost like a self-destructive impulse sometimes, because it is quite hard. But still, I continue attending film screenings and theatre pieces and it is all necessary for me and at the same time, it is emotionally challenging. Although reading, studying and trying to understanding is therapeutic to some extent, I often feel so very angry, and sad and hopeless about refugees, economic migrants, unaccompanied minors, racism related crimes, socio-economic inequalities, etc.

I often wonder what would it be like to meet with other people that find their research areas to be such an emotional burden and at the same time fascinating. Would that make things easier?

Thanks for reading!


Written by: Marianela Barrios


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