Valeria De La Rosa-Reyes

Ph.D. Candidate, University of Puerto Rico-Medical Sciences Campus

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My home office – I don't have enough space in my one-bedroom studio apartment for a separate work space, so my desk is near my bed. I know it’s not recommended, but I have no other options.

Adapting to quarantine – At the beginning, it was really hard and I barely slept. Now I have been sleeping more in a healthy cycle.

Connecting with other students – I am still a student and I am not currently teaching. We students have video calls to decompress and share experiences. Also, we have new chats with most of our students in our biomedical science programs to share information about help or procedures discussed by the institution.

New habits – I have been exercising more than usual to compensate for the sedentary indoor living. I have tried new recipes and gaming, which I never did before because of my guilt about not being productive.

My team – My lab has 4 members in total and the department has around 30 members.

My challenges – Interaction with my PI has been really bad. Many excuses to avoid even discussing a research article together in a video meeting. The dean is opposed to dissertations online, pass/fail modification for students, and other considerations.

Staying connected with staff – My undergraduate research partner’s load has increased, so I have been given space and check-ins every 3 weeks. My PI has been emailing at least once a week to check in.

Halt to research – My research is stopped until the lockdown is removed. I am analyzing images and reading articles at the moment.

COVID-19 response – I am volunteering for the National Science Policy Network and the Federation of American Scientists to answer questions from the general public.

My lifesavers – Yale Ciencia Academy network has been great support. SACNAS also has some good articles and offers support. Ciencia PR explains the situation to the general public.

New AAA connections – I have new Twitter followers and respond to some conversations. However, no new collaborations or project ideas have been shared yet.

My media mix – I have been watching the Star Wars series, Netflix’s Never Have I Ever, late shows, etc. I have been trying to catch up with my reading to finish some novels and recent history essays. I also love the free concerts online.

Helping others – Because my expenses have been lower, I have saved more money than usual, so I have donated to different foundations and institutions

I miss – Driving around and looking at scenery, like the view from the Natural Reserve at Humacao shown above.

I look forward to – Reuniting with my family and friends, giving hugs, and laughing with them.

I’ve learned – To be compassionate with myself, especially for not being able to focus.