Coping with Research Activities During the Pandemic
Lai Hung Wei
Updated in September 2021
Konnichiwa and salam sejahtera! As we all know, the pandemic is still ravaging globally without a clear sign of recovery. Research progresses have also been hindered significantly due to reduced working hours. In my department, we first encountered total university lockdown, followed by a strict 50% working hour rule. Relatively speaking, I did not have many experimental results for the entire year 2020 compared to previous years. However, instead of doing nothing, I moved on to spend most time at home writing papers. With the help of my PI, I managed to publish a review paper at the end of 2020, followed by another paper in early 2021. These achievements also led to me landing on my new academic job in this coming October.
Japan have switched many of its work into online system (e.g. Zoom and Teams meeting) fairly quickly last year. I had joined several online webinars to learn more about current trends and scientific knowledge. However, the lacking of eye contact with the speakers resulted in poor concentration of listeners including myself. Self-discipline is the only thing that pushes you forward during hard times. I always take enough sleep before joining and shut off my phone during webinars so that I can pay full attention to the presenters. It is interesting to know that there are some friends who found out that online webinars actually enable them to focus more than physical classrooms.
The last, but perhaps the toughest problem - job hunting. Job hunting has proven to be much harder and stressful. Information are scarce and incomplete due to most companies and universities still could not adapt effectively to the new norm. Financial difficulties by various companies and universities also result in a significant reduction in fresh graduates’ intake. Paperwork become heavier and student support division are forced to work within limited hours, limiting the effectiveness of job counselling. Online interviews have proven to be much more difficult as it is relatively hard to promote yourself effectively. One of the biggest lessons that I learned during the job-hunting session is to focus your eyesight on the camera while you are speaking to simulate “real-time” conversation. I did not notice this until one of the recruiters commented on this.
For more information regarding job hunting in Japan, feel free to join our seminar “Excelling Job Hunting in Japan as an International Student” on 4th September 2021, where we invited experienced seniors and representative from consultation company to share their thoughts on increasing your chance of landing a job in Japan! Register using the link below and see you there!