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My hobbies and activities during PhD life

Fun & Creative hobbies

Hello everyone, I’m Samikshya (ESR01) and in this blog I would like to share with you all the activities or let’s say hobbies that I have learnt so that I can stay focused and also motivated in my work. The life of PhD students can be challenging in terms of intellectual as well as emotional levels. Being a PhD student, life can be tough, especially under certain unusual circumstances like the COVID-19 pandemic situation, which had imposed strict lockdown restrictions and asked us to continue work from home. During that phase of my life, I had experienced a lot of negative feelings including sadness, depression and loneliness. My life was completely boring and consisted mostly out of online meetings, lectures, etc.

After the first lockdown ended and COVID-19 cases dropped down significantly, I thought of doing some physical activities. During the summer period here, in Germany, the weather is usually pleasant and favorable for hiking, biking, or other sport activities. As most of us had already experienced, staying indoors can cause some detrimental effects on one’s mental health. I am personally not a sporty person. In my childhood days, I had tried to learn riding a bike but eventually gave up the idea due to fear.

However, when I arrived in Hannover, Germany for my PhD studies in Oct. 2019 I could see that many Germans enjoyed using a bike for their daily commute. The country has separate cycling lanes everywhere, which caught my attention and I developed an interest to learn how to cycle. As I was completely at beginner level, I thought to join a bicycle training course in Hannover. Thanks to the trainer, I could learn cycling in just two weekends! Here is the picture of me (third person from right hand side of the picture) with other participants during the bicycle course event.

Cycling is the best way to enjoy outdoors, and it helped me to build a positive physical wellbeing. Cycling is also a good form of exercise but at the same time it is environment friendly. I like this approach of Germans to opt for biking and also sticking to the rules. I would like to encourage people from my country to follow this path! I want to thank both Arash (ESR 02) and Fernando (ESR 15) for giving me some useful tips on how to ride a bike properly.

The second hobby which I thought to learn was knitting. Knitting is a cool, relaxing hobby that doesn’t stress the brain or body. Though I come from an engineering background working mostly with software, practical work seemed to be challenging. Knitting helped me to stay better focused on my work as well as it helped with hand- and eye- coordination. It also made me more creative. When knitting, one needs to count the number of stitches, memorize repetitive patterns, and sometimes re-calculate the stitches. This is a good exercise for the brain. If the pattern we are knitting is not too complicated, one can get in flow of the yarn and stitching patterns easily. During the COVID-19 lockdown period, I was a bit addicted to my mobile screens and it was quiet distracting. So, knitting had less harsh effects for eyes than the continuous use of blinking mobile screens! In the pictures below, we can see woolen caps knitted by me.

Finally, hobbies help to promote positive feelings. Thus, spending some time to enjoy an activity outside of our PhD student life can help to refresh and cope better with stress.


About the Author: Samikshya Ghosalkar

Samikshya Ghosalkar is an Early Stage Researcher for MSCA ETN- PETER Project in the Department of Institute for Fundamentals of Electrical Engineering and Measurement Technology at the Leibniz University Hannover. She will carry out research on Statistical Electromagnetic Risk Analysis of Large and Complex Systems, Development of Theoretical Description of Risk Assessment Methodologies.The objective is to develop statistical EMI-aware risk-assessment methodologies that combine both technical and non-technical aspects. The ESR is expected to provide the theoretical background for an EMI-aware risk assessment of large interconnected systems.