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Disability Narratives

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Interview excerpt: Being an early career academic involves a degree of uncertainty, which can affect peoples’ mental health and that Stella would like to see recognised.

Image representing Stella© Disability Narratives

I was sort of surprised how much I put up with it. I mean, it's sort of combined as well with the sort of assumption that - I don't know - I guess people thought that, you know, that I would have friends in Oxford, that I would already know people. And the reality of it was that for a long time - you know - before you sort of establish close friendships, or start to make friends - I was spending all day on my own, not speaking to anyone. I live alone, without friends. I go home. I don't have anyone to speak to [laugh]. Its like - you know - don't have anyone to, you know, hang about with on the weekend or anything like that. Like that's, that's not good. I know that's sort of - I mean, that's just the sort of postdoc position, isn't it. You know, lots of postdocs are in that position of having to move some place where they don't know anyone, and you have to like get established. And I don't - I mean, it's not the university's responsibility to kind of help with that. But I think there just has to be - I mean, I know things like the union, and early career researcher organisation are sort of trying to make [sigh], I suppose make our working conditions visible. And almost remind universities that, like this is - it's not, it's not fun to have to move frequently, and to start some place new, on top of a new job, when your contract is precarious and you know you're going to have to fit in - how do you balance your life with, with these sorts of things? And I suppose that does tie in to, to mental health as well.