The Impact of the Pandemic on My PhD in Health Economics – A Poem by Gintare Valentelyte

On the 12th of March on a bright Thursday afternoon,

An RCSI e-mail was circulated telling us to ‘Pack up and go home’.

As I zipped up my bag with my laptop, some journal articles, and books,

I said goodbye to my office colleagues, ‘See you in two weeks – it’ll be soon’.

Little did I know, 12 months later I’d be here,

Sitting at my kitchen table, on my own, communicating via Zoom.

Shifting all my work remotely, online, with everything saved on the Cloud,

Talking, laughing at a screen – It initially did feel a little daft!

I started my PhD in Health Economics, just two years prior,

With my own shiny desk, in RCSI – I felt very inspired.

Once I joined the SPHeRE Programme, and met my new colleagues,

I couldn’t imagine my PhD journey would have turned out to be a lot more different!

The COVID-19 pandemic, initially felt surreal,

And took me a while to get into the remote lifestyle, and get a proper feel,

Of how to continue with my PhD and how my research may look,

Without a hard copy of the ‘Health Economics Handbook’.

It took a few weeks, to develop a structure,

And complete daily tasks virtually, it’s very different to attending a lecture!

With self-motivation and a lot of organisation,

I maintained the mind frame “correlation does not always imply causation”!

Bi-weekly supervisor meetings, and catch-ups with peers,

Several zoom quizzes and virtual evenings of ranting over a few beers,

We’ve managed to stay connected, and continue supporting each other,

As the PhD won’t complete itself, but it will if we’re there for each other.

Coronavirus will impact us forever, but it will make for a great story, whenever,

I’ll talk about my PhD experience in the future, “…I could not have predicted this ever !”

With more experience to self-discipline more than before,

A true health economist would never ignore,

A challenge he/she knows, that needs a solution,

We’ll model it in STATA, and will always reach a conclusion!










Gintare Valentelyte, SPHeRE Programme Scholar, Year 3