It’s not just the lyrics, but the energy and delivery

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Content and Trigger Warning: Because this post is focused on the subject of mental health, it mentions various aspects of mental health struggles including drug use and suicidal ideation

1. Can’t live with the world- Laura Mvula

This song is a lullaby that reminds us of how far we’ve come, even within the dark places we’ve spent so long in. Mvula assures us of the support and safety to be found in the arms of those who are willing to hold us through these tough times.

2. It’s ok to cry- Yinka Bernie & Joyce Olong

Relief and release…

Five things in particular…

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I defended my PhD in January 2018. During the four years of my research and writing up, certain things happened that were highly unexpected and unplanned for and these made life and my PhD experience particularly tough for me. The journey left me with five lessons that I keep applying in different areas of my life. My hope is that sharing them might give other intending-researchers a starting point, in answer to the often-asked question, “what should I know before starting a PhD?”

In no particular order, here are the five life lessons I learned from my PhD which I…

How I Got Radicalized

As a child, I loved Disney princesses. As an adult, my concern goes beyond the problematic stereotypes

Photo Illustration: Save As/Medium; Source: Getty Images

Welcome to “How I Got Radicalized,” a series from GEN that tells the story of a cultural moment that made you drastically rethink how society works.

In the fall of 1998, as my big sister’s 15th birthday approached, we both huddled in excitement on the moss-green carpet of our home, watching cable TV as we awaited our mother’s return from a neighboring town. We lived in Bauchi, a city in northern Nigeria, and Mum had gone on a several-day trip to Jos, about two hours away. It was an unspoken family tradition for our parents to return from out-of-town trips…

Encouraging vaccination will take patience, accountability, and empathy — and these strategies

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Few modern medical interventions have ever been discussed as broadly or urgently as the Covid-19 vaccine, and with the rollout underway, conversations across platforms are covering everything from enthusiasm to fears to doubts to hesitancy. Though hesitancy is on the decline, vaccine mistrust still exists, including among Black people around the world.

The science is clear — the approved vaccines are safe and effective — but it will take more than just data to put fears to rest. It’s also important to address these fears at community level. In order to address mistrust some Black people have, it’s important to…

Cyberchondria is real. And largely unhelpful.

Photo: Vladimir Sukhachev / Getty Images

For those who live with hypochondria, myself included, this pandemic has added layers to our concerns around health. Many of us have spent hours Googling risks and symptoms. And as science has revealed more information about the virus and illness, some of it comforting (it’s probably not foodborne), some of it terrifying (some sufferers’ symptoms seem to be lingering for months), the anxieties have shifted, evolved — and persisted.

It turns out, the information we take in about the virus can have a surprising impact on cyberchondria, the incessant need to use online sources to track symptoms and speculate a…

So much mistrust in vaccines stems from misinformation

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Healthcare literature tells us that vaccines do a world of good in protecting us against deadly diseases. Yet there are still many people who will avoid vaccinating their children at all costs. As such, conversation surrounding vaccines is currently saturated with myth, mistrust, and increased risk of disease: the World Health Organisation (WHO) reported a 300% increase in measles cases in 2017 compared to 2016. The WHO regional director for Europe, Dr. …

Our Covid-19 fears are valid. Imagine the fears of those who have to flee war, life-threatening bigotry, and certain death

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The current global pandemonium surrounding Covid-19 has shown us how ‘stability’ itself, or at least what society has advertised as the twenty-first century iteration of stability, is actually a precarious concept. The paradox of ‘precarious stability’ is not news to anyone belonging to any marginalized group. In conspicuous ways, over decades and across several different platforms, marginalized folks have been forced to become used to everyday precarity, whilst resisting hostility.

Covid-19 has thrown us a curve ball that only a few weeks ago, no one would have guessed would lead to this outcome.

Currently across the world, supermarkets are empty-aisled

This claim is unwittingly part of an agenda to position Whiteness as the beauty standard

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In early February 2020, various news outlets reported that the actor Robert Pattinson is the most beautiful man in the world ‘according to science/scientists’. This claim was brought forward by facial plastic surgeon, Dr. Julian De Silva, who used the “ Greek Golden Ratio of Beauty Phi” to crown Pattinson’s facial features most beautiful/handsome.

Dr. De Silva’s calculations have led to various White people being given the title of ‘most beautiful’ on more than one occasion: in 2016 Yahoo Style crowned Amber Heard the top in a list of 10 White women, with many other platforms echoing this list.


Make the process as enjoyable, or at least as tolerable, as possible

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The advice given below is based on my own experience of writing my PhD thesis. The caveats are that: 1. I love writing anyway. However, getting nearly 50 000 words and accruing many, many representative images of my data was still daunting for me. And; 2. This is written from the perspective of the biological sciences. I however believe it is adaptable for other fields.

Before you start writing

  • Think about whether you’re going to start writing during your PhD, or after data collection. While the latter isn’t ideal, it isn’t the end of the world. It’s also what I experienced (and many other…

Whether it’s mental health or other struggles, your hard work informs our own

The author with her father. Photos courtesy of the author

“The one thing I don’t want,” my father said, “is for you to finish your PhD how I finished mine: broken.”

Until that moment, commiserating with me about the difficulties of research, I’d never realized that he’d taken 14 years to complete his medical degree and his PhD. Everyone I’ve met who knew father has always used a descriptor like “intelligent” or “strong” — but I’m not sure how many of them know that he suffered from mental illness, or that he was open with his family about it. Or, especially, that he asked for help.

My father wasn’t perfect…

Dr. Furaha Asani

Migrant. Postdoctoral researcher. Teacher. Mental Health Advocate. Writer. Professional in the streets, loud on the sheets of paper.

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