My path towards finding a research topic was not straightforward but rather like a long and open-ended journey. For me, intuitively, made sense to take time to look for a topic that I am really passionate about because I knew that I would have to live with this project for years. Therefore, during the first study year I allowed myself to read broadly and expand my intellectual horizons. I spent many hours in the university’s library and the more I read, the more I became aware of the lack of my knowledge and the shallowness of the initial research topic with which I entered PhD program. Although the broad focus of my research project was more or less clear from the very beginning, the final topic came into being, when I was approaching the end of my doctoral studies. I really hope that my research can challenge the prevailing systemic narrative about political change by looking at other more contextual narratives that serve to capture contradictions and paradoxes of contemporary politics.
During my doctoral studies, I had some existential crises when I was questioning myself whether the things that I do are really meaningful and at times I was thinking to myself that academic life is too pale and dry for a person like me. I guess these existential thoughts where the reason why I became a mother in the midst of my doctoral journey. The birth of my daughter provided new colors to my life and, unexpectedly, re-energized me to come back on the academic track with a new force.
What I always remember with a smile from my life as a PhD student at Tallinn university, is that, although I was spending most of my time reading and writing in the university’s library, I managed to find so many friends there, even while sitting in the library! As now, when I am continuing my academic journey as a post-doctoral researcher, I still sometimes find myself pondering on the same question – how do you balance your life in such a way that different parts of your personality thrive? For me, feeling inspired by books and people, as well as staying true to your authentic self are key to leading an interesting and intelligent life. This is a lesson that I learned from my supervisors – Ivor and Tero. In my eyes, they are the happiest academics on earth and I was so lucky to be gently and patiently guided by them in the direction that I chose myself.
Post-doctoral research associate at Yale University, USA
Researcher at Kaunas University of Technology, Lithuania