Season’s Greetings from the DSA

Photo: Aula Medica i vinterskrud – Katarina Sternudd (2018)

Dear Doctoral Student,

The time has finally arrived for some rejuvenating winter holidays. It’s the time of joy and hope, it’s the time to think about what we have done this year and to make wonderful plans for the next. It’s time to celebrate our successes and leave any unsuccesses in one of the drawers of our memory.

Our community of doctoral students at KI, just as the entire world, has faced many challenges: we have had to adapt to digital education, we have had to limit our social and work interactions, and most importantly, we have had to be distant from our loved ones.

As the DSA, we have done our best during this eventful year, to manage such a transition in the smoothest possible way. Thanks to our incredible network of central and local doctoral student representatives, we have constantly reported back to the KI leadership about any issues that came to our attention. We have advocated with tenacity and strength, to always obtain the best outcome for our doctoral education. The Covid-19 working conditions survey was one such action that we immediately undertook to assure good working conditions during these unprecedented times.

Our welfare and health workgroup has done an incredible job in assessing the mental health status of our community and taking immediate action after the results of the survey came out. We offered 100 of our colleagues the possibility to follow a DSA sponsored, professional “mindworkout” programme, and organised seminars covering topics such as tracking working hours.

At the same time, the doctoral education workgroup has worked hard to implement the mentorship programme at KI. We very well know that good mentors can have an incredible impact on our current and future career! The mentorship survey gave us the information needed to organise seminars and develop plans to create a network of mentors and mentees, that the next DSA board will continue to work with. At the same time, the workgroup tirelessley worked to assess the quality of our doctoral courses and to make sure that the newly admitted doctoral students could receive a well-planned and useful introductory course.

To facilitate some social interaction, even during times of isolation, our social activities workgroup has done a wonderful job organising online trivia nights, hosting funny quizes and virtual mingles for the newly admitted doctoral students. They also organised interesting seminars with different vantages, such as the recent seminar on “What Can We Learn from the Pandemics of the Past for Our Future?”. The workgroup has more interesting events in the pipeline, to ward of feelings of loneliness during this holiday season.

All such activities could not take place without the help of two other fundamental workgroups. The PR workgroup has consistently shared information about our functioning, through updates on our social media, newsletters and on our upcoming new website. The student representatives workgroup has marvellously coordinated the network of all central and local doctoral student representatives, while constantly working to recruit new people and organising workshops about the important theme of student representation and supporting democratic and accessible elections.

A special mention to the DSA managerial team, without whom we couldn’t update our outdated regulations, keep track of our budget and protocols. They were key to having smooth meetings, and to collaborate between the different workgroups that have actively shared feedback and ideas with other KI, Stockholm- based and national organisations.

With that, I want to really thank all the members of the 2020 DSA board and all our doctoral student representatives, who have done their best to be sure that this unique and special year could end as nicely as possible for our wonderful community!

A deep thanks also to the KI Career Service and KICC, without whom many of our events could not happen, and to the MF Presidium who were always available to support our interactions with the KI leadership or address our concerns!

I wish all of you a wonderful holiday season and a joyful new year!

Yours Sincerely,

Mirco Martino – DSA Chairperson (2020)