Connected Conversations | Jocelyne Mulangala

We chatted with PhD student, heart researcher, STEM enthusiast and, fitness fan, Jocelyne Mulangala, about how the goals set earlier this year have kept her grounded during the recent months and how she is staying motivated. She has also learned some new skills in the process, read more in our latest Connected Conversations.

Jocelyne Mulangala

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Jocelyne but you can call me Jocie. I’m a PhD student at the University of Adelaide living with my family in the northern suburbs of Adelaide. I am also a personal care worker, working in a nursing home and I absolutely love spending time looking after the elderly. This is one of the things that pushed me to pursue my PhD in research, as I often witness the burden that diseases can have on an individual’s quality of life. Apart from studying, I spend time creating content for my Instagram science blog called the.science_catapillar where I share my research life with the wider community. This is a little venture of mine which I started in 2018 mainly to help empower and motivate girls of all ages and from minority groups to pursue careers in STEM. My PhD research is in the field of cardiovascular diseases, investigating how too much calcium in the body can affect our body’s ability to form blood vessels (angiogenesis) and how this is regulated in cardiovascular diseases. I am currently in my fourth year of my PhD and soon to complete.

What do you hope will be one of the enduring changes to University life in the future?

Covid-19 has taught me a lot about how a moving forward, we could consider alternative options for studying, whether it be online, particularly for those individuals with different learning skills and for those living in rural or remote areas who cannot easily attend face-to-face sessions.

Have you felt any pressure to make this time ‘more’ productive?

YES! During Covid-19, it seems like there was so much societal pressure to ‘be productive’ and ‘learn new skills’. I believe we’re all built differently and can handle situations differently. For myself, I’ve been able to focus on the goals that I set for myself pre-coronavirus, and this is something that has kept me grounded the whole time and eased off the pressure a little.

Have you learned any new skills during this time that you will be adding to your CV?

During this time, I taught myself how to ‘manually’ take blood pressure without the electronic blood pressure machine, something I’ve wanted to learn for a very long time.

Are you doing anything new or special to keep yourself motivated?

As a student, motivation comes and goes, daily. On days when I lack motivation, I like to remind myself of why I started and what I’m currently doing and use this as motivation to move forward. I’ve also begun to ‘reward myself whenever I tick things off my ‘to-do list’ with a movie and this motivates me to keep going because it’s the little things that count!

Quick fire questions!

Getting dressed for work or staying in pj’s?

Both (depending on the mood)!

Needing colleagues to bounce ideas off of or loving the quiet to get into the zone?

Needing colleagues.

Uber Eats or home cooked meals?

Uber eats.

Baking your own sourdough or eating what’s left in the freezer?

Eating what’s left!

Scheduled vs unscheduled?

Definitely scheduled (organisation is key for everything).

Reading or binge-watching Netflix?

Binge watching Netflix.

Good weather makes it easier working from home or bad weather?

Bad weather always makes working from home nicer.

Name three things you won’t miss about this current moment in time.

Not being able to go to the gym (we take this for granted sometimes!)

The quiet and ghost-like streets of little ol’ R’adelaide

The crazy searching for toilet paper!

And the three things you won’t forget…

How precious it is to spend time with your loved ones

That ‘nothing in life is permanent’ except change

It’s OK to have bad days. We all experienced them during Covid-19!

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