What's your "lollipop moment"? β€” R Voice

What's your "lollipop moment"?

Shruti Turner
Shruti Turner Member Posts: 199 ✭✭✭✭
edited July 8 in Everything & Anything

Okay, I'm not talking about actual sweets (or maybe we could be πŸ€”) but the metaphorical kind. Just bear with me...it'll make sense in a moment..

I recently saw this meme, which has been floating around academic social media...which, to be honest, is relevant for most stages of academic life!

This then got me thinking about the little things each and every one of us can do to help out others in academia to help create a supportive community and try to eliminate toxic behaviours and competition. The little things we can do, no matter what our level/rank could make the world of difference to someone's state of mind and have long-lasting impacts. This then reminded me of this quick TedTalk that I just love...about lollipops (see the thread title was relevant!)

We're all busy with our own research and often we feel completely isolated and like we have to do everything ourselves, so there's little time perhaps to see what's happening around us. Could one small thing you do potentially change someone's journey? Has this ever happened to you?

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Comments

  • Gustavo Arluna
    Gustavo Arluna Member Posts: 51 ✭✭✭

    I think what you said is true and I experimented it in my academic life, but I must say that not all people were toxic or didn't want to share their knowledge. I found some good friends with whom we worked together and share all the information we had no matter if we were in the same team.

    I also want to highlight the informatics world, because they learned how to make active communities for sharing information and helping each other, usually for free except that you require a personal mentorship. Those communities use to be so friendly. For example, yesterday I just made a comment in a forum about my problems for working with linux and I started to receive tens of messages trying to help me or offering me information available on internet. Today I am still receiving advices and encouraging messages because they want me to join to the Linux team (you know, Linux users don't like Windows).

    This R Voice platform may be a good way of changing that toxic environment among researchers/scientific world/academic world, etc., and we can start a global community with different values focused on human well-being and not toxic competition.

  • Gustavo Arluna
    Gustavo Arluna Member Posts: 51 ✭✭✭

    I fully agree with you @Shruti Turner

    I experienced that toxic environment full of egos and selfish people on my academic life, although I also found some good friends that we helped each other and share our information to each other no matter if we were in the same team or not (sometimes we weren't even in the same college).

    I also want to highlight the informatics community, because they learned how to make very active communities where they help each other and share information for free, except that you need a personal mentorship. So, they discovered that working that way they are more productive and they really make things that make an impact on everyone's life.

    For example, yesterday I just made a comment in a poll in a Telegram group about the operative system that we use, and I answered that I use Windows and that I tried to use Linux (Ubuntu) but I had some booting problems. From that comment on I started to receive tens of messages offering me advices, online information and help. I am still receiving messages today. So, I think they are a good example of active and solidary community. (By the way, they want me to join Linux because Linux users don't like Windows).

    I think this R Voice platform is a good way for starting a global community with different values focused on human well-being instead of being toxic and selfish. Let's do it!

  • Shruti Turner
    Shruti Turner Member Posts: 199 ✭✭✭✭

    @Gustavo Arluna I'm sorry to hear that you experienced a toxic work environment, but I am so pleased to hear there was a supportive network you could find good friends. It's weird how these things happen sometimes...

    I love love your anecdote about the informatics community! It's so nice to have the people come out and show the loud minority promoting competition and judgement can be silent by the quieter majority offering support. I am familiar with the tensions between users of different OS and it baffles me sometimes. I prefer a Unix environment without the intricacies of Linux (I'm a mac lover)...but I get why people might prefer windows...kind of. Haha. No, in seriousness, everyone has a preference and I am a believer of learning and understanding our differences (in any context) rather than fighting over irrelevant things or pushing people into our own ways.

    I agree that this platform is a great place to start building the academic/research environment that so many of us strive for!

  • Shruti Turner
    Shruti Turner Member Posts: 199 ✭✭✭✭

    I find it interesting how things on our mind seem to be everywhere once them come to us...here's a Twitter thread that just came up on my feed about kindness and supportiveness is Academia. As is no suprose for those familiar with ZoΓ«'s account...she sums this up wonderfully.


  • Gustavo Arluna
    Gustavo Arluna Member Posts: 51 ✭✭✭

    She really has the ability to sum things up. Very important on Twitter. I don't usually use Twitter, but last time that I tried I found that there is a limit for the characters you can write. So, not the best platform for me! 🀭

    (By the way, I think I went out of the main topic, sorry! πŸ˜…)

  • Shruti Turner
    Shruti Turner Member Posts: 199 ✭✭✭✭

    @Gustavo Arluna - Yes, Twitter still has a character limit...I find it has helped me to be more concise at times (not that you would think it from my responses on here!!) I find it's the platform where my research community are, so it was a needs must situation...now a great source of procrastination!


    (No worries, I think we got off topic together!)

  • Raj sundaram
    Raj sundaram Member Posts: 283 ✭✭✭✭
    edited July 9

    The one small thing I wish people would do - especially friends/coworkers/family of those stuck in toxic work environments/difficult life experiences that could change the suffering person's journey is realize there is something called Toxic positivity and NOT offer toxic positivity.

    Instead, people can show empathy and ask simple questions.

    like "How are you doing", mean the question and listen to the answer attentively.

    And also ask "What can I do that might help?"

    My "lollipop moments"...

    Hmm....I've sometimes found small rays of sunshine in very dark moments because I looked for it. Rather I was forced to look for any light - as a survival mechanism.

    Sometimes, I was lucky to have rays of sunshine appear (as kindness, usually) randomly from complete strangers, without me looking or asking for it.

    One recent "sunshine moment"...I went solo-bicycling around Japan's largest lake. It was a 200 km circuit. The trip was a mixed bag of an experience. There were some good bits, but the journey was painful for various stupid reasons related to stupidity of human beings πŸ™„ (in addition to the obvious fact that 200 km of bicycling was not going to be "pain-free" anywayπŸ˜…). I ended the trip on my birthday and went in to return the bicycle and for an ice-cream at the same shop.

    (I had filled in a form when I borrowed the bicycle, which included my date of birth for insurance purposes, which I presumed no one cares about unless there is an accident).

    However, the shop owners HAD noticed the date and gave me a bunch of candies and conveyed their heartfelt birthday wishes. Kind of made my day....and reminded me that life can be full of surprises and rays of sunshine can appear randomly. It didnt change my journey. But it made me smile a bit through my grumpiness and the physical pain. That is life.😊

  • Shruti Turner
    Shruti Turner Member Posts: 199 ✭✭✭✭

    @Raj sundaram - you're totally right about the impact of genuine interaction and care about others! Again, something I feel is lacking in the world...like when people in small talk at the beginning of a meeting or in an email ask how you are it just feels like a formality. What they're wanting is a "all good thanks, how are you?" no matter what is actually going on in your life!

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE your story, it's made me so happy. The care to notice that it's your birthday and not just smile to themselves but acknowledge it with you is wonderful. I'm not one to care much for my birthday, but that would make me so happy.

    I would argue that it did change your journey because it changed your outlook on the path you were on. Maybe I'm being too philosophical here, but I do believe ur outlook and feelings at a given time to influence our journey forward!

  • Gustavo Arluna
    Gustavo Arluna Member Posts: 51 ✭✭✭

    @Shruti Turner yes, Twitter is a relevant social media. But I am not active in Twitter and Facebook (and I still don't have Instagram and TikTok) so I think I am missing some fun. But I am full active in communities like this, WhatsApp and Telegram. And even in YouTube commenting videos.

    @Raj sundaram what a nice happy ending story!

    When I am so tired, or whatever other bad feeling I like to go to the yard/garden at my house and look at the plants, a tree that I have there, I also doing compost by recycling organic remains of food, and some little things like that in the small nature I have calms me down. I think that's my lollipop moment. Or one of them. This community is becoming another lollipop moment ❀️

  • Shruti Turner
    Shruti Turner Member Posts: 199 ✭✭✭✭

    @Gustavo Arluna Oh gosh, TikTok is another world to me. I don't think I have ever encountered it other than when people post TikTok videos on other platforms...does that make me out of touch with the kids?! I think social media has got to be used in a way that works for us, else it can become a really dangerous/toxic space. I'm definitely a believer in doing what is right for you!

  • Gustavo Arluna
    Gustavo Arluna Member Posts: 51 ✭✭✭

    @Shruti Turner I don't imagine myself on TikTok...πŸ˜…

    I couldn't even open an Instagram account, and if I cannot follow Twitter or Facebook I don't think it would be a good idea for me to open accounts that I will never use.

    While writing this I feel like an old guy 🀭

  • Raj sundaram
    Raj sundaram Member Posts: 283 ✭✭✭✭

    Haha...@Shruti Turner

    Yep. It is so sad that these days "how are you" is a greeting. People reply with "how are you"! πŸ˜‘ the worse question that really sets me off is "what's up" as a greeting. I know...I sound like I am over 60...πŸ˜‚

    But the question irritates me. What does it EVEN MEAN!!! Its a travesty to the language, logic and to humanity. 😀 πŸ˜‚

    Yes - it was a pleasant surprise. And I do see where you are coming in with "outlook and feelings at a given time to influence our journey forward!". I'd rather argue that the dominant after-taste left by collective experiences influences a person's journey and worldview. This logic partly explains why cynicism is my default outlook (when I ask myself why am I cynical). I used to be EXTREMELY cynical...but have now tempered it to a level that works for me, its a sort of protection from disappointment.

    It was this measured cynicism that actually made people - strangers noticing my birthday from a dull form a pleasant experience amidst grumpiness and pretty bad physical pain. Because it was unexpected, and not the norm. On the other hand, "birthday wishes" on Facebook (when I used to be on Facebook and when I used to "share" my birthday with "friends") used to SUCK for exactly the same reason..

    (in addition to other reasons stemming to the unpalatable points of social media culture and my human nature...πŸ˜‚).

  • Shruti Turner
    Shruti Turner Member Posts: 199 ✭✭✭✭
    edited July 9

    OMG I'm so glad you wrote that @Raj sundaram ! When I wrote my post I actually originally wrote it with the greeting of "whats up?" because I hate it so much. Am I meant to answer? Am I meant to say it back? What is the appropriate response?! Please let's be 60 together!

    Ooh, I just can't even convey how much I agree with you here. On this sort of thing, my go to phrase is "track record"...I base my current feelings/assumptions/reactions on experiences in the past and far far more than any words people say. (Perhaps a fault, which I am trying to work on...like you I am more tempted than I used to be) I will give everyone/situation a fair chance but once that trust is lost, it's going to take a lot to make my default position to be different....

    Don't even get me started on Facebook birthday messages...I feel the same about group chat (e.g. Whatsapp) wishes. It's not like all those people actually knew or cares that it is a birthday/celebration or whatever...but one person starts it and everyone else follows. It just feels so insincere. Urgh. People ask what the difference is between this and a calendar reminder...but to me it's about pre-meditated effort. Did they want to try and remember the occasion or are they just doing it now it's convenient?

    (I sound like such an intolerant, rude and grumpy so and so....I apologise!)

  • Kakoli Majumder
    Kakoli Majumder Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 92 admin

    This is such a beautiful thread! Thanks for starting this conversation @Shruti Turner! I simply love the term "lollipop moments" and I'm blessed to have my life filled with them recently. I moved back to my old house in Mumbai recently. The house had remained locked for nearly two years, and you can imagine the amount of dust and dirt that had accumulated. To make matters worse, the air conditioners and fans were not working and even the windows were jammed. But then my friend called to check in on me and on hearing my predicament, was at my door within 15 minutes. The security guards of the building, the local plumbers, electricians were all so helpful and supportive. Friends brought food, neighbors provided basic grocery to support me for a couple days. It is times such as these that bring out the best in people and show how much of a difference little acts of kindness can make!

    During my student life, there are two "lollipop moments" I'll never forget. When I started my Master's in English Literature, I needed to buy a lot of books. Back then, things hadn't gone online and we needed physical copies of books. Borrowing them from libraries would mean being able to keep them only for a couple of weeks, and I needed many of these books to remain with me till the end of the two-year course. To be honest, it wasn't financially viable for me, after having paid the course fees, to spend so much on buying books. An elderly uncle stepped in and borrowed a trunk full of books from a friend of his who was a retired professor. I actually remember going with him to his friend's house and coming back happy and teary-eyed lugging the huge old-fashioned trunk with me! When I returned it after my course was over, he asked me to choose one book as a keepsake. I am still a proud owner of his copy of the complete works of Shakespeare that's nearly a hundred years old!

    The second lollipop moment was on the day of the final exam results. A few of us were sitting on the steps of our school building, biting our nails in anxiety. A senior professor noticed this as he was walking past and asked how we were feeling. He spoke briefly and walked out of the campus, only to come back a few minutes later with a bagful of ice-lollies. He then sat with us for a good 30 minutes as we polished off the lollies, calming us with his reassuring presence! A pleasant memory that always brings a smile to my face! :D

  • Raj sundaram
    Raj sundaram Member Posts: 283 ✭✭✭✭

    @Gustavo Arluna - indeed, not a bad ending. ☺️

    @Shruti Turner - 🀣😜That was some heavy bitching for a Friday evening. Hope you had a good weekend. Yes, I am glad I found another 60 year old trapped in a younger body. Absolutely no need to apologize! Looks like we share many ideas about the social culture we find ourselves in. Good to know that I am not the only one. πŸ˜‰

    "I will give everyone/situation a fair chance but once that trust is lost, it's going to take a lot to make my default position to be different...." and your take on Facebook messages - completely relate! I dont think your and my views are intolerant. If this is intolerance, its the right kind of intolerance in my opinion. It is important to critically assess and if need be oppose and express opposition to anything that erodes genuine and deep human connection, which is essential for our collective survival as a species. 🀨

  • Raj sundaram
    Raj sundaram Member Posts: 283 ✭✭✭✭

    Awesome stories, @Kakoli Majumder . These are things that remind us that humanity exists and is thriving😊.

  • Shruti Turner
    Shruti Turner Member Posts: 199 ✭✭✭✭

    @Raj sundaram It was definitely a cathartic session! It's been a lovely weekend thanks - hope yours was good too and you're ready for Monday! It feels good to find a like-minded soul :)

  • Shruti Turner
    Shruti Turner Member Posts: 199 ✭✭✭✭

    @Kakoli Majumder Thank you for sharing your three wonderful experiences with us. This cold-hearted girl is actually feeling a bit emotional at the care and thought of these actions. I'm so pleased you have these memories and experiences, in a world where it's easy to see the dark, these are clear moments of light. Thank you.

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 315 admin

    @Shruti Turner WOW! Now watching that 6-minute TedTalk was the best possible way for me to start my week! Thank you so much for sharing this with us! πŸ€—

    It's going to help me be more attentive to these "lollipop moments." I feel like I've already witnessed several of these happen within our community and it's making me very happy! I'm going to spend some time reflecting on this and if possible, go back to the people who've had such an impact on me and express my heartfelt gratitude to them. I just wanted to stop and say this before I read any comments on this thread. πŸ™‚

  • Shruti Turner
    Shruti Turner Member Posts: 199 ✭✭✭✭

    @Andrea Hayward No problem - I do love that TedTalk too! It's a great one for the start of the week, as it's so full of optimism :)

    It's a really good point...I feel it can be so easy to sail past these "lollipop moments" in pursuit of the next best thing or because we are dwelling on some more of the negatives. I think I'll join you in that active reflection and see if I notice the impacts on myself and others too.

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 315 admin
    edited July 12

    @Raj sundaram You already know how I feel about toxic positivity from one of our previous conversations here on R Voice. I fully stand by what you said here - "mean the question and listen to the answer attentively." We really need to stop asking how people are doing if we're not REALLY inquiring and if it's just meant to be a 2-sentence pleasantry that ends with a hollow "I'm fine." πŸ˜•

    I came across something similar on Twitter that I thought you might like to see 😊

    Your lollipop moment/birthday story is so lovely! Moments like these always get me 😍

  • Shruti Turner
    Shruti Turner Member Posts: 199 ✭✭✭✭
    edited July 12

    YES YES! This is exactly it. Thank you @Andrea Hayward for sharing. The power of a short phrase is amazing and so very important.

  • Raj sundaram
    Raj sundaram Member Posts: 283 ✭✭✭✭

    @Shruti Turner Weekend was good...

    And catharsis is a good process to clean up....

    Yep - same here....it feels good to meet people with resonating ideas and intentions. πŸ€—

  • Raj sundaram
    Raj sundaram Member Posts: 283 ✭✭✭✭

    Indeed, @Andrea Hayward - our views on toxic positivity match. And as @Kakoli Majumder mentioned in our thread on Toxic Positivity, I think it all boils down to what the person in pain feels and how we communicate our care and intentions to soothe and support.

    I dont have an issue per se with "Yeah me too..." But would prefer a prelude of "its hard". I would prefer the "Yeah me too..." to be followed by "What can I do to support?" or an open-ended question that has a tone of concern and exploration.

    I certainly dont want the "Me too" to be followed by "advice" tinged by any level of condescension/insult to intelligence by stating the obvious.

    I really dont want "advice" that goes somewhat like "this worked for me" (usually, something that the person has already thought) - further followed by "its going to work for you - you just have to try harder..."

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 315 admin

    @Raj sundaram I think I've fully understood my own issues with "Yeah, me too" only after reading your comment. The "Yeah, me too" makes me quite uncomfortable, especially if it's followed by hollow advice or worse -- makes the person feel bad with comparative phrases like "it could be worse" or "you just have to try harder; I got over this in x weeks."

  • Soumi Paul
    Soumi Paul Member Posts: 134 ✭✭✭✭

    Truly, Ph.D. is a self-dependent journey (However, the bright side is it brings out one's leadership qualities). When I began my journey as a researcher, there was none for me to explain about this journey, its outcome, explaining the do's and don'ts of it. It's good that I am self-learning it all. But, sometimes, I wish there were someone or some system to guide me.

    It did not take me much time to realize that many aspirants come from a background with zero ideas about the Ph.D. process and research. They come with a passion for exploration. And then, after not understanding the process with so many confusions, many leave.

    It also did not take me much time to realize that if a person wishes to help, s/he can help irrespective of the professional position (and vice versa).

    My position allowed and allows me to provide academic networking, knowledge sharing, doubt clearing via discussions. So, I did all since the beginning and will happily share academic resources in the future. Always clinging to the hope that it would help an aspirant or a researcher stick to the passion.

  • Shruti Turner
    Shruti Turner Member Posts: 199 ✭✭✭✭

    @Andrea Hayward @Raj sundaram - your exchange has really articulated some things I think about too. I am all for people saying "yeh, me too" or "I get it" if they actually do. I am all about mutual support, but it really has to me genuine. I find now that a lot of people default to "yeah, I get that" when actually they don't at all, it's just the lazy-person's response because they don't want to have a conversation. It's then feels even worse to get the "advice" or "solution" words afterwards. Sometimes, there needs to be a space for difficulties to be aired and sympathised with, without an answer immediately.

    Between me and my sister, we know which of our parents to go to when we need different support. My dad will provide solutions and pragmatic support, my mum will do what we call "there there-ing" where she will just listen and support before going onto solutions when the emotional part is less sore. We have learned to prep my dad at the beginning of the conversation if he happens to pick up the phone to make sure he knows what is expected in that moment πŸ˜‚

  • Shruti Turner
    Shruti Turner Member Posts: 199 ✭✭✭✭

    @Soumi Paul It's great to hear that you've used your difficult experiences to create a positive environment for others and even that you are seeing the bright side of them! I feel like your words have really highlighted that we can think of our experiences in all the bad lights, or look for the positives of what we have gained from the less-than-ideal circumstances and how we can change this for others.

  • Soumi Paul
    Soumi Paul Member Posts: 134 ✭✭✭✭

    True. I always go ahead with the thought, what I have faced none else should face. So I try to be the help that once I looked for. My small efforts may or may not change a person's life, but they surely will create hope. The hope should be transmitted. That's the basic requirement of living. πŸ™‚

  • Raj sundaram
    Raj sundaram Member Posts: 283 ✭✭✭✭
    edited July 14

    Haha....@Shruti Turner . Love what you say about your mum and dad - especially, priming dad to what is needed so that things dont go awry. πŸ˜…

    I guess its different, when you know there is care and effort - which is the case in functional families, friendships and professional relationships. I probably wouldnt mind cold practical solutions as far as I KNOW there is care. By knowing there is care - I mean, the care has been established with a track record of effort and actions and there is trust. If not trust, at the least reciprocity, basic and genuine respect and humanity. Because I tend(ed) to be very caring, effortful, proactively giving, etc. but got hit even at the level of reciprocity several times. (I have now become a bit more careful about effort and emotional investment on anything related to humans)πŸ˜….

    I think trustworthy relationships are REALLY hard to come by, even in families let alone friendships or professional scenarios. I would hazard to extend this to even reciprocity as well as genuine respect and humanity. πŸ™‚

    I for one cherish brief moments of humanity and reciprocity. In terms of trust, I have come to expect the worst in humans.πŸ˜… I am usually either not disappointed i.e., my forecast comes true or am pleasantly surprised with better behaviour (a bit rarer than the former). Either way a win-win. Oh, the cynical (mild (?) ) misanthrope in me. 🀣

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