Hello Everyone, I am Raj (Rajyashree) Sundaram - great to be a part of RVoice
I am Raj (Rajyashree) Sundaram, a materials science researcher based at a national institute in Japan. I am delighted to be a part of a community like Rvoice that aims to discuss mental health in academia. My core position on mental health in academia is that systemic issues external to individual researchers affect individual researchers' mental health and their performances. My goal on this platform is to serve persistent reminders of this position and stress on the need to create fairer, more open, transparent, honest, compassionate and empathetic academic workplaces and communities. I feel that this is an aspect that tends to be sidelined in a world where the recipe of success and happiness boil down to asking individuals to "work a bit harder, love themselves a bit more, make better choices, not give up a bit longer". I used to be a believer and proponent of "self-reliance/self-management irrespective of external circumstances" for a long time myself. However, with first hand experiences and observation, I have come to increasingly doubt this stance. I now believe that the system - resource/opportunity allocation, aspects like work hours/job security, mentoring and support-systems are as vital as if not more vital than individual virtues (talent, proactiveness, hardwork, being nice and a team player, etc.). A better system is the sureshot way to tap into talent pools and bring out the best in individuals. This core philosophy of mine is often reflected in my posts that tend to be a bit contrarian.
When I am not being contrarian [and dissing neoliberal individualism 😜], I enjoy reading. History, philosophy, psychology and sociology are my favorite topics. Other learning pursuits include Japanese language and culture (history). I also love watching socially-themed documentaries and late-night talk shows - Adam Curtis and John Oliver are my current favorties. Jon Stewart and George Carlin are my all time favourites. Besides intellectual/mental pursuits, I love making friends with puppies on walk and their hoomans who are forced to tag along 😁. Driven by a nomadic - almost cavewoman spirit, I enjoy long distance solo running, swimming, hiking and walking-around-all-day-with-a-backpack-doesnt-matter-where enjoying the beauty of nature and/or human spirit.
With experience in managing PTSD (and related depressive symptoms) - I am currently training part-time to be a trauma-centered therapist.
My future vision is a world where we together create communities through which we look out for and support each other to bring out the best in each of us for the future of the planet and ourselves.