POSSIIM Virtual Self Care Day

Highlights from the day included yoga and a mental health workshop.

On the 8th of October, amongst the trials and tribulations of Melbourne’s sixth lockdown, the Postgraduate Student Society for Infection and Immunity (POSSIIM) held a series of virtual events to encourage students to take some time to care for themselves and each other.

116 honours, masters and PhD students signed up to receive care packages from POSSIIM. The care packages, ordered from The Melbourne Box, included things like scented candles, hot chocolate and gingerbread biscuits to help even the most stressed students feel a little bit calmer. The self-care day included three virtual events, a yoga session, a Mental Health Workshop with Dr Shane Huntington and virtual drinks. Students were encouraged to take the day off if possible and use the time between events to do something nice for themselves to decompress, such as going for a walk, reading, or enjoying something from their care package.

The current POSSIIM president, Daniel Rawlinson, says “the day went well” despite the “difficulty at the moment to reach out to students and elicit engagement” during the Covid-19 pandemic. “I really feel that it was all worthwhile even if an in person event would have brought more people along.”

POSSIIM Execs getting ready for the day. Clockwise from top left: Charlie Higgs (Vice-President), Magnus Jespersen (Treasurer), Adrianna Turner (Secretary), Daniel Rawlinson (President)

Yoga Session

The day began with 20 students joining the virtual morning yoga session.

Yoga Session to start the day


30 students attended the Mental Health and Communication Workshop with Dr Shane Huntington, funded by the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity. POSSIIM president Daniel Rawlinson, reflecting on the event said,

The workshop in particular was well received and contained really practical advice for research students. Tips included how to craft your message for presentation, how to seek and handle feedback, and how to combat imposter syndrome.

Welcoming Dr Shane Huntington to Self Care Day before the workshop

Shane delivering a workshop on mental health and communication to students

The Self Care Day also included a brief presentation on resources available from the University for those struggling financially, academically, or psychologically due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

The POSSIIM committee, with the help of the Comms team at the Doherty Institute, recorded a message of encouragement from Professor Peter Doherty. Acknowledging the difficulties of lockdown, Peter Doherty’s encouragement to research students was heart-warming,

I know it’s been tough on a lot of you guys… you’re living through a very significant event in history, you are going to carry this with you and you are going to carry lessons from it with you through your life.

Who can join POSSIIM?

Microbiology, Infection or Immunity graduate research students at the University of Melbourne. POSSIIM is based at the Doherty Institute, but membership and events extend to students outside of the Institute as well.

How to join


Join the POSSIIM Facebook Group