3.25 Minutes With… Submissions

Research is, in the best of times, a rigorous and complicated process, one that is often marked by stress, anxiety, and loneliness. This has been especially the case with the COVID-19 pandemic, and particularly in the case for graduate students.  

Graduate students are in a uniquely precarious position in the academy, often expected to teach, volunteer, and research with limited institutional support. Rates of graduate student burnout have increased sharply during the pandemic, and more than ever we are asking questions about how research can be conducted safely, productively, and sustainably on the front lines of academic work. The Center for 21st Century Studies (C21) will spotlight how graduate students have responded to this contemporary challenge through our new methods-focused 3.25 Minutes With… Podcast channel. Some questions we seek to explore through audio storytelling this year include: 

  • How do you conduct research in a global pandemic?  
  • What institutional and personal structures, systems, and/or practices have helped make the research process sustainable? 
  • What issues—including loneliness—have you had to deal with that either arose during or were exacerbated by the pandemic?  

You may answer these questions, connect your submission to one of the Lonely No More! Roundtables, or respond generally to the topics of isolation, loneliness, and connection in research in an audio recording of up to 3 minutes and 15 seconds. Submissions will be considered for both the 3.25 Minutes With.. Podcast (audio) and publication in a forthcoming C21 publication on the cultural dimensions of loneliness called “Lonely No More!” (a written transcript). 

With this multimodal publication model in mind, we ask participants to submit both a transcript of the story (.pdf) and an audio clip of that story being told verbally (.mp3). Deadline for submissions are TBA!


If you desire to answer this question with a different form of expression, you may also want to consider our Lonely No More! Call for Creative Contributions (music, artwork, and craftwork submissions considered for in-person exhibition and publication). 


  • A three-minute story would translate into approximately 450-500 words of text. You may want to write your story first, and then tell it verbally. 
  • You can record your audio AND create a transcript (if you do not write the story first) via Zoom. Find a quiet place and use headphones (particularly if your computer has audio notifications). 
    • Open personal Zoom Room. 
    • Click “Enable Live Transcript” at the bottom of the Zoom screen.  
    • Click “Record to Cloud” at the bottom of the screen. This will save all files in “Recordings” in your Zoom account. 
    • Use the .mp3 file saved (audio). 
    • You can copy/paste the .vtt file into a Word document to edit the transcript. 
    • You may decide to edit audio files in GarageBand or another audio-based software. Be sure to submit your story as an .mp3.