In the moment, I wouldn’t say quals was fun. I was in a moderate state of panic for the six weeks leading up to exams, and a last minute schedule change (that pushed my exams forward by five days) sent me into sheer terror.
I can’t say I would recommend doing a PhD during a pandemic. At least, not one that involves travel and working alongside other people. But, a year in, I am doing some reflection on all the ways my research plans and processes have changed, for better and for worse.