Summer is approaching for the Northern Hemisphere. If you're like me, you use this time to revamp your resume/CV, update your personal website, and catch up on documentaries I have missed during the school year. These are a few of my other favorite things to do during the summer...
Take advantage of the university breaks to catch up on research. During the school year it can be hard to schedule in all the visits to the library/archives, other research institutions or other states/countries. If you can, try to conduct field research or work in the labs that might have piled up during the school year.
Use this time to work on manuscripts
Not only do academics have to conduct research and analyze the results, but they also have to write up what they found in their research. Seems easy, doesn't it? But the reality is that it can be quite time-consuming. The summer break can be a good time to write a manuscript, pour through edits, or finish work on a book chapter. Summer can be an ideal time for writing -- take advantage of it!
The majority of conferences happen during the summer holidays, and allow students, teachers, etc. to attend a number of events in the months of June, July and August. It's a great opportunity to meet new people, network, collaborate with colleagues, and share your research! If you can, try to take a few days before or after the conference to arrive to your destination and explore by yourself or with your family. A mini vacation (because conferences are aren't but)!
Preparing for the upcoming school year
prepare new courses for the next academic year. Running a new course involves starting from scratch: deciding what you want to teach and when, what the assessment will be, creating reading lists (if appropriate to your subject area) and putting together handbooks and other course materials. Many courses now include an online element, so you will also have to put together Web CT materials.
Even if you are not starting any new courses the summer period is a good time to revise and consolidate existing ones. Did your course run well last year? Is there anything you would like to change? Perhaps student feedback suggests that something didn't work and the summer holiday is the time to change that. Many lecturers like to update their reading lists at this time of year too, so anything that has been recently published can be added to your student handbooks and requested in the library.
But... don't forget you are also human. A person.
Yes, I know that we should take advantage of summer to better ourselves professionally... but don't miss out on summer just because of your career goals. Also do these things:
Self care: Do it
Buy the face/hair mask. Book the spa trip. Take a wine tour. Watch funny videos of The Muppet outtakes (seriously, I can't stop laughing) a hundred times or binge-watch a show. Whatever self-care is for YOU, remember to do it and take care of yourself.
Take the weekends off
This goes hand-in-hand with the below (unplug) but I try to do this outside of summer as well. While science is not a 9-to-5 job, try to give yourself days off like a regular job. Weekends are the best time to do activities (since many festivals and such as catered to Saturday & Sunday), so make sure to take advantage of these! trust me, taking a step away from your work is beneficial in the long run (aka you won't be as susceptible to burn out).
As someone who lives plugged up and constantly on social media, I try to unplug and not check Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. Thank goodness for scheduling apps, right? Constantly being on these can be damaging for your mental health and can get to be quite exhausting! Focus on the present and the now-- with your friends and family!
Enjoy time with family and friends
Taking weekends off and making sure you are unplugged allows you to enjoy time with your family and friends! Take a vacation with those you love most- be it a road trip or a short jaunt to a city near you.
How do you spend your summers?
Hi! I'm Melissa, an Australian-based Latina science educator, podcaster, and freelance writer. I spend a lot more time on Instagram and Twitter, but blogging is my first love. Thanks for stopping by — I hope you stay a while.
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