No summer for you!.. well, not really

Woohoo!!! Summer!!!! NOPE! So, what’s summer like when you’re working on your Ph.D? Yes, school kids have a lovely vacation during the summer months, but we are no longer kids. We work in education and research, but long gone are summer vacations.

During the summer, most Ph.D’s are doing two or more of the following:

  1. Writing/ working on papers
  2. Reading
  3. Attending conferences
  4. Working on experiments/ projects
  5. Fieldwork/ Research
  6. Writing grant proposals
  7. Taking a break when they can
  8. Spending more time with family
  9. Drinking
  10. Netflix, TV, etc.
  11. Doing some exciting shit!

During the summer months, a Ph.D. can get a lot of work done. You have no classes or teaching assignments and you can really get the mental space you need to focus, think, dream, and actually work. The weather is lovely and being inside sucks, but if you get the opportunity, you can work (write) outside. That’s what I love about the Ph.D., as long as I am not required to be in my lab, I can take my work anywhere with me.

During the summer months (June/ July/ August), most conferences take place. So time will be spent either fleshing out that long abstract that you submitted weeks or months ago. Oh yes, months ago, so you now have to figure out, “What the fuck did I write?” While cursing your way through responding to the reviewers, you will absolutely enjoy spending time with your thoughts and submitting a great paper to that conference. If the conference is in  a beautiful location – which most of them are – that too will motivate you to getting that shit done.

You may be using your summer to travel to your sites for fieldwork and data collection. For those whose sites are in other parts of the country, or other parts of the world, this means that the latter part of your Spring semester will involve packing and preparing for your trip. This can add some anxiety to your Spring semester. Bear that in mind. Pack all the shit you need, and most importantly, get your IRB approval done early – I will talk about this in another post.

Whether you are doing fieldwork on-site or working in your office, make time to do some exciting shit during the summer. I believe everyone should come back from the summer break with at least one great story! Make it happen! The Ph.D. is a very lonely process – I will write about this later too – so spend all the time you can with your family and friends. You need it. You may not think that you do, but you do, you need it. Use the time to find yourself again and attend to your health (mentally, physically, emotionally).

Enjoy your summer! Get work done, go to that conference in that awesome location, enjoy the outdoors, and spend time with those you love. Your summer will be fantastic!

Link to one of my favorite academic books – Becoming an Academic Writer by Patricia Goodson