Taking the summer "off"

I started my summer the way that I spent many evenings throughout the year, driving north on I-5 toward La Jolla. I was thinking to myself “what do I want to do with myself?” I had decided not to take summer classes, but what would I be doing exactly? As I pulled into my parking space, it occurred to me: I wanted to spend my summer living a life worth reflecting on. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but it felt right.Image
What it has meant so far is that I reconnected with some of my favorite things, watching movies, listening to music, reading for pleasure to name a few. I also had a lot of time to think about why I enjoyed these things. Spending that time also meant that I did not spend much time thinking about my research. Around the middle of July I met up with some friends that I haven’t seen in a few years. When they asked me about my work, I was able to talk about it without it feeling like a burden, or feeling tired of it. I felt excited about it, and after about 20 minutes I paused, noticed these feelings of excitement, and smiled.
I have also spent time working with USD’s Energy Policy Initiatives Center. We’ve been conducting interviews with various community leaders around San Diego, discussing the different ways that they see climate change’s impact on their communities. Observing the researchers conducting interviews and navigating IRB (Institutional Review Board) guidelines gave me a lot to think about in terms of my own academic career and furthering my own skills as a researcher and interviewer.
I know I’m not going to have every summer off, but I know that I needed this one. Getting ready for classes, starting a new position, and easing back into school has been a lot easier with a pause in the middle. It has also served as a reminder that, as much as our academic pursuits may feel like they need to be our entire lives, they don’t. They will still be there, and not being so tired of studying that, in my case, reading one more article would make my head explode, meant that I could do a better job of it when I came back.
The one other major event this summer was San Diego Comic-Con, but that’s an entirely separate blog post, except to say that if you have the opportunity to go, DO IT!

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