Classes are over (for the moment), and summer is just around the corner. And now, a chance to take a deep breath and recuperate from the frenetic pace of the fall and winter terms. Time to waste long moments of time (moments, not hours or days). A chance to hit the road, find a beach, take a long hike in a forest, reconnect with friends, go to the gym, read a book. Sit in a café or in a park without carefully watching the time. An opportunity to slow time, to suspend motion. Sit for hours, in awe, at the Grand Canyon (last summer – what an inspired way to destress).
There is, of course, a compulsion to be productive, but at a more relaxed pace. Read new articles that were shelved during the winter, write and attempt to publish an article (hopefully two). Join a reading or writing group – perhaps both. The opportunity to do all of this without the pressure of work and a full course load is quite exhilarating. Setting manageable daily goals, with free time liberally inserted into the “to do” lists. Daily planning with a focus on specific, well-defined small goals. Time spent away from the dissertation (well, a bit of time anyway). Work two to three hours per day (four or five if I’m on a roll), take weekends OFF, with no guilt or sense of wasted time. There it is again – the luxury of wasting time.
Managing summer days as a graduate student is a balance between relaxation and productivity. Getting enough done so that the fall and winter terms are less stressful, while enjoying the sense or perception, of living stress free. Taking the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful weather, and the somewhat relaxed pace. Sounds like perfection.