This summer was full of hard work, discipline, and learning more about the dedication it will take to complete a dissertation. I took two classes, one of which was an independent study. Additionally, I split the week working at my assistantship and at a research center on campus. Despite the hard work, there were moments that I had to escape to find a balance. Lo and behold, in came a trip to my home state of Virginia!!
I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the town of my undergraduate institution and walk around campus. I mean, this is where it all began! The focus, the dedication, the fun…. It was wonderful to take my parents on a tour of my old campus as I pretended to still know the name of every building on campus. (By the way, I failed since there was new construction.)
I think there are times in graduate school where we forget just how important it is to take breaks away to recharge and refuel ourselves. Summers are great opportunities to refocus before the new year. I found it refreshing and necessary to spend time with my family.
A second trip included one of intentional isolation and fun! My family takes annual trips together and this year we got a cabin in Gaitlinsburg, Tennessee. The majestic mountains, crisp air, amazing outdoor activities, and bonding time was truly the highlight of my summer. I actually plan to come back here next year. Being in an isolate place, there was no internet and limited cell phone use which was the best part of the entire vacation. I was forced to step away from all virtual responsibilities and focus on reconnecting with my family.
I feel recharged and ready for what will be the most challenging and exciting time of my academic career. I look forward to tackling new projects and beginning my dissertation. Remember: Your brain may sometimes need a break. So take it!