Summer, Summer, Summertime!
What does summer look like for you? I am always trying to maximize my summer, however there is a harsh contrast between my pure zeal for summer vacation as a teacher and the surreal feeling of how fleeting summer is as a doc student. Let’s take a look at my summers past...
Summer 1 - Work, Work, Work
The first summer after my first year as a doc student, I put in that work! It was the first time in the last decade that I didn’t make time for a beach vacation. Beach vacations, preferably in a Spanish speaking country, have been a staple in my summers past. So while I was able to create amazing and meaningful connections to students and faculty in my program, I did not make it to the beach. What a bummer. I did, however, spend tons of time with friends and family, and even challenged myself to a 21 day workout reset, which left me feeling invigorated and ready for the upcoming academic year.
Summer 2 - CoronaVirus & Cancering While Black
The second summer was rough and beautiful in the most unexpected ways. My brother went to the emergency room on May 8. He was diagnosed with Stage IV Colon Cancer on May 14th. On May 24th I was suited in my hazmat suit on my way home. On May 25th George Floyd was murdered. That same week was when the COVID crisis seemed to be getting closer. First it was just on the news, but then I knew of a cousin who contracted it, or a friend of a friend’s mom who was in the hospital. It was beginning to be too close for comfort. It was this summer that everything that could hit, did hit, all at the same time. My brother’s cancer diagnosis, George Floyd’s murder, and the height of the Coronavirus Pandemic, all while I was teaching a new prep summer course, and taking a summer course. Difficult, to say the least, but the silver lining was how much quality time I had with my brother. I felt as though I was failing as a student, and as an adjunct professor, but I was Ace-ing being a big sister during crisis.
Summer 3 - Defend MY Proposal
As I am currently in the summer after completion of coursework, and the summer before dissertating, I am reminded of how slow-but-fast it all goes. This summer has been busy and rough. I am staying busy and capitalizing on some opportunities that have come my way, while also planning to defend my proposal by the end of July, all while teaching three courses. This summer I am teaching Research-Based Pedagogy for Diverse Learners, Intro to Research and Writing at the Graduate Level, and Elementary Literacy & Content Methods. Yes, it's a lot, and all this as I continue to find my way of carrying the weight of grief. This is the first summer without my brother, and I am feeling the impact of his absence hard, especially when I take a break from all the work that helps distract me. While I am working hard, I am also planning for my reflection & reset time. Once I successfully defend my proposal, I am heading back East to spend time with family and friends, and treating myself to some fancy spa services.
Summer 4 - Graduation World Tour
Next summer you say? Thanks for asking. I will be embarking on a Graduation World Tour! After being a student for WAY too many years, I will be celebrating the accomplishment of becoming Dr. Barton near and far. Stay tuned for the tour lineup! Maybe I’ll be coming to a city near you, lol! Lord willing, I will have secured a tenure-track professor gig and after I come off of my tour will take some much needed time to reflect, rest, and reset for my journey to begin in the professoriate.
Your Summer: Advice to New Doc Students
My advice to any new doc student is design your summers with YOU in mind. There are many ways to be productive, and they are not all scholarly. Yes, get some work done, but also spend time with friends and family, visit new places near and far, and do some goal setting and planning. Rest and enjoy yourself.