Making the Most out of Summer During Graduate School
July 18, 2019
Summer is here and your instinct might be to kick back and relax and do as little work as possible on your thesis or dissertation – after all, you want to actually enjoy your summer, right? Well…yes and no. While it’s true that summer can be a great time to recharge after a hectic and busy semester or two, summer is also a great time to get ahead with your work and personal/professional development. It’s all about balance. While you can squeeze in some more down time and fun, you shouldn’t forget about your academic career, either.
Here are some things you can do to help make the most of your summer while still having fun.
We’re being a little cheeky here, but this could encompass a lot of things. Does your email inbox overwhelm you? Clean it out, catch up on emails, and get organized. This will be a big help come fall. Are you behind in the reading you’d like to do for your research? Take advantage of the summer to make some headway with suggested readings, articles you’ve started to set aside, or material your advisor has sent your way. Meet up with some friends to do some writing once a week, to keep the juices flowing and hold each other accountable. Set small, doable goals for yourself.
If you work on your dissertation, summer’s a great time to make some progress so that you can really dig in come fall. You can work on an IRB application, analyze data, write up results, plan a study, or gather pilot data – which brings us to our next area of activities.
Summertime often brings research internships or opportunities to work with professors or notable people in your field and is a great time for networking. It’s also a good time to start looking at funding opportunities for future research – grant and fellowship applications take time, and it’s a long process. Summer can also be a less busy time to finally take a class you’ve always wanted to take, learn about new statistical software, bolster your research methods, or teach a class to gain teaching experience. If you’re shaky on presentation skills or public speaking, summer is a perfect time to join Toastmasters or put together a peer group where each person takes turns presenting on a topic.
If you’re looking to the future with an eye toward publication, start reading journals in your field now. Read widely across your field and make note of the publications that catch your eye. Reading a lot will also provide you with inspiration for your own research, show you who’s doing what in your field, and you can learn what differentiates a good research article from a not-so-good one.
All work and no play isn’t fun, either – personal development is important during the summer, too. This can mean self-care, making time to work on a hobby you’ve always enjoyed or wanted to try, or developing new healthy habits, like eating well and exercising regularly. It’s important not to isolate yourself during the summer, as well – if you’re living near some of your fellow classmates, make lunch plans or study dates, keep in touch with your friends and do non-school related activities, and make sure you’re getting enough sleep. If you’re looking to save some money over the summer, a part-time job can be a great way to meet people, stay engaged with the community, and earn money.
You might be thinking….this all SOUNDS great, but how am I supposed to fit all of this into the summer? Glad you asked! Structure and a routine. If you have a planner or calendar, start writing things down. Set aside specific times to do work, and write it down and stick to it: times for reading, writing, study groups, meeting groups, and more. Schedule social engagements ahead of time. Set up deadlines for small goals you set. It’s tempting to sleep in during the summer when your responsibility load may be a little lighter – don’t fall into that trap! Wake up at around the same time every day and stick to a general routine.
Here at Dissertation Editor, we’ve been where you are and are here to help you make the most out of your summer. We can assist with editing, formatting, data analysis, and even have consultations with you to discuss your research goals and help you create a research plan for yourself. If you’re looking for a job, we can help with polishing your resume or CV and assist with interview preparation! Want to turn your dissertation into a book? Let us help! Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you have a productive summer and get prepared for the fall.