Monday, May 27, 2013

RYS Flashback: Seven Years Ago Today! "Summer Advice."

This is what we used to wear
at the RYS summer hiatus "party."
Call me Professor Patrice from Pennsylvania, though 2 parts of that are phony! Allow me to offer some advice for professors over the summer:

  1. Don't read your email. In fact, compose a little vacation reply so that you'll be spared the endless questions about grades. There's no sense in you worrying over it. I know you did a good job with grades, and letting the students stew over their Cs and Ds for the summer will do them some good. Most of them will have forgotten your injustices to them by September, so why get involved in it now.
  2. Resist the administration's pleas for summer "help" in registration, advising, and the rest. I know this is a delicate thing. But once you become a 'go-to girl' for problems in June and July, you will be hounded forever for 'extra' duty. Disappear from campus - and from town if possible.
  3. Prepare a LITTLE bit for next Fall. This is probably not your FIRST summer break as an academic, so don't spend a great deal of time worrying about Fall 2006. It'll come. You'll be fine that first day. You know what to do in a class. If you have a brand new offering, then by all means do some reading for it. But a sure recipe for burnout is to worry away summer while thinking about Fall.
  4. Keep in contact with a few grad school friends, especially the ones who have good jobs at good schools. It's always good to see how the 'other half' lives, and it's even better to stay connected to a little network of other profs who can be useful to you for future job searches, setting up of seminars, etc.
  5. Do something mindless. Do a lot of things mindless, in fact. You've chosen a career of the mind for some nutty reason, but the job has a built-in 'recuperation' period. This is it, baby. Go bowling. Put on a floppy hat and go get some margaritas. Drive to the ocean and put your toes in the sand. Let your brain have a break.


  1. Highly sane advice. I'd add that summer is the time to assuage the sense of guilt for not doing as much research as your grad-school-cast conscience keeps nagging you should do. Grab that paper you wrote in three days for a conference -- or recycle a graduate school paper for that -- and process it into a publishable paper.
    (No personal stake here, but Belcher's "Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks" is a terrific help. Mod, can you link?