Hi! I’m so excited to kick of my new series “office hours” where I will share some info about my life as a PhDiva. Today, I’m starting with one of the questions I get asked the most: “so, do you even work in the summer?” Well, here’s the scoop for you.
Let me start with a short disclaimer. I am a tenure-track professor at a research-focused institution. Therefore, my job is split up into three main responsibilities: research, teaching and service, in that order with research being paramount. This is not the case for everyone and just like people in non-academic jobs, we don’t all choose to spend our time the same way so this is only my take on how I choose to do my job.
Alright, back to my summer schedule. Each summer is different and so far, this summer has been a great one, but not because I’m not working. In fact, I’ve been working a lot and really pushing myself to be extra productive and start the school year off strong.
About one week after graduation I started teaching a six-week online class and during two of those weeks, I lead 10 students around Switzerland for study abroad. It was incredible, hard, tiring and unforgettable. Being responsible for 10 undergraduates in an unfamiliar country is overwhelming but on top of that, I had a class to teach! So the first six weeks of my summer were busy.
Upon returning from study abroad, I continued running the class online for four weeks (until the beginning of July), but then also jumped back in to all of my other work. This includes editing a textbook I am writing by myself, revising and submitting articles for publication, and analyzing data for an upcoming project. This week, I’ve also been preparing for a conference next week where I’m making two presentations.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I did not and will not spend the entire summer working. The summer is meant to be a time to help professors recharge to avoid burning out, and to engage in activities that will inspire us to succeed. Sometimes that inspiration comes from shutting down and devoting your time to non-work related activities.
The beauty of my job as a professor is that I can work anywhere and anytime. So, I rarely go to my office on campus during the summer (this is the norm for my department) and instead, I work at home, outside, or wherever feels right at the time. I also don’t have to dress any certain way and this summer I’ve learned that I seem to be the most productive when I’m wearing my pineapple pajama pants. 😉
My summer is also filled with lots of Netflix binges, traveling, and time with family and friends. Just like every other person’s summer, but probably not significantly more than everyone else’s either.
So, to answer the never-ending question, I do work all summer, just like other professors and simply because I’m not physically in a classroom does not mean I’m not working. It’s really just the opposite in many ways, but I do treat myself to all the perks of summer.
I’ll be back in a few weeks sharing a “day-in-my-life” post for you so you can really see that my working to wine ratio is perfectly appropriate.
Want to know something about life as a professor? Tell me in the comments!