Sunday, July 15, 2007

"Summers Off"

So, no posts lately. In part because I've had an out-of-town guest who just departed, and tomorrow I'm embarking on a trip to Home City, but largely because I've not done much of note. Yet we are at July 15, the official halfway point of the summer, and I have dilly-dallied, and find myself with little accomplished.

It is a constant of academic bloggers, contributors to the forums on the Chronicle of Higher Education, and academics in general that nobody understands that our "summers off" are anything but. We cry that we are researching, writing, developing courses... on and on. But my self-assessment at the halfway mark leaves me with a sobering realization: I do tend to treat summer as "time off," much more than I should, even though I know that I need to be working.

Now, this may not be a bad thing. After all, after pushing hard all year long, we need time to recharge the batteries a bit. We also need to do all those things that we didn't have time for while teaching (and yes, the 55-hour teaching workweek is no lie) -- things like schedule long-delayed medical appointments, visit the family, sleep more than six hours a night, and (my personal favorite) clean the house. Seriously, if you're not an academic, you have no idea what messes our houses can become the last six weeks of the semester. And, of course, like any working stiff, we need a bit of vacation time.

But, for me at least, this bit of slack can extend far into what is supposed to be productive work time. And for many of us, guilt becomes an inherent feature of relaxation.

So, I've finally hit the point where I'm ready to buckle down. But now it's off for a week with friends and family. And yes: I'll be bringing reading with me.

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