Taking a Break from Academia

On June 3, 2014, in Being a GA/TA, Laughs, Monday Motivation, by gregorynpaziuk

Every Monday from April to June, the GATA Network will be sharing advice on how to make your summer productive. This week we discuss the importance of taking a break from academia every now and then.

tumblr_lhruse2NFE1qbtchoo1_400At least four times per day, you’re told about a ba-zillion things you should be doing to build your career as an academic. Even we here at the Network are guilty of decree-like statements about what you should be doing, whose work you should be reading, and which workshops you should be attending.  This can be especially difficult for those of GAs and TAs to whom an assistantship is just a way to pay tuition, but it’s just as hard to those that do dream of a career in academia. Trying to find time to cross off every pre-requisite on the list of “Becoming a Scholarly Teacher” can take its toll. That’s why every good productive summer takes some healthy unproductivity. Translation: even committed and serious teachers and learners need a break from scholarly work, and the summer is the best time to break.

Like all good things, this break is a fine balancing act between leisure and work. We’re not suggesting you abandon your project list altogether, or that you don’t need to think about your personal/professional development. It’s just that finding time to recharge your batteries is equally as important as furthering your career. But what exactly should you be finding time for?

Read Just Because

They say leisure reading is as good as taking seven mental health days. Who exactly? Lots of people. What better place to do some reading than Leddy Library? Have you ever strolled through Leddy’s shelves unobstructed by Fall/Winter crowds and had your pick of any book that strikes your fancy? You haven’t lived! Leddy Library is a reader’s paradise this time of year. But if you can’t get past the memories of exam-times past, you could always visit your local branch of the Windsor Public Library, which also has a wide collection of titles and offers some pretty cool programming.

Take A Staycation

A staycation sounds like something a middle-aged parent of three might recommend, but especially on a GA/TA’s budget, taking some time off to spend around the house can be very satisfying. Just make sure that you warn friends and family that, while you may be present physically, your mind and spirit will be on vacation. This will help to maintain the illusion of distance from your scholarly life.

Embrace a Media Blackout

True, so many of us have made a regular media survey a part of our daily lives. Equally as many of us get anxious if we don’t check our email inbox every hour. There is, however, a restorative power to logging off for short periods (say, a week?) and ignoring push notifications. If you have ever experienced the late-semester student email onslaught, you’ll appreciate how blissful it can be to not spend hours each day replying to emails. And do you really need to become embroiled in yet another Twitter war?

There’s So Much To Do In Windsor This Summer

So much of our time during the semester is devoted completely to study – thinking about school, being at school, walking to and from school – that we often forget about the world outside school. Not the proverbial “real world” people are always telling you about, but the world outside campus. Specifically the UWindsor campus. Windsorites might tell you differently, but there is a lot to explore in the Windsor region.

Visit Farmers’ Markets. Don’t fact check us on this, but Windsor-Essex has more farmers’ markets per capita than anywhere in the universe. Many of these are actually within Windsor, along bus routes, and possibly in your neighbourhood. There are so many blogs written by battle-worn academics that tout the importance of eating healthy. Maybe this is the summer you recharge with fresh local food?

Enjoy the Summer Festivals. From now until September, Windsor will celebrate a different festival almost every week. That means La Salle’s Strawberry Festival to kick off the growing season, Carousel of Nations to celebrate Windsor’s multiculturalism, SummerFest to fulfill your carnival craving, and much much more. Find an extensive guide to all of Windsor-Essex’s many festivals at www.windsorite.com.

Why Not Visit Detroit? One of the many benefits of living in Windsor is being a stone’s-throw away from Detroit. A quick tunnel-bus ride will take you downtown, from where you might catch a Tiger’s baseball game, visit the Detroit Institute of Arts, or even kayak in some of Detroit’s many rivers. Check out www.visitdetroit.com for more information.


2 Responses to Taking a Break from Academia

  1. […] Taking a Break from Academia (June 2nd June 3rd) […]

  2. […] and free fun? WISEL sends you updates on all three. We’re always going on and on about the well-rounded academic life here on the blog, but the folks at WISEL are living it. For that, we thank […]

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