Summer is an interesting time in the life of a grad student. Some people have internships (mostly remote this summer), those of us who work during the school year are continuing on with our jobs, some (including me) take a few summer courses, and I imagine all of us enjoy a little sigh of relief and a break before the fall semester starts again.
It feels like there have been a million-and-a-half posts written for HLS about summer be it reading recommendations, considering summer break as a time to explore, thinking about alternative options during the pandemic, maximizing your summer break, or even a multi-part series from the 2015 HLS team.
I thought it would be fun to take some inspiration from other library students before me and share my thoughts about summer and plans for this pandemic summer 2.0 as things start to open back up and I anticipate a return to on-campus classes in the fall. In some ways, this also feels like my last true “summer” as next year I’ll hopefully be working full-time as a youth services librarian.
What I’m Exploring
While Conrrado’s post about exploration largely considers exploration in the educational and professional sense, I’m planning on taking exploration in a more physical direction. Recently, my boyfriend and I visited Acadia National Park. In a week or so, we’re planning on going hiking. I’m hoping we get a chance to do more hiking and exploring of New England over the course of the summer. Time in nature is really rejuvenating for me and helps me feel more grounded as I tackle personal and work projects.
My summer classes are also a big area of exploration for me. I’m taking two children’s literature courses one on children’s horror series and the other is about rereading race in classic children’s literature. Both are intensely fascinating, and while I would have always chosen the course on race and the classics, I never would have thought to take a horror fiction class. I’m grateful that both this summer and last summer, my summer classes have allowed me to take courses that wouldn’t have been my first choice, but that have expanded my professional knowledge.
What I’m Working On
The library I work in just reopened to the public at the beginning of the month, and since I started my job during COVID I basically had to learn everything about the library’s in-person service model from the ground up. It’s been great to have people back in the library and I’ve especially enjoyed getting to help kids find books to read. Soon, like other public libraries across the country, my library will also embark with our summer reading program. There’s a great 2018 HLS post about surviving summer reading that I’m planning on referencing if things get hectic. But in the meantime, I’ve been working on the summer reading committee for months now and it’s been fun to be a part of the actual planning and I can’t wait to see our plan come to fruition.
On a personal level, once my summer classes end I’m hoping to write more for my personal blog, bookishlybright.com, which I’ve not given as much attention to lately between a busy spring semester and work. I’m also constantly working on an embroidery project (I just finished my attempt at mimicking a Quentin Blake illustration of Matilda). I’m considering starting an Etsy shop, but I don’t know I feel about monetizing what really is just a fun hobby for me. In the meantime, I love being crafty at home and I’m enjoying that our summer reading plans also are letting me get crafty at work.
How I’m Relaxing
There are many posts that have been written on HLS about self-care, and I see summer as a great time to indulge in some self-care, relaxation, and reflection that it may be easier to neglect during the semester. For me, getting into nature is one of the things that helps. I’ve also started looking at my relationship to exercise and am easing back into workout classes. One of the biggest self-care things I’m doing this summer is working on my relationship with technology using Catherine Price’s How to Break Up With Your Phone as a guide. I’m about two weeks in to her 30-day challenge and already I’m seeing improvements.
What I’m Planning on Reading
Personal reading is always something that hits the backburner a little during the semester, and during my summer classes where I’m reading about 6 novels a week, it’s really taken the backseat but once July arrives I get to read for fun again! I’ve already got holds set for books I want to read. Check with your local public library and you may able to specify that you don’t want a book until a certain date if you’ve got deadlines coming up but want to put a hold on a book before you forget about it.
Here’s what I’m looking forward to reading:
- One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
- Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall
- Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley
- Camp Girls: Fireside Lessons on Friendship, Courage, and Loyalty by Iris Krasnow
My Tips for A Fulfilling Summer
When it comes to college and grad school summers I feel like I’ve done it all. I worked at home, I interned at the Library of Congress, I worked at a summer camp for two years, and had a weird pandemic summer living with my parents. So, here are a few final tips and thoughts on ways to enjoy the summer
- Don’t try to do everything. It’s not possible. Pick a few things to prioritize and enjoy them.
- Take some time to slow down and enjoy the warmer weather and the weekends where it feels easier to take a break.
- Don’t feel like you have to do anything to advance professionally or educationally. If you have the mental bandwidth for it, that’s great, but it’s okay to just not think of any of that if that’s what you need. That was what I did last summer for the most part and it was wonderful and exactly what I needed.
- Spend time with people you love, especially as restrictions start to lift surrounding COVID-19.
What are your Pandemic 2.0 summer plans? Do you have any book recommendations for me to add to my reading list? Let me know in the comments!
Macy Davis is deeply entrenched in summer classes at Simmons University in the MA in Children’s Literature/MS in Library and Information Sciences dual degree program. She wishes she was still in Acadia National Park. You can find her on twitter @bookishlybright or through her personal blog.