Tuesday, August 23, 2022

No regrets

As I sit here in my grungiest shorts and t-shirt--having taken off my adult style orientation outfit—I can pretend summer isn’t yet over for a minute. It has been a great summer and I am sad it is ending, and with it the promise of great academic productivity. Where did the time go? Summer always seems like an almost endless swath of free time stretching before you after graduation, but unlike Phineas and Ferb, I didn’t actually have “one hundred and four days of summer vacation.”[1]  I had maybe a week or two (if you string the days together) of completely unstructured time, so again, where did my time go from graduation until now?

  1. I went to a conference in a state I do not live in and carried my laptop with me (rather than living in it for the conference). It was amazing to be with Academic Support people in person again. It was good to see the ASP family.[2]
  2. I taught a boot camp type class for incoming accelerated students for six weeks. One of those weeks I was at the conference, so teaching in a hotel room was a new (and sort of exciting) thing for me. The highlight was showing my class The Alamo and the Federal Courthouse I could see from my window.
  3. I found out that a friend had been diagnosed with lung cancer. I helped them deal with a surgery postponement and then the actual surgery (to the degree I could offer any help there, which is extremely doubtful). I baked and cooked and crossed the street with my offerings. When they asked me to take them for a walk after the surgery (evidently walking is the key to recovery), I asked if I should bring the 6 foot or retractable leash. They laughed-we walked. Every day until the pathology report and next surgeon’s appointment came and brought the one bit of good news that one could hope for in this situation—that it was over.
  4. I went for a beach-y vacation with the whole family in a super quaint place that you need to take a boat to—and I survived the trip with my trusty behind-the-ear patch. I even survived the trip home immediately following a huge thunderstorm. Seriously, those patches are magic.
  5. I supervised three students’ independent studies for their legal writing requirement.
  6. I taught a week-long class for another group of starting students.
  7. I watched the two children who were home for the summer work incredibly hard at their jobs. I am crazy proud.
  8. I watched the one child who lives in another state continue to do amazing work in her job. She even interviewed the Secretary of Labor for an article she was writing from our house. The same house where she learned how to write. When she is more famous, I can answer all the press questions, like how tall was she in 2004?? I am crazy proud.
  9. I went to my exercise class more often than usual. I picked up our farm share, went to the local pool, joined the long line for ice cream at the new local place (and ordered the same flavor each time because summer seems long enough to explore the whole menu), and ate outdoors.
  10. Finally, I researched, outlined, and began writing an article which I now plan to finish before Halloween (deadlines that involve candy are much easier for me).

So, while the last entry was what I was hoping would be the most productive part of my summer “vacation,” it was not.

I have no regrets.

(Liz Stillman)


[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkQrKxTFARM

[2] Shout out to the AASE Conference in San Antonio!!


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