In the five short years since I starting writing this blog, I’ve written a lot about summer. (To see for yourself, do a keyword search for “summer” and marvel at the results). I suppose it’s natural that academics are a bit obsessed with summer since it’s both the time to relax a bit from the stress of the academic year and also one of the most valuable times for getting work other than teaching done. But what I’ve learned this year is that it can be incredibly valuable to try to hit the reset button prior to reaching summer. After all, summer break is only a couple of months long, and with the ambitious to-do lists that we all produce that’s very little time.
Luckily this year my heavier than normal teaching load in winter quarter meant that I had a lighter than normal teaching assignment in the spring. I vowed to take weekends off from work, and the combination of the lighter workload and some willpower allowed me to achieve that goal. One of the things I love to do most in my time off is read, as evidenced by the sole New Year’s resolution I’ve had since about 2006 to read at least a book a month no matter how busy I am. This spring quarter I used my weekend relaxation time for marathon reading sessions, something I haven’t done since 2010 when I read 30 books in 30 days. A check of Amazon (I have a Kindle and read almost exclusively on it) shows that I purchased and read 55 books since May 1, 2016. Not surprisingly this is the first time in probably a decade that I reached the summer break not feeling like I was about to collapse. I know I won’t always be able to hit the reset quite as thoroughly as I did this year, but it seems like a good goal to aim to do it every six years or so. I bet 2022 will be a good summer too.