Note from the Editor | Summer=let’s catch up on everything!

By SRAI News posted 06-14-2019 07:29

Katie Watkins
Authored by Katie Watkins, M.Ed.
Assistant Vice President, Research Admin
University of Akron

For institutions of higher education, the end of the academic semester is followed closely by Memorial Day, which is the traditional beginning of summer.  Summer in academia means less stressful days, a glut of available parking spaces, and, at least on my campus, a dearth of dining options.  Not to worry though, about two months from now we’ll be gearing up for another academic year full of new faculty, new issues to tackle, and new faces at our favorite on-campus lunch spots.  

While summer is generally a time when many professions slow down, this is not always true in the field of research administration and management.   For most of my career, summer has signified a “let’s catch up on everything we didn’t get done during the academic year” time.  I don’t know how often I’ve exclaimed, “That’s a project we can do over the summer!”  Or, “If it can wait until summer…”  With best intentions, I begin my summer with a list of projects I’ve put off during the academic year.  And, by the end of summer…well, let’s not talk about how many tasks on that list are actually completed.

This year is my 32nd in academia and I think I’ve finally figured out what to do with my summer.  My new mantra is, “don’t sweat it.”  While this sounds clichéd, it’s really true for me.  I have a prioritized list of summer projects.  I’ll work diligently to accomplish as much as I can while I have the time.  But I’m not going to stress about what I don’t get finished because I know I’m giving it my best effort.  I want to enjoy a healthy balance of work and pleasure with no regrets about working too much (or conversely, playing too much).  Soon enough I’ll be back in a frenzied state running from meeting to meeting and scheduling even my bio breaks.  

So friends, while we may enjoy having some extra time to accomplish tasks we’ve put off all year, let’s also make sure we enjoy a little downtime.  Fall will be here soon enough.