“Vacation, All I Ever Wanted…”

It’s almost May. The weather has changed and it’s making me think ahead.

I’m already planning my meager summer vacation. Most of this summer I’ll be desperately working 8 and 9 hour days getting my dissertation finished so I don’t have to face my scary committee chair and ask for even more time than I’ve already taken. I’ve been blessed, or cursed, depending on how you see it, with no classes this summer.

Blessed, because this dissertation isn’t going to write itself. I’m mired in Chapter Three and finding the time to even finish that has been difficult, at best. Having dedicated time, even just the sporadic hour here or there, is always a gift, and I appreciate it whenever it happens. Obviously, I’m cursed, because having no classes can mean dire financial consequences for part timers.

As for the upcoming summer vacation, one of my oldest friends is planning on visiting here in June. She called me last week to ask if I was “in.” My only criteria for going along with any of her crazy plans was that I needed to be able to read trashy novels (no laptop, no Blackberry) and laze by some kind of body of water. She ended the conversation quickly; later, she texted me that we would be going out on another friend’s sailboat for four days. Four days. I’m in shock thinking of how wonderful getting a four-day break will be.

Along with the anticipation of relaxing days under a deep blue sky, dipping my toe in the rippling waters of the Pacific ocean, I am also thinking of all of the work still to be done between now and the actual end of the semester. There are final projects to be graded, stacks and stacks of essays to get through, more online discussions than I know what to do with to comment on and grade, and then the finals to write.

There are also the bevy of worried student-faces hovering around me at the end of each class, their pleading eyes and wistful voices hoping for some kind of extra credit for assignments earlier blown off and now (belatedly) causing gpa concerns.

The semester has gone by so fast, it seems. Actually, the entire year is a blur. Like my students, I see my own as-a-student work, my dissertation, and what it means – work I’ve put off, and now must face. Because I am anticipating my soon-to-be loafing I will likely be more understanding with my needy students. I get their anxiety. I’m going to try and not pack that when I back my sunscreen and swimsuit.

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