The Trending Prof

Anita Woods Ph.D., University Educator
The Best Medicine

The Best Medicine

I have gone from having a ridiculously busy summer to one that is just normal busy, which means I can get most of my work done during the day and get to not work at night time. And yes, for the millionth time, professors don’t get summers off.

At first, I was very unhappy about the shift to a normal workload (I know…why would I say that??!!), since I have been going full tilt for a very long time. But I didn’t know any different. So, I have tried to take advantage of this abrupt turn and have thought about what it is I enjoy doing in my “free time”.

Although I always encouraged my students to unwind a little in the summer and find ways to recharge, I actually don’t know how to do that. I began using my time to go for evening runs, although a few times I have ended up running and crying…a little too much thinking time. Then I tried to find seasons of some show that I may enjoy watching for way too many hours…but found that very unsatisfying. Although I did finally watch some movies that have been on my list and were all surprisingly delightful (La La Land, Lady Bird and I, Tonya).

After being surprised by a trip to see my west coast siblings (BEST MEDICINE!), I’ve finally found my stride and choosing to enjoy this time instead of filling it with more busy work.

I have rediscovered reading for enjoyment and crossword puzzles. I have specifically fallen back in love with the weekend newspaper puzzles. I’m not sure if it is the nostalgia or the accomplishment of finishing a crossword, but I like it. I remember spending Sunday afternoons working on the weekly word search until it was complete while my dad watched car races on T.V. and my siblings read the comics.

It may sound silly, but these little pleasures are returning me to someone who is feeling more whole. I am finally taking my own advice and doing a little recharge myself so that perhaps when the academic term returns, I can give a little more of myself than I did this last year.

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