Last time I promised to talk about getting yourself running that next race with some breaks in between. The “race” I’m talking about is the constant progression and search for knowledge. While classes may in fact end at some point, and be marked by the thick border of a lengthy break, the progression of students (and their interests) is another matter entirely. It’s a difficult task to convince yourself to continue working while you’re on a much deserved vacation. While I think my qualifying exams generally trump others’ legitimate successes in the “painful, long, and difficult” categories, I do think that each student who has successfully made it through their most recent quarter, trimester, semester, or some other division in education or work is due for a restful vacation from those stresses. We must in some sense, however, carry on with our interests that (hopefully) relate to our areas of study.
One of the things that keeps me going over lengthy breaks is setting real deadlines for real work and real consequences. One of the projects that I’m working on over the break is a paid writing assignment. If I didn’t do the work then I wouldn’t just be letting myself down. Similarly, part of my work towards my dissertation is focusing on the creation of some exercises for a class to be taught in the coming semester. Having a real deadline and a number of students (and a professor) who are counting on my preparedness is a real motivator to get this work completed. I often have trouble keeping my committments to myself. Who can you be responsible to? I’ve heard of many people who form groups to meet at specific intervals in order to share their progress. Whatever you do: find some reason to keep working. Mine is to committ myself to deadlines with others… what’s yours?