It's that time of year. The semester has ended (and I've finally finished my last course while in graduate school - 😃 for being ABD). Some friends are graduating and moving on to post-docs or real J.O.B. jobs, which is simultaneously sad and exciting.
At this point in the year, each year I celebrate the opportunity for each of us to get some rest. Grad school isn't physically difficult. (Although some would say that sitting and starting at a computer for the number of hours we do presents it's own physical challenges.) It is however mentally taxing. No matter what stage you're in, you have to think hard for long periods of time. Additionally, my advisor has us all out to her place for some social time and this year we got to celebrate three people who have either complete their PhD or are very near completion. We also celebrate the other achievements within our research group (e.g. passing exams, getting jobs, winning awards, etc). It's really good to intentionally celebrate the good stuff, because at times it's easy to get bogged down in the mud of criticism and feedback.
I also spend a good amount of time reflecting on the year. Did I make progress? Did I achieve the things I wanted to achieve (or at least make progress toward those)? How's my work-life balance? How's my timeline for completion? I try to think about my goals, where I find myself, and how to adjust or what new goals to set.
Last, but not least, I use the week after the semester ends to try to get organized. The summers go so fast and being organized can really help you be productive. It also helps you not get behind when all of the regular semester activities and deadlines get into full swing in the fall.
So to everyone finishing another school year, I encourage you to celebrate, reflect, organize and GET BACK TO WORK.. ha!
We all know there's always more to do.