End of the semester

Can I just say I’m so happy that the semester of classes is over? I may not be taking any, but I’m relieved to be done TA-ing for the semester. Don’t get me wrong, I really really really like being a TA. And this semester gave me a bunch of opportunities I wouldn’t have had otherwise (like covering two lectures). But, I also had to deal with a lab scheduled at a terrible time (11am to 2pm). Seriously, when are you suppose to eat lunch? 10:30 is to early and by 2pm I’m starving. So I’m looking forward to no longer having such a screwed up schedule on lab days.

For those taking classes right now, the end up of classes doesn’t mean the end of work. I know some who still have exams looming in the near future. But after that – a summer of nothing. Wait nothing? Okay, not nothing. I already feel over-planned for the summer and it hasn’t even started yet! (Although there is a joke in our department that the first summer of your masters is the “summer of no work.”)

But, without courses and/or labs taking up extra time, my schedule is a bit more open for meetings. And for sitting down and hammering out some of my own research. Time to enjoy campus and the nice weather and the lack of crowds when you want to buy lunch or a snack. A new semester (even summer) means a new chance to re-group and re-plan how you want the next four months to go. To examine the past four months and make any changes. To come up with a new set of goals.

Of course, there are downsides. I still have experiments that I’m either running or would like to run. And in the summer it’s about 10 times harder to find participants. Sure there are summer classes, and so there are some undergrads still around. But there are nowhere near as many as before. And when you are lucky to get a response rate of 1 in 10, having a selection pool of 50 versus 200 makes a huge difference. I will also likely be surprising another student this summer, which will mean for a set of weeks I’ll be required to have regular hours.

While this next semester is going to start off with things moving quickly (I leave for a conference on the 1st and have a paper deadline not long after), it’ll hopefully be a semester where I get lots accomplished. Which is my same goal as always. I don’t usually manage to get as far as I hope, but, if it’s like this past semester, it’ll still be a good step forward.

Do you have plans for the summer semester? At your school, do you get to keep researching or do you need to find part time work?

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