from the Library of Maura

What’d You Do This Summer?

August 27th, 2013 by Maura A. Smale · 1 Comment

It’s that time again. Classes at City Tech start tomorrow, and amidst all of the prep for the returning students (and orientation last week) I’ve started to take stock of my summer. It’s all too easy to take a glance at that (perhaps overly) ambitious summer scholarly to do list and feel mopey about all of the things that didn’t get finished. And with the competition inherent in academic life, the slide down into “but I didn’t get nearly as much done as everyone else did” -itis is a quick and easy drop.


But not this year! Last week University of New Orleans Sociology prof @drcompton tweeted an alternative strategy for dealing with those late summer academic doldrums:

I like this strategy. I like it a lot. So much that I’ve been thinking about it for a few days now, mentally assembling the items for my list. Focusing on the dids rather than the didn’ts has been a welcome antidote to the beginning-of-the-semester jitters.

Here’s my I Did List for summer 2013:

– thoroughly outlined the second half of our book, finished a chapter, began work on the final chapter (woo!)

– prepared and sent two book proposals to university presses

– hired our Data Visualization Assistant and began work on visualizing the data from our study of student scholarly habits

– met with coauthors to kick off work on two new articles, and started writing a draft of my part of one of them

– attended the JustPublics@365 MediaCamp workshop on writing op-eds and essays (which was fantastic!)

– wrote an op-ed and sent it to the New York Times (they rejected it, which was stinky, but writing it was good practice)

– made the last revisions with my coauthors and finished an article about open access policies, and submitted it to a journal

There were other things too — leisure reading, library and other work tasks, and even some vacation. But it’s super satisfying to see all of my completed scholarly tasks in one place. Of course there are still lingering items on the list that haven’t been crossed off…yet.

Image by Johan Hansson

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