Summer for graduate students can bring with it a lot of unstructured time. The question, from our study last week, is how to use this well. How do we rest and recuperate well, without feeling like we’re wasting time? How do we find the motivation and accountability to work on the projects we’d like to do and get done? In other words, how do we best use the gifts and challenges of this coming season?

The following were some of our thoughts:

  • Planning a morning or afternoon per week when the Campus Edge house will be open specifically for writing or studying. If that is not the best fit for people, I’m happy to make a weekly date with one or two others to go to a cafe to write, as I, too, could use some motivation and accountability for writing.
  • Exploring a new activity, practice or adventure in the summer. One example was “morning pages,” which The Guardian describes as “having changed my life.” An artist from Paris, David Brazzeal, explains how this practice has been a blessing. Closely connected to that would be the idea of doodling prayer, or praying in color, although this might be a practice that is best fitted to taking on at the beginning of a period with too many classes and meetings.
  • Planning random adventures, either alone or with a friend or two or three. Think, for example, on Lansing’s being a tourist in your town day. We’re hoping to make an email list for people interested in these kind of random social events. Let us know if you’re interested in joining.
  • Reading books together and talking about hard topics. Academic freedom was one possibility, as was the idea of faith shifting, as discussed by Kathy Escobar in her blog and book, Faith Shift. We’re still figuring out how this looks.

As you can see, even our plans are typical of what the beginning of summer looks like: unstructured but hopeful. At the same time, posting it here online, helps with accountability. Please include in the comments if you have any further insights or would like to help out in making any of the above more a reality.