This is the first summer in seven years that I haven’t spent either in classes or interning. Even when I was too young for summer programs, like dance and tennis camp, my mother had a rule that we had to write 5 sentences a day, just to keep us busy (and probably sane). This summer has a different format for me, and it’s been quite an adjustment.
I’m spending my time in Columbia, my college town, working on my thesis, and finishing up any loose ends that I have before making that cross-country drive back to Pennsylvania one last time. When I first told my parents that I would be spending the summer in Columbia, I presented them with an extensive timeline or when I planned to finish each stage of my thesis — when I would defend my research proposal, when I would be doing my interviews, when I would be finished writing “Phase I.” Everything was perfectly planned, almost to the day, as to what I would be working on, when my advisors would have my work, and when I would be conducting my interviews. But this summer, instead of being a lesson in working quickly and sticking to a timeline, has been a lesson in how to work around other peoples’ availability and manage my needs and expectations.
I’ve very quickly learned that everything is not going to go according to schedule when I’m relying on other people to contribute to my work. They have busy schedules ad educators, researchers, and industry professionals, and I’m just lucky to get their time when they ARE available. People won’t always be able to respond to my interviews the same day that I send them, even if I’ve identified the optimal time of day to hit ‘send’! I’ve learned patience and to be flexible with my time, because I’m still at the bottom of the totem pole. This will be a skill that I’ll absolutely be carrying with me when I enter the workforce in just a few months. I won’t always get responses as soon as I’d like them, and time isn’t always in my favor. Patience is a virtue, and now I have lots of practice at it.
So for now, I’m learning to take advantage of my “last summer,” before I begin working, with some “Me” time — actually have time to exercise daily, and spend some GOOD hours at the pool. In the 6 weeks since graduation, I’ve already read 8 books, and trust me, I’m not that much of a reader. I’m loving my time to myself, and my time spent giving tours of my beloved Journalism school to high school and incoming Mizzou students. And I’m also appreciating how lucky I am that my thesis committee is actually EXCITED about my topic. When they do have time to talk with me, I always leave with a smile on my face, because it’s clear to me that this is a project they’re happy to be working on, which is not something that everyone can get from their committee of advisors. So THANK YOU to all of you, who have all become mentors to me!
And mom, I guess this summer, instead of writing 5 sentences, it’s running 3 miles, or reading 100 pages. I guess some of your methods really have been beaten into my brain, like second nature.