I took my thesis advisor’s advice and did little to no reading, researching, or writing this past summer after graduating from my masters programs. He recommended taking some time off in order to rejuvenate before jumping into the rigors of doctoral work. I traveled a bit, visited family and friends, attended a wonderful wedding, and spent time in the mountains.
When I began my first term as a PhD student in September I felt refreshed and excited. My classes were engaging and I enjoyed the discussions with my peers as I sorted out what this new beginning would look like. Perhaps most importantly, I provided myself with more structure so that my studies would not overflow into the rest of my life and take over, as they had periodically done during my masters work.
I fit my work into a 40ish hour week, making sure to knock off around 5 or 5:30 in the evening. I occasionally worked one weekend day, but tried to make that the exception rather than the rule, and kept the other weekend day free.
I also started training for a marathon the same week that the term started, and this provided a number of benefits. Training provided a counterbalance to my school work, so that school could not occupy the center of my world. I was not willing to lose sleep, eat poorly, or drink too much (caffeine/alcohol/etc.) because those behaviors affected my training negatively. I also found myself less stressed and more energized than during any other school term of my graduate studies.
Overall the term went well. My sitting practice suffered during the term, and that will be a focus for improvement during the upcoming winter quarter. I also plan to write more for Scholar Monk than I did this past term, and I look forward to engaging with you all!