Summer Bucket List

Happy Summer Solstice! Last summer was so massively insane for us.  I (Rachel) did, what I can only assume to be, the most field work ever.  I have lots to do this summer, but I’m image2trying to prioritize work life balance a bit during this busy season.  Having said that, I have to admit I sort of hate the buzz wordy-ness of the phrase ‘work life balance’ for a couple reasons.  First, because balance somehow implies equality between multiple values or goals.  It’s probably more accurate to call them ‘work life trade-offs,’ a phrase I think I got from my masters adviser. Second, I feel like, particularly in academia, people absolutely love to talk about balance, then keep right on working 12 hours a day or whatever.  If you need some encouragement to choose to have a life sometimes, here’s a story.  I recently co-organized a panel on non-academic careers in conservation (It was so, so great!  Want to know more?), and Heather Tallis, the Lead Scientist for The Nature Conservancy, literally said we need to establish the pattern of work life balance you want in your career while you’re in graduate school, and that you absolutely didn’t have to destroy yourself to be a big fancy pants scientist (like her).  We pressed her on it later and she doubled down; seriously, no need to not have a life.

And I (Meridith) last summer was, unbeknownst to me, still in the beginning of my Quals Take Three journey studying my face off for Quals Part Two, while living in Seattle for half the summer. It was a fantastic adventure, but the pressure of the looming exam definitely applied a layer of guilt and dread to everything I did that wasn’t directly related to studying. To be fair, I DID get to see some lovely people and explore a new city and attend my first Statistical Meeting.  AND I didn’t have the added stress of the Field Season Life. This summer I have much more flexibility to focus on my own work life trade-offs while I continue advancing my research in preparation to ROCK my first statistical conference presentation.

So, here are a few STS Summer Bucket List items inspired by our own brands of work life trade-off and an original post by friend of STS, Beth, over at Finding Delight. Be sure to check out her Summer Bucket List as well!  We’d love to hear about your summer plans and dreams in the comments!



Starting off summer right with a Summer Solstice Wine Bacchanalia with some other #StatsStuds. Let’s see if they can be on the level of ELMErs circa 2011.

Continuing to cook with recipes that utilize all of our CSA and garden-sitting hauls.

Write some adorable letters to my adorable pen pals.

Check out the new Colombian coffee shop in State College and try out their empanadas. Because empanadas. *

Keep up the summer reading so we can continue providing Science Book Club blog posts. Right now I’m reading an amazing biography of Rachel Carson.

Get new Big Kid PhD business cards printed and a sweet professional/around-the-city fashioned Stitch Fix in time for this year’s stats conference in Chicago!


Prioritize physical fitness in a more consistent, thoughtful way.  Hiking.  Yoga.  Swimming.  Running.  SOCCER!image1

Rock out this last major field season of my PhD journey.  I’m sure there are still many summers in the field in my future, but I want to knock this one out of the park.

July camping trip in Napa with some of our besties from college days.

Make my apartment a more welcoming space.  Think less clutter, more organization, and add in some thoughtful design elements.

Carve out dedicated time for writing.

Cook at home with all the beautiful fruits and veggies we get in our CSAs and from our garden.

Focus on spending quality (ie: not just watching TV together) time with my husband.


*directly inspired by Beth’s post.



5 thoughts on “Summer Bucket List

  1. Fantastic lists, ladies! I especially love that you both want to cook up delicious recipes with your CSA bounty. Yay for local produce!!! Meridith – The biography you’re reading looks super cool! Can’t wait to read a post about it. 🙂 And empanadas forever!!! Rachel – You’re gonna kill it during this last major field season! Also, I’d love to hear more about any strats or tips you implement to create dedicated writing time.

    Happy Summer 2016, STS!!! ❤


    1. Hi B Berg, thanks for the post inspiration! Right now, my writing mojo plan is just “write something every day,” but I’m going to try and make that more structured. I’ll get back to you on it.

      I actually read a book (audio books for life!) the other day that I really think you’ll love. Have you read the Sonia Sotomayor memoir My Beloved World? It is *fantastic*. Funny, inspiring, and candid. Highly recommend, especially based on what I know of your taste in books.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s