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! Continue reading “Summer Bucket List”

Science Book Club: My Family and Other Animals

Let’s celebrate summer with our third installment of the STS Book Club! This time, it’s a novel of the young adult variety. Perfect for picking up during breaks from staring at your computer screen or en route to your field sites!

c16bfa35dae8b847c0625f56de95e77eI don’t know about everyone else, but I could not be more excited and ready for #AcademicSummer 2016. Quals (take three!) are once more (SUCCESSFULLY) behind me and now I can finally relax into my favorite time of year. My advisor and his co-PI were gracious enough to fund my research for the summer (most Statistics students teach or grade for their funding) and I have left my days of classes, grading, and studying behind for coding and, to be real, actually living my life. I chose to write about this book, My Family and Other Animals, because it was such a lovely find last summer when I was living and studying in Seattle. I found this book in the mini library at Zeitgeist Coffee and was able to read it in spurts during transit and downtime. I love the idea of books that belong to The People and I’m hoping to pass along the interest in this one especially since I’ve taken so long to finish it.

Gerald “Gerry” Durrell in addition to being an author was a naturalist, zookeeper, and conservationist. Our kinda guy, right? Much of his fascination with all things natural was developed during his childhood living with his family on the Greek island of Corfu and it is here that his focuses his stories in My Family and Other Animals. Later, after working in zoos, aquariums, and on wildlife expeditions, he founded the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and the Durrell Wildlife Park on the Channel Island of Jersey. Durrell Wicorfu20redldlife Park was the first zoo to house only endangered breeding species, and has been one of the pioneers in the field of captive breeding. His book provides a delightful peek into the beginnings of this impressive career and lifelong love for conservation. Continue reading “Science Book Club: My Family and Other Animals”

Carving Out Time: #WinterWishlist Edition

Finals. To anyone still in the thick of it, YOU’VE GOT THIS GO GO GO. But, to my fellow survivors on the other side of things:

tired

I had to push past a flooded apartment, screaming baby next door while studying, and being locked out of my apartment (and away from my computer charger when I had a report due), but it’s over and I’m still alive. I know a lot of us still have other responsibilities and likely a stack of homework/exams to grade, but let’s promise ourselves right here, right now that we are going to Take A Break. For me, the last few weeks have been nonstop with projects and finals and I barely remember what it’s like to have a moment to just breathe. But, it’s so very important to carve out time for yourself because if not, everything else will take over. I am looking forward to using this break to regain some sanity and motivation going into the new year. I hereby promise to spend a good portion of my winter break treating myself to some Real Life goodies.

I understand that our collective brains are sufficiently fried so we’ve got a lovely list post for everyone.  Rachel and I have compiled our happiest of Real Life things to do during the break. I barely know where to start! We would also LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to hear about your Winter Wishlists! Leave suggestions in the comments or tag us in your own post. You can keep an eye on our Instagram and Tumblr to get peeks of our #WinterWishlist fun. Continue reading “Carving Out Time: #WinterWishlist Edition”