The beginning of the summer is always filled with mixed emotions; you might be sad that students have waved goodbye, but thrilled at the silence of your empty campus. There is a stack of paperwork waiting for you, but your meetings with students are no longer on your Outlook.
How can you use this summer to rejuvenate and “reboot” your life so when August or September comes, you are revitalized?
First know how you “recharge.”
Knowing if you are an introvert, recharging with your alone time is key. Extroverts need time with people, the more the better. (Granted there are exceptions and if you are “in-between” you are called an ambivert.) More information about introversion can be found in a great book called Quiet by Susan Cain.
Now for some tips. (E) for extroverts and (I) for introverts.
(E) Go to a conference out of your area.
Extroverts need contact, but they might need a new batch of people. We tend to talk about college and college and college and then some college. I’ve found that attending conferences based on my own interests helps me meet a new batch of people who have never, ever heard of a Room Condition and Inventory form. You can find these conferences through word of mouth, Facebook and good ol’ Google.
(E/I) Get back to your interests.
If you have forgotten your hobbies and interests, you might be in some trouble. Write down a list of 10 things you love to do that have nothing to do with your job. So if you write down “Hang out with students in the dining hall.” you have to scratch that one. Don’t edit it. If you love folk art puzzles and Crossfit, that’s fine. But get back to what you like and aim for those.
(I) Catching up over coffee.
Take a look at some friendships that have drifted off and “caffinate” them with a coffee date. We tend to think we are connecting with people while on social media, but actually need real connection. Call your friends and ask them out just for coffee and talk about anything not higher education related.
(I) Start a blog.
Introverts love to process by themselves over time and a blog is a wonderful way to do that. It can be for special interest (social justice, hobbies) or your personal blog highlighting what you have going on. You can create cheaper blogs at tumblr and blogger or you can have more professional blogs at wordpress.
When someone tells me that they don’t use their vacation like it’s a badge of honor, I roll my eyes (and I do it out in the open—I don’t care.) Get out of your college, your town, your state and even better, your country. There are a ton of ways to travel cheaply and you can head to chrisguillebeau.com to find out how about affordable ways to get out of town!
(E/I) Long Look at your Finances
Take ONE day, an afternoon or evening and find out these totals:
- How much money you have currently.
- How much debt you have currently.
- What is your exact salary.
- How many months/years it will take to pay any debt you have off.
I can’t tell you how many college professionals are swimming in debt and I find that debt will burn you out quickly. Get a handle on it and make a plan to annihilate that debt as soon as possible.
Ryan McRae has served on Western Association of University and College Housing Officals board, as a Western Training Institute scholar and an all around nice guy. He was a Resident Director at Cal State San Marcos for 7 years. He currently freelance writer which is a peaceful break from his year in Afghanistan. He can be reached at email@example.com.