We’ve had snow already this year, but last night’s snowfall is the first to cause snowbanks to form, shovelling to commence, and the winter boots to really be put on. And, so the calendar tells me, Christmastime is close.
Since I am not in coursework anymore, I don’t have final end of semester deadlines this term. The pro is that I get to keep on keepin’ on without pressure to complete specific items. The con is that without massive deadlines, I can’t seem to justify rewarding myself with a break over the season where many people are taking a break.
I’m okay with the lack of deadlines the PhD environment comes with, and I’m also okay with the keepin’ on with my regular work. But this brings about a different challenge – when are you allowed to “reward” yourself with a break? Graduate students (and, generally speaking, academics) have to enforce their own work deadlines and keep on top of their own productivity. And, since we don’t have specific vacation allowances for time put in, as most other people who work in regular jobs do, when should you allow yourself a break?
This is a question my PhD colleagues wrestle with all the time. I’ve witnessed many different strategies of how and when to take a break. Some people take a break when they feel like it, and cram work in when they are up against a deadline. Or, some people mimic the working world by putting consistent daily time in and breaking over the holidays when others in their life are taking their holidays. Or, maybe, some people don’t ever really take a “break” because it’s hard to delineate time “off” from time “on.”
So, without really having a plan of what to do (or how to justify a break of some kind), I’m trying to create my own in-term deadline so that when I reach it, I will take a (hopefully) deserved break, that hopefully coincides with the upcoming season.
That’s my (holiday) plan, and I’m sticking to it.