Afternoon Inqueery

AI: Summer Plans

It always makes me laugh when people ask what I have planned for “summer break,” as if there is actually a break involved for me (there isn’t), but even people who are or have been PhD students ask that question, sometimes.  I guess it’s pretty ingrained for at least those of us in the northern hemisphere to think about the summer months as a time for vacation, even if there’s no extra imperative or opportunity to do so.  Indeed, I find myself doing so sometimes despite the fact that it’s not substantially different from any other time of year, except that I hate the weather more.

Do you (still) think of summer as Vacation Time, if you ever did?  Is there some other part of the year where it’s just expected that there will be some sort of substantial break involved?  What kind of awesome plans, if any, do you have for the next few months or the next time you take vacation?

I’m taking a long weekend to visit friends across the country, and going to Dragon*Con (which technically is at the beginning of fall semester, but really, that feels like “summer break” to me).

The Afternoon Inqueery (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Queereka community. Look for it every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday at 3pm ET.


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Dae is a chemical engineering graduate student who aspires to become a mad scientist, but is prepared to settle for being a professor. Her extracurricular academic interests are an ever-shifting list, but currently include temperament psychology, philosophy, transhumanism, and pre-modern literature. She identifies as a bisexual cis-woman, as well as a feminist, humanist, atheist, and roleplaying game enthusiast.


  1. May 16, 2013 at 1:45 pm —

    I usually consider summer vacation time because even as a grad student, summers feel more relaxed on campus (fewer seminars, fewer students around, etc.) My family has a family reunion in August that I sometimes attend, especially if my immediate family is going — the family reunion is closer to my current location than my hometown is. Also, I found that two short vacations a year really help, and I usually take one around the Christmas* season so summer is a nice time for a second one.

    This year, though, I’m finishing my dissertation and trying to find a job for the fall, so I’ve sworn off making summer plans until I have autumn plans (and hopefully a defense date picked).

    * I’m not religious, but I associate Christmas with a lot of family traditions I’m fond of. That and with the exception of my sister and brother in law, none of my immediate family is that religious either.

  2. May 16, 2013 at 3:59 pm —

    Similar to Rebecca, I view summer as vacation time mostly because I’m on campus a lot less and work from home a lot more. This means I can roll out of bed, put on some PJs, and lazily work through the day without worrying about getting up to campus and being interrupted by whatever is going on.

    This summer for me is all about finishing thesis, though. So not a lot of vacationing going on.

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