Our Summer Plans: 2021

Summer is finally here, and with the heat comes new projects, deadlines, goals, and plans. Whether you’re finishing out your first year as graduate students, preparing for Comprehensive exams, or graduated and making your way in the real world, we all have different agendas and objectives for the summer. Though sometimes summertime can be relaxing, we know that that’s not always the case, and it can be just as (or more) stressful than any other term. This week, we wanted to share with you some of the things we’re working on this summer, and give our readers a look into what the season means for us.

Clayton: The COVID pandemic upended most of the plans and ideas that people had over the course of 2020. Now approaching summer 2021, the world is slowly trying to regain some form of normalcy in most aspects of life. This means I can be a little more optimistic when it comes to making summer plans than during this time last year. Much like last year, I will be focusing on both my professional and academic paths forward. On the professional side, the last year has provided me with valuable experience in researching and applying for jobs and the general interview process for jobs related to historical fields. Luckily, I have been able to continue research internship at the Holocaust Museum (both remote and more recently in person) which allows me take part in different aspects of museum work. More on the academic side, with the cuts that programs have been forced to take due to COVID, it is more important than ever to properly review and consider all the possible programs I would want to attend and their costs vs. benefits. Again, I am lucky with this, since I have great connections with graduate students and professors that can help me navigate all these possibilities. Let’s all hope this summer will be much more productive and enjoyable for all of us!  

Dragana: As the first year of my program came to a close, I had some time to think about what I wanted to do over the summer. As our semester ended early—at the end of April—and the Fall semester does not start until August, I knew that I wanted to TA. Along with TA-ing I am also taking one online course on the history of Florida (which I am really enjoying) and two Directed Readings, as well as working on this blog. As the history of Florida course is six weeks it has been a little intense with work, but once I am done with it then my schedule will not be as packed. In the midst of all the work, I continue to make time for myself. Lately, I have been watching a drama with my sister and it has been nice to spend time with her and discuss our thoughts/theories. Earlier this week I went on a much-needed hike with Kiri—it got me out of the house and a chance to catch up with her since we have not seen each other in a while. Although I will be busy this summer, I am glad that I have something to occupy my time and make the days pass a little quicker. While it will not be the most spectacular summer, it will be one that is going to set me up for my comprehensive exams and the Fall semester. 

Kiri: With my Comprehensive Exams fast approaching in the Spring of next year, as well as the defense of my dissertation prospectus, this summer is going to be a busy one. My goal for this summer is to have most of my outlines for my comprehensive questions finished, as well as around 80% of my prospectus done and my applications for fellowships lined up. Because my funding package does not include a year off for research, it feels like I must work harder and quicker than many of my colleagues to secure enough funding, so that I can spend at least one semester between Britain and Jamaica. On top of this, I am also working as a Research Assistant for my advisor, and I will be starting a wonderful internship program at the State Archives at the start of June. Outside of my academic responsibilities, I am also helping my sister plan her wedding, which will occur in early September. All of this to say, this summer is going to be one of the most difficult academic terms I’ve had (so far, anyway). The things I want to accomplish this summer are going to help me have an easier time come the Spring semester… but having this huge to-do list and not a lot of structure elicits powerful feelings of anxiety.

Thankfully, I’m lucky enough to have a wonderful group of friends that are always there to help. They give me words of encouragement (shoutout to my roomie Rachel who listened to me rant just yesterday about all I had to do… and who told me she had absolutely zero doubts in my abilities to accomplish everything), distractions (hikes with Dragana, blowing off steam with Chelsi and Frank, goofing around with Stephen and Clayton), and constant words of love and affirmation (more shoutouts to my mom, loving boyfriend, and my other roomie Maddie for this one). This summer I feel like I need to accomplish so much just to feel like I’m on the same page as everyone else, and imposter syndrome is creeping in and making a home. With a solid support system, though, I think that, just maybe, everything is going to be okay. 

Stephen: Last summer the pandemic prevented me from travelling abroad and participating in multiple fieldwork opportunities. Even though I did not get to go out into the field the summer was still successful. I published my first article and passed my Italian exam. This summer the pandemic is still causing trouble. My initial hopes were to travel abroad to participate in different nautical archaeology projects, but the pandemic canceled at least the beginning of the summer field season. I still have hope that I may be able to travel abroad at the end of the summer before the fall term. In the meantime, I am writing another article, taking an intensive Latin language class, and preparing a project for the fall semester! After this summer I will be entering my third year as a PhD student. It is almost time to put the final touches on my dissertation proposal, finish my last two semesters of classes, and begin preparing for my preliminary exams. By next summer I should be a PhD Candidate and writing my dissertation! 

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