[flickr id=”14275595256″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”none”]

I am happy to report that I survived my first year of grad school and my first semester teaching. It’s hard to believe how quickly this year has gone by (especially this past semester!)  While the majority of my summer plans focus on reading, writing, researching, and running, I firmly believe that these first weeks of summer vacation are important to take for oneself, even if that means doing things that otherwise seem “unproductive.”

There’s a ton of pressure to be productive and be working at optimum efficiency, but in order to maintain that level, I know that I need to take some time to do what might be considered “nothing” at least for a couple days before diving into new projects.

Since I arrived in Chicago, I have been working hard both for class and my on campus jobs. My schedule this past semester had me doing around 80 hours of class/work/study time a week. There was very little time during the term to take time for myself, so that is exactly what I’ve been doing for the past week. I call it the decompression period.

[flickr id=”14112086688″ thumbnail=”medium_640″ overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”none”] I’ve been running every day (thanks to the beautiful weather that has finally arrived!), digging into books from my summer reading list, and planning a trip back home for early June.

After being locked inside all winter (dare I utter the words “polar vortex”?) I am ecstatic to be able to go out and experience more of what the city has to offer, from hitting the beach, to neighborhood adventures with friends in my cohort, to taking my fiancé out for his birthday to the 96th floor of the Hancock building. [flickr id=”14229458753″ thumbnail=”medium_640″ overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”none”]

Next week I’m flying back to Florida (where they are all incredibly jealous of our weather) to see my parents and friends. I can’t wait to go, but I’m also excited to return to the city and enjoy my first Chicago summer.