Summer Lessons

Writers share lessons learned for managing expectations for next summer.

September 12, 2019

It’s back to school time for many of us. Before the memories and lessons from the summer fade is a great time to reflect on Summer 2019 and plan for Summer 2020. Did you meet your summer goals? Which projects have been pushed into the fall and how will you find time for them? What lessons have you learned for managing expectations for next summer?


Lee Skallerup Bessette, Georgetown University, Washington, DC

Why? Why would you do this? Time moves quickly enough for this question to come along and help remind me of said speed; summer of 2020 I will have a teenager! But, seeing as how I’m already writing abstracts and proposing panels for conferences next summer, then I guess it makes a lot of sense. My best advice? Don’t over-plan. Be flexible in your plans and your goals. And, if you are planning on taking a vacation, look up that city’s restaurant week; this summer, a pre-planned trip to NYC to get away turned into a gastronomic feast because of a coincidence of timing. Moving forward, I’m hitting restaurant week wherever and whenever I can. 


Mary Churchill, Boston University, Boston, MA, USA

My summer went by so quickly and I'm sure most of us feel that way. This summer, I really tried to prioritize time with my family. It was my son's last summer before high school and I remember that as a really liminal time in my life - when I seemed to be on the verge of growing up. I knew that he would probably be away or working or combination of the two in the coming summers and that this was probably the last summer we'd have the chance to hang out like this. So, that meant leaving work at work, and being fully present after work and on the weekends. It meant mom and son lunches, shopping trips, and boba tea adventures. It also meant that I had to scale back my other goals and now I have started September feeling super busy. But, I now have some amazing memories that I took the time to create. No regrets!


Meg Palladino, Yale University, New Haven, CT

The first half of my summer was very busy with work, but I took a three-week vacation in August to decompress, far away, in Tunisia. I made a point of unplugging from work, and spending quality time with family.  We had beach days, pool days, lazy days, soccer days, great family meals, a holiday, and countless cups of little Turkish coffees. I think the one thing I would change is to come back a few days earlier to give my son a little bit longer to transition from a summer vacation in Africa to a new grade, a new class, a full day at school here in New Haven.


How will you plan differently for summer 2020?


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