University of Venus - Our Non-Academic Lives

The University of Venus question of the month: What is it that you do to relax when you do not want to be your academic self?

August 31, 2011

The University of Venus question of the month: What is it that you do to relax when you do not want to be your academic self?

  • Afshan Jafar (US): I hang out with my kids doing whatever it is that they want me to do... playing with LEGO sets, dancing, reading, playing dress-up. I highly recommend these activities, even if you don't have kids!
  • Ana Dinescu (Germany): I am reading a novel, or learning a new language, or taking pictures or trying to get in touch with old good friends.
  • Denise Horn (US): I take my dog to the park, where I have a group of friends who do the same. We are all professionals or academics, and yet hanging out with our dogs, we talk about the silliest things and tell crazy stories. For an hour every day, I am not an academic, but just a bit of a kid in the park.
  • Janni Aragon (Canada)" Yoga is normally where I can turn off my mind and completely immerse myself in the asana. And, this is one of the many reasons why I love yoga. I find that most exercise offers me moments to turn off, but yoga and balancing poses require concentration!
  • Heather Alderfer (US): After college I worked in a kitchen, hoping to treat intellectual burnout with the Zen of chopping vegetables. I still use cooking to balance out my academic self - preparing a meal uses all five senses and helps quiet down my chattering mind.
  • Rosalie Arcala (Philippines): In reality, it’s very difficult to turn off my academic self. I think about things I want to write, readings or assignments I want to give my students; even when I am in the shower, exercising, or commuting to/from work. My academic “off” mode is really that precious half-an-hour before going to bed. I read mystery books and travel books or play “Cubicles” on my iPod.
  • Lee Skallerup Bessette (US)" Swim. Watch sports (mostly hockey and football). Watch sitcoms. Play with my kids. Read celebrity gossip on the Internet. Virtually window shop/reimagine my wardrobe. Write. Laugh.
  • Anamaria Dutceac Segesten (Sweden): When I really need a break from the academic life and when my schedule allows it, I like a change of scenery. Travel to another city or another country is the best alternative. If time and planning constraints do not allow travel, I like to relax by going to a concert or to the movies, preferably in the company of friends.
  • Meg Palladino (US): I walk my dog, ride my bike, swim in rivers, cook, eat, and read crummy novels.
  • Deanna England (Canada): As a good example, this summer, in my month between classes, I’ve been cramming in as many trashy books, Netflix TV shows and cheesy horror movies as possible –and I refuse to critically analyze any of them! An impossible task of course, I found myself mentally writing imaginary papers about sexuality in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies – but since I wasn’t being graded, it was still a relaxing exercise.
  • Mary Churchill (US): It is very hard for me to disengage. I am least academic when I am fully absorbed in an activity that doesn’t allow for much critical space: pulling weeds in the garden, cooking three dishes at once, and doing Sudoko before I fall asleep.
  • Melonie Fullick (Canada): I like to read fiction--recently I read a lot of historical fiction, and I watch documentaries. It probably doesn't sound very leisurely, but for me this is relaxing! "Escaping" into the past is enjoyable and is also a learning experience; I’ve had some great work-related ideas while reading about something supposedly unrelated, in a novel or biography. I also like to travel and I find knowing history makes that more enjoyable, too.
  • Elizabeth Pardoe (US): I love "turning off" by "tuning in" to shows like "Glee" or "The Good Wife," but my blog reveals that they reintegrate into my academic introspection. Only the creation of of something tangible truly takes over academic analysis. If I bake, garden, or exercise; then the cake, the space, or my own shape becomes an aesthetic not academic creation.


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