Spring is frequently considered to be the time for cleaning, but nevertheless, many colleagues are currently sorting and tidying their desks. For those working in universities in all sorts of roles, the Autumn Term feels like a particularly long and sustained period of hard work, with memories of summer weather and holidays fading into history. The end of term and approach of the Christmas break comes as a welcome opportunity to take a deep breath, tidy desks and minds in preparation for returning in the new year, and shift focus from busy day-to-day activities to future plans.
The Thesis Whisperer has recently posted about desk-clearing. In the case of this guest post, Linda was clearing out after completion of her PhD thesis, but she addresses the emotional process as well as the physical. This emotional process of clearing out, of saying goodbye to things which have previously occupied large amounts of your time and energy, in order to free up space for new ideas, projects and progress seems appropriate as 2018 approaches its end and 2019 offers a return to lengthening days, and renewed energy after a break.
Academics also reflect on the nature and opportunities offered by the season in the THE today. “There’s a good reason why so many winter festivals emphasise bright lights, goodwill and sociability; these things are necessary all winter long” says Emily Michelson of the University of St Andrews, and gives her suggestions to “rescue our post-solstice sanity”.
We’ve talked before about the value of taking a break from your research (here and here) and the Christmas vacation is a great opportunity to connect with friends and family. However, if you are planning to be in and around the campus over the break, you can find opening hours for University services, including the Library and Sport & Fitness, on the intranet.
So whatever you are doing over the Christmas period, whether you are tidying up, holing up to write, or making the most of the social opportunities, I wish you a happy and refreshing Christmas. See you in 2019!