Summer’s Purpose: Refine, Reconnect, and Refocus

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

During the summer months, most adjuncts and Collegiate Gigsters are put in the position of having some extra time on their hands. For some of us, this is downtime, but for me it is an opportunity for introspection and growth. For example, two things I plan on doing are to further develop my academic writing and to find new public speaking opportunities.

To that end, I take this opportunity to review my Summer Plan, read over my Be Kind Portfolio, and reconnect with what fills me back up, both intellectually and spiritually. In the process, I plan to do three things: refine, reconnect, and refocus.

Refine

Refinement requires you to identify what you’re good at, shift contexts, and see if you can continue to grow and learn in your craft. For me, this means taking a moment to acknowledge my accomplishments over the past year. I then see what themes my accomplishments form and use those to work on refining my skills. I recently was asked to speak at a meeting of the Democratic Party of Orange County. The focus of the meeting was to inspire young women to find their voice and become active.

From the enthusiasm of those in attendance, I’ve learned that I am a very good speaker, one that motivates and inspires. A transferrable skill that comes from my time in the classroom, my speaking abilities are something that I will continue to refine. To do so, I’ve added a Public Speaking page to my personal website letting the world know that I am available to speak at their events.

Reconnect

This summer, we will have family visiting from abroad. This creates a great opportunity to reconnect with family we’ve not seen in more than a year. We also have six birthdays (four in June and two in August!) and two “graduations” (from 6th grade and from 8th grade) to celebrate.

Along with all of that, we have planned a few pool party play dates with friends to reconnect, acknowledge how quickly our children are growing, share resources on entrepreneurial ventures, and (hopefully) steer clear of political talk.

In short, enjoy the company of your summer visitors. Humans thrive in community, so reconnecting with family and friends provides a way for us to fill up our emotional reserves that have depleted over time. Reconnect with your tribe and show your appreciation for them being in your life. A few hours at a time can make a world of difference.

Refocus

This summer I want to refocus on my academic writing. Believe it or not, I really miss it when I am not engaged in academic thought and writing about it. It is a physical need for me and not doing it feels like I’m forgetting to drink enough water. I know…weird, I mentioned before, I love school. It is also important to develop my writing because it directly impacts my speaking ability. It helps me practice organizing my thoughts and telling a compelling story.

In an effort to make some progress on my academic writing, I’ve started a summer writing group at my educational institution. Last Spring, I had attended a one-day writing retreat and it was such a great experience for me. So I wanted to create a similar environment this summer for two populations of academics who I feel need it the most: PhD students and Adjunct faculty.

These scholars usually do not have time or the support to produce academic work for publication. Ironically that is the one part of a competitive academic resume that is crucial to advancement. I’ve received excellent responses and we had our first meeting on last week. We will henceforth meet twice a month throughout the summer. This will give us all some dedicated time to work on academic writing.

Conclusion

Hopefully you will also use this summer to refine, reconnect and refocus. You can do this by identify your big “to-dos” and make a plan to tackle them. I hope my examples above will motivate you all to do the same.

Life is made to be lived, so find your purpose and make it happen!

This article also appears in a newsletter published monthly called The Gigster 'Zine! that is a production of the Colégas Group. Please visit the website to learn more, sign up for the newsletter, and for finding innovative employment opportunities.

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