As a doctoral student in the process of writing my thesis proposal the academic year is a big long blur of deadlines; spring break, summer break, winter break, graduation week, welcome week. They all seem irrelevant, it is one endless stretch with recursive events of meeting up with advisors, working on the thesis and then meeting up again! But this does not have to be something terrible – being a grad student offers me the flexibility of making my own schedule, setting up my deadlines, and carrying work around even when I decide to travel out of town – as long as I show up prepared for the meetings, I don’t have to clock hours in the building!
This summer I will be busy preparing to present at two conferences one in Istanbul, Turkey and the second in San Diego. I feel attending conferences is an essential part of graduate education and when I present my work at the conference I have the added responsibility of being an ambassador of the spirit of U-M! That feels like a lot of responsibility for my little shoulders to bear! A generous travel grant makes it possible to fly down to Istanbul but also involves the hassle of acquiring a Turkish visa, for which I have to put together the many documents and plan a trip to Chicago for the visa interview. A bonus problem involving the trip to Istanbul involves the renewal of my F1 student visa at the U.S. embassy in Istanbul so that I can come back into Ann Arbor. I am hoping that both the visa interviews happen smoothly or else it would mean a lot of undue stress coming up with alternative plans. I would love to hear success stories from other students that have triumphed over such situations.
On a brighter note, I am looking forward the big tango festival happening in Ann Arbor during the first weekend of May, two couples will be traveling from Buenos Aires, Argentina to the campus to nudge eager tangueros like me to dance better. The festival draws dancers from the neighboring states and provides a lot of dancing including an all night milonga, so you know where to find me during that weekend.
Some of the highlights of the Summer in Ann Arbor involve the Art Fair, Summer Festival and Top of the Park which happen in June and July. Watching movies on a big screen for three weeks is the best part of my evenings. I hope to go kayaking down the Huron, have at least one camping trip and a road trip to my friend’s wedding in Virginia and somehow fit sky-diving into my execution list this summer. Phew! I like how summer provides the promise of making the most of the outdoors. I hope we all have a wonderful summer and live to tell tales of our accomplishments!