Another year older

First of all, thank you to everyone who sent me birthday cards and wishes. It means a lot to me to have friends who care. Overall, my birthday was quite happy, though with bitersweet undertones. I had a delicious dinner and desert at Il Fornaio, courtesy of David, a movie with friends, and cards and phone calls throughout the day. I have to thank my awesome roomate, semer, for outdoing herself to make sure I had a great day.  Here are some pictures she took of her handiwork.  She’s the best!

Second, I just got offered the RCC position in Kimball next year, which was my first choice dorm.  I’m really happy that this worked out, because Kimball is a really fun dorm to live in and I’m hoping that many of my friends will end up there or in nearby dorms.

I did just realize, however, that between SRC and staff training, I’m going to have almost no time off this summer.  Normally this would be a bit of a bummer but not the end of the world.  This year I’m worried that I may have made a bad choice about doing summer research.  I’ve had some pretty rough times these past two quarters, and it has been suggested to me many times that I should take some time off.  I never actually manage to take time off, however – there’s always a reason to stay just one more quarter.  This quarter, for instance, I figured I could handle another 10 weeks (especially since so many people I know are graduating in June) and then recover during the summer.  But somehow I wasn’t thinking about the fact that doing a “project” during the summer means another 10 weeks of full time work, which is hardly a break.  It has been brought to my attention that I could decide not to do the summer project, but I am resistant to that idea because I’d feel so unreliable and would be leaving someone hanging.  At the same time, it might just be more important to take care of my (mental and physical) health at the cost of a good summer opportunity and possibly losing someone’s respect (by backing out).  I really don’t know what I should do….

Stick with summer plans
Pros
: improve programming/technical skills, work on an interesting project, make connections in CS department, get research experience, see Stanford people during the summer, make money
Cons: full time work for almost the whole summer, very little break time over summer, possibly wear/stress self out, can’t contribute money to IRA

Back out of summer research project
Pros: time to relax, re-energize, easier to deal with health and emotional concerns, spend more time with my sister, see friends from high school, get stuff done at home
Cons: may be hard to find another job, being at home all summer could make me crazy, let down/inconvenience the people I’m working with

Any thoughts?

Comments 8

  1. julu wrote: Posted 01 Jan 0001 at 00:00
  2. prismakaos wrote:

    take the time, you’ll be in training for staff at the end of the summer, and I’m sure that there’ll be enough people on campus that you’ll have plenty of places to crash / people to hang out with should things with your family become insanely crazy.

    Finding a summer part-time job that is relaxing might also be a good alternative to 10 weeks of serious work. Would it be possible to perhaps balance the two options and work not as much as you would doing SRC , but still do the project?

    And happy birthday two days late! Sorry I didn’t send you a note, but I did wish it to you in my head. ;)

    Posted 04 May 2006 at 10:32
  3. semer wrote:

    Any way to bring it down to part-time?

    Posted 04 May 2006 at 10:32
  4. zaldreon wrote:

    My suggestion would be to discuss the matter with the person for whom you would be doing work over the summer. You can ask this professor a number of pertinent questions which might make the decision easier.

    First, you can ask about the nature and intensity of the summer work. You should mention your concern about needing a break, and ask if the SRC project will be particularly intense. The professor might be flexible and willing to accommodate you, to some degree.

    Alternately, the professor may have some fairly easy way to get a different research worker to do the job in your place. Then you wouldn’t need to worry so much about letting that person down. The professor would probably be happier to see you go if you discussed the matter with him/her first. Most professors are nice and understanding people; I think it’s very likely that the professor will be able to say or do something to help you make this choice without sacrificing his/her respect for you.

    Also, be careful about the IRA contribution criterion. You should be sure that you will be paid in a form which can be contributed to an IRA (with a W-2 form) before you count this as a pro.

    Posted 04 May 2006 at 11:02
  5. wyterabbit wrote:

    When I said “can’t contribute to an IRA” is a con, I meant that my pay will be the same form as last year, which is to say I don’t get a W-2 and therefore can’t contribute to an IRA. This is a disadvantage of doing paid research as opposed to say, some other job.

    Posted 04 May 2006 at 12:07
  6. faerieloch wrote:

    Try and keep your SRC position to nine-to-five. That way you can relax every evening, do what you want, and not feel pressure until the very end. I did that one summer and found I had incredible amounts of time to do things in like read, watch movies, cross stitch, hang out with friends, etc. It was really relaxing and made me realise the benefits of not being in academia: that until crunch time, you have all this time that is non-work time to do whatever the hell you want!

    Posted 04 May 2006 at 12:45
  7. zaldreon wrote:

    Sorry, I misread the original post. I had thought that you wrote “Can contribute to the IRA” in the “Pro” category. My mistake.

    Posted 04 May 2006 at 20:05
  8. wolfsrune wrote:

    fwiw, i think you should look primarily at your own needs for time off. if you don’t really need time off or can follow nancy’s advice and limit your work to regular work hours and be ok with your mental and physical health, then you can go ahead with your plans. but if you need more time off than the job would allow then you need to look out for yourself first. in this case, honestly explain the situation to the people you would have been working for. you can apologize for not anticipating the problem, but no one can expect you to sacrifice your health and well-being for a summer project. good luck with whatever you decide!

    Posted 04 May 2006 at 23:16

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