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04 July 2010

The all star break - sort of

It is July 4th, and I'd be neglecting my responsibility as an American citizen if I didn't take a second to remember that in addition to the people who signed the paper, there were farmers from Massachusetts and other states that picked up long rifles and three pointed hats, and convinced the King of England that it was time to take his redcoats and GTFO. Well done.

July 4th is also a logical place to call the “middle point of summer” if you're a student. May/June is the first half, July/August is the second half. I don't count the first part of May as summer, because those two weeks are taken up by finals. I also don't count the last week or so of August, since that week is taken up by either sitting at home doing last minute slacking or getting my stuff together for the next semester. (This year it will be taken up by unpacking in a new apartment.)

The middle of anything is a good time to look back at where you started, where you're at, and where you're headed.

I almost aced the certification exam for a work-related two week training course I took right after the semester ended. The material was stuff that I'm familiar with, so it wasn't that hard, but I did have to study over the two weeks of the course. I discovered another library on campus that I didn't spend much time in last semester, and decided I was comfortable there-- an added bonus.

A weekend camping trip to a state park not far from home did me a world of good. The entire process of getting stuff together, taking it to the woods, and setting up camp well enough to survive on my own for a few days gives me peace. It doesn't have to be a trip to far away, or anywhere exotic-- just far enough away that things are quiet. I'm working on planning a couple more camping trips this summer, hopefully at least one headed for a national forest.

I've also been on the bike more, and have been working out with some light free weights. These things help, too. Finding time to get out in the trees and on the bike paths, and into the gym, is easier in summer because I'm not working crazy hours and I'm not in classes. I'm not sure yet how I'm going to integrate exercise back into my semester schedule, so that's something to think about.

This summer, I'm going to try to hit 250 miles on the bike-- I have about 50 logged, so 200 miles in two months. I have a workout DVD that has always given me good results, and I 'm working with that every day (complaining muscles be damned). I've sort of let physical fitness slip over the past couple of semesters since I've been so busy with school; the rest of the summer I'm going to try to get back into the habit again.

I am trying to think about what I can do to make those first couple of weeks of the semester easier to deal with. My university campus is a busy place in summer, but it's nothing like when everyone's here for classes. During the summer session, I'm going to sit in on a couple of classes. I'm going to get to the gym, and get comfortable there before everyone else is there and it's completely crowded. One day, I'll take a walk and find all of my classrooms for fall and sit down in them for a few minutes, get used to the environment ahead of time. I'll check out some of the libraries and study spaces I might have missed last semester.

Finally, and probably most important-- I'm setting aside a couple of days to look at the textbooks, notes, and assignments from the failed classes I'm repeating this fall. I don't know what I'll find in them, if anything. I'm sure that I'll feel anxious and possibly triggered upon looking at them. I'd rather be triggered in the middle of July, when I can do something about it, than the first week of September when I've got homework due and there's 40,000 other people around.

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