The final post of the The Summer Series , in which I attempt to summarize them all.
We’re approaching the end of summer, and after 2 weeks of accidental silence, it’s time for me to wrap up the series. I said we’d tell some “true tales of academic adventure and misadventure”, but have any of the 10 excellent posts delivered on that promise? Or, more specifically, what exactly have the posts delivered? Does it even make sense to try to summarize them? Bear with me, while I embark on this final quest.
Taking a birds-eye view first, one thing I’m noticing is that the reasons that the writers provide for starting out on their (academic) paths, don’t always match neatly with their final position. Even saying “final” position doesn’t really make sense; many of us are still on our way, are unsure what will happen next, and/or have taken a side-step out of academia – and that’s all okay! Reading between the lines, I think this shows how important it is to expect things to change and shift, and to exercise a degree of openness and flexibility.
Speaking of exercise, mental health issues were mentioned by several of the writers (though mostly as a side point), whether it was about medication, perfectionism, imposter syndrome, or bullying. Take care of yourselves, y’all. Please please please make use of support services, both formal and informal, and reach out to others who seem like they might need it too.
I guess that counts as “advice”, and although I joked originally about (often contradicting) advice, the joke is now on me – different writers emphasized hard work, networking (including with people who poop), and luck to varying degrees, so what is the true story??
…and that is precisely the final message of these posts. Everyone’s story was different; that’s the true story. And that means that given your unique circumstances, interests, aptitudes and random stumbles, what works for you might not work for others, nor vice versa. And yet, social comparison is (basically?) inevitable, and some days it might seem like everyone in the Twittersphere is more accomplished/interesting/on top of things than you. It’s on those days that I think the 10 stories of the Summer Series might be the most useful – as a honest, heart-warming, reminder that everyone f*ks up sometimes; you are not alone.
And I, obviously, could not do this alone. Tremendous thanks to all the wonderful contributors, and to the many many readers who have come along for the ride. You’ve absolutely made my summer!