I’m happy to say it looks like the worst is over; spring has finally decided to hang out and the end of the semester is (almost) here. Plus, it’s shaping up to be a sunny Earth Day, which is always a nice touch on a day I feel almost obligated to go outside.
When it’s a nice day after a long winter, I always feel a sort of resentment when I have to stay indoors, whether it was to write a paper or work in an office. So, this post is all about how to work outside… sort of. Well… as much as can when you’re a grad student.
Don’t fear the light! I urge you—come out from your basement offices, modified storage closets, and dimly lit crawl spaces! You can do it! Don’t let the pressure of the upcoming May chaos keep you indoors. It’ll be much easier on your eyes (and skin) if you ease into summer a little.
First, definitely put on sunscreen. It’s probably been a while since you’ve left the library but trust me; the sun’s rays are still bad for you. And don’t think you can build up a base tan like that undergrad in your intro course—she’s been tanning steadily for years (probably ignoring the problem set you assigned as she basks) and she’s better at it than you. Don’t shoot for the moon. Lather that SPF on.
Second, bring some work that won’t fly away in a stiff breeze. Marking papers probably isn’t your best bet—single sheets of paper are a sure goner in a strong gust of wind. I’d recommend a reference book of some kind—you’re outside already, there’s no reason to make it too relaxing. Fun is for undergraduates and you need to give yourself the incentive to return to your windowless apartment and get some real work done. If you want to blend in, maybe bring an academic journal—they can be confused with magazines at a distance.
Third and I can’t emphasize this enough, stay away from Eddies. It’s crawling with undergraduates who are drunk on spring pollen and summer internships. And let’s not even talk about the seniors who will soon be indulging in senior week (better known to you as the week that band plays outside the library and distracts you from working!!). The parade is a danger zone. You will never be as good at Frisbee as you were when you were 20, so don’t try it. Also, you may be hit in the head with a rugby ball and the location is not worth the concussion. I’d recommend sticking to benches or small grassy patches.
Maybe sit in that small area right outside your department building? That could be nice. But then, you’ll defiantly be spotted by your advisor and you’re supposed to be avoiding them until you finish that last chapter…
Actually scratch this whole thing. Stay inside behind a partially closed door. You can see the sun when you emerge for sustenance.
Happy Earth Day GSAS!