What a summer!

I am currently on a very short vacation at home, and, certainly I’m not the only one who feels this way, but it is tough to budget two weeks worth of time with friends and family before turning around and starting back again at school.

Now that the first year of my master’s program is complete, there are several facts of life that I can’t help but consider. Not only is it tempting to compare your choices during graduate school to those of your peers but also to those of your friends who have full-time jobs, who are traveling, starting families, buying homes and cars, or taking their lives in directions that are, at least in my mind, unimaginable at this point in time.

At the same time, it is fascinating to see how peers in my program are all designing experiences that fit their aspirations while navigating grad school. This summer, some have found ways to leave town to conduct research, some have gone home or elsewhere to work at jobs or internships, and then there are those who have decided to do something completely different. Any of these options provide additional color to their lives and experiences during school.

I decided to remain in Bloomington, Indiana to take summer language courses. I figured fulfilling MA requirements now rather than later would be worthwhile for me personally. Barreling through classes from spring semester straight into the summer wasn’t easy, but it has been good for me to keep focused.

Since I was in town this summer, I found time to work for Traditional Arts Indiana, the state’s folklife program. I gained additional practice working on applied folklore and ethnomusicology projects including working at artist demonstration events and helping to produce a traveling exhibit about Indiana traditional art forms. This summer I gained skills that will help me determine what I may choose to research for my future dissertation. Maybe next summer I’ll figure out a way to find opportunities elsewhere as my peers did, but it’s important to remind myself that everyone has their own needs that must be met.

Despite how tricky it can be to line up schedules with everyone you want to see, there’s nothing so refreshing as catching up with family and friends. Until I head back to B-town (as I have learned to affectionately call Bloomington), I’ll sleep in, eat, and soak in all I can at home! I look forward to classes starting again so I can reconnect with my peers and hear all about their exciting summer stories.

Jennie Summer

Here I am wearing my favorite vacation shirt on my long road trip home!

I hope all of our readers have had a relaxing, productive, and memorable summer!

-Jennie

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