With the recent reminder of the upcoming Faculty-Staff Institute, today marks the end of the lazy, hazy, down-right hot days of summer for most of us. Hopefully everyone has had a chance to do something fun that recharged them, both mentally and physically, for the upcoming school year. While summertime for people in academia (both students and instructors) is the prime time for vacations, Continuing Education opportunities and travel; it is oftentimes not the prime time for others who might like to accompany them on a jaunt to the South Pacific or just down the road to Disney World.
For many who work in the field of agriculture, spring and summer are the prime time for growing, followed up by a fall harvest (fat chance of fitting a romantic trip with your tractor-driving honey in at that time). No, just about the time that instructors are pulling out grade books and stocking up on writing utensils during the tax free weekend, the tractor stops grinding and the plants seemingly give permission for a few days of blissful, non-damaging neglect in order to “go away.” For those who are in retail, the return to school signals a brief respite for retailers before heading into 80-hour workweeks preparing for the Christmas rush, which seems to start earlier every year and doesn’t really end until after the first of the year when all the returns roll in. And for those without children and whose spouses fill the administrative job market, you have suffered through their good intentions of acquiescing to the last slot on the list in terms of requested vacation time in order for those with children to make the mad dash to Disney World before school starts.
So now, its time for Faculty Staff Institute and your spouse is looking at you with that far-away, get-me-the-heck-out-of-Dodge look. What to do?
For starters, take advantage of every opportunity that allows for rest and relaxation. The beginning of the school year always seems to be the most hectic time of the entire year in terms of organization and time management with classes beginning, new students needing direction and a never-ending amount of committee work to be done. Although it may seem a monumental task, planning ahead to literally “get outta Dodge” for the weekend is a guaranteed stress-buster if for no other reason than the change of scenery. With the wide availability of wireless internet connection in practically every hotel, motel and camping ground around, there is no reason that one cannot surf the 'net under a pine tree in a Georgia state park or on a beach next to the Holiday Inn®.
If you can’t off the top of your head think of the ultimate stress busting place that takes you away, think of your significant other. What are the hobbies and stress-busting activities that they never get to do? Fly fishing? Book a cabin for weekend on a fast-moving stream. Photography? Head on up to Calloway Gardens and watch em’ stalk butterflies through the fauna. Trust me, sometimes your most enjoyable times are spent when you give of yourself to others; it’s a win-win situation.
--Oreta Samples is the lead veterinary technician for the Department of Veterinary Science at Fort Valley State University