You might have noticed that this blog was very quiet during the summer months. That is, in part, thanks to the fact that we actually went on holidays! (Plus, while preparing for those vacations there might have been a finish-everything-madness, but we admit to nothing).
Why is this newsworthy?
Well, I haven’t taken a proper summer break since I was an undergraduate student. Every year, something got in the way: first preparing a semester abroad, then a bachelor thesis, next a master thesis, as a new PhD the project came first, and then (it feels like just a second later) I was defending my thesis and on subsequent short-term contracts a summer break doesn’t seem possible…
Vacation also fall off the table for another reason. Research is a wonderfully and dangerously flexible job; new challenges come up every day and we can decide when and how to solve them. mostly very independently. While the flexibility of the job has many advantages, there is the danger that taking a bigger chunk of time off simply seems unnecessary. I hate to tell you, but a half-day here, a Sunday morning there, that’s not vacation, actually.
Taking a break is actually quite important, we all need to recharge and switch off from thinking about the nitty gritty details of research and your project. Coming back, you might even notice a new perspective and ideas that were simmering beneath the surface bubbling up! It’s also very useful to spend time with family and friends, and not check your mail every 10 minutes.
On a more practical level, vacations also have direct health benefits. Research is stressful, with high stakes, lots of pressure, and many deadlines, to name just a few things. We need to be healthy to be able to play the game and deliver the best outcomes. Being away for 2 weeks and coming back brimming with energy and ideas certainly beats being at home for the same 2 weeks with the flu.
In short, we are back, and after jumping into the deep end of the sciencing pool, this blog returns from a wonderful summer sleep that we both needed and greatly enjoyed…