See this stack of books? This is the pile that has been slowly accumulating on my desk over the course of the semester . Purchased on surprise trips to Amherst Books, the Odyssey Bookshop, or even the Campus Center Bookstore, these books have been taunting me throughout the semester as I’ve typed away on papers or trudged through dull readings. But I haven’t allowed myself to read them – not yet, anyway.
Winter break is supposed to be a time of relaxation – I’ll get to see my family, do a bit of traveling, and hopefully tackle this stack of books. (I’m really excited about Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton – I’m a sucker for anything related to the Founding Fathers.) I’m looking forward to sleeping in and being able to shift gears from all the academic work I’ve accomplished. I’ve worked hard and I’ve earned this break!
But in terms of my thesis, I’ve spent the last few weeks building up momentum to really pound out that first draft. I don’t want to lose that momentum and start spring semester off with a ton of work to catch up on, especially now that I’ve added a digital component to my work. So, in addition to the introduction I’m writing right now to finish off HIST499Y, I’ve started outlining what the rest of the chapters are going to look like. It’s allowing me to comb through all this research I’ve done, remind me of what I've accomplished, and make connections between the primary and secondary sources that can be incorporated into my writing.
Over winter break, I expect I’ll be working my way through the first draft slowly but surely, giving me that head start for a smooth transition into next semester. I’m not going to let my thesis work stop me from enjoying the holidays, but I’m also not going to let next semester start off with an steeper uphill climb than the writing the thesis already is. Finding that balance between work and play at home can be hard, but a little productivity now can go along way.
I wish you all the best for a restful and productive winter break!