Here at UT, today was the last day of final exams for the term. All that is left for some is to finish grading and submit final grades. That is one of the nice things about teaching is that when a semester is over, it usually really is over. There are rarely lots of loose ends to deal with, except for the occasional incomplete.
So, once it is done, most of us have 2-6 weeks to decompress and prepare for the next round. What do you do with the time? Catch up on research? Clean your office? Deal with other administrative tasks you’ve put off, “until you had time?” Start revamping your courses based on the lessons learned this term? Run for the hills for a while? Introduce yourself to familial relations who’ve shared your home but not your time for the last three months? Hibernate? Some mélange of the above?
When we have these seasons of reprieve, even with the other piles now screaming for our attention like fall foliage that appears only when the green chlorophyll disappears, removing its mask, we need to remember to restore our spirits, our bodies, and our minds. There is a time for these other things that have reached the top of the pile. Yet, our efficiency is most helped when we take ourselves out of action for a time and truly rest.
I urge you to take even one day (preferably two)—a whole day, at one time, set apart, to pray, to read, both Scripture and for pleasure, to enjoy the slow quiet things of life. Enjoy some time with your family, but time alone with no pressing business will reenergize you. This is separate and in addition to the holiday craziness surrounding us. Keep it at bay just a little longer. Eat food that you have been craving. Sleep in, and/or take a nap. Savor time with a hobby. Enjoy the Sabbath of the semester, and you will reengage with the day to day life more completely, with more efficiency and passion.