At the close of summer 2013, I am eager to honor all of the growing experiences that I’ve been lucky enough to encounter over the preceding, and exceedingly busy, four months.
It has been months of self-evaluation and reflection about my Master’s thesis and where I can go from here – that is, after I’m graduated from my six years of university studies. I’m astounded at how much of my physical and mental energy has been invested into scholarly pursuits over my lifetime. In undergrad, I spent entire days trying to decipher and decode the elaborate and elitist writings of academics in a range of different topics. My graduate life was similar, though I found it easier to put on the cloak of scholarly writing in everything from my emails to my everyday speech.
Something changed in me last April 2013, however. I lost the romantic dream of pursuing life as a solitary scholar grinding away at topics of a philosophical, and completely impractical, orientation. Instead, I wanted to be working at the helm of a ship, pumping weights in a gym, cutting wood in a carpentry shop – really, anything that didn’t involve academia.
It was a Tweet on social media that led me to the Regional Tourism Organization located out of Woodstock, Ontario, and their request for summer interns. I applied blindly, got the job rapidly, and moved into a 1-bedroom apartment above a Real Estate agency in Woodstock within a matter of weeks.
Of course, given a busy 9am-5pm schedule in the office, weekly work-related travel to festivals around Southwest Ontario, a Research Assistant position with my thesis adviser at university, and the desire to still be physically active outside, I got very little done on my thesis over the summer. Instead, I spent my spare hours hiking around downtown Woodstock, a place that really everyone should experience at least once. I was consistently astounded at how amenity-rich Woodstock was; my apartment along the main strip (Dundas St.) was close to several grocery stores, movie rentals, fitness centers, pools, restaurants, and for me most importantly – nature. The architecture of Woodstock’s downtown also left me constantly curious and snapping an embarrassing number of pictures at street corners.
So now summer has come to close, and I have to say adios to Woodstock and all the wonderful adventures I’ve had there. I’m back to writing the thesis now, but offers of further scholarships to pursue doctoral research pale in comparison to the life that I could be living. A life immersed in the real world, with my head still in the philosophical clouds.
Adios to Woodstock, but bonjour to my next adventure – whatever that may be!