Yesterday I got the odd summer question again: “But you’re having 3 months of summer vacation; how do you spend all this time?”
I get asked this type of question almost every year. It does not help at all to tell over and over again that we university people are not like school teachers or just-students in this respect. We have 5 weeks of vacation, or 6 weeks if one gets old enough, like all other employees in Austria.
So what’s on at my work place?
I just came back from 3 weeks of summer vacation. At the institute, I could see plenty of new faces: Like every year, we have roughly a dozen students working within their IAIK internship. They seem to have fun — at least, this is what they say — despite the extraordinary summer heat.
On the photo above you can see Maria and Lisa. They are working as interns within the
project “Teens Tackle Technology“. Maria just finished her project, and Lisa just started.
Their topic is game theory.
Anyone else working? Well, I have just finished analyzing the evaluation results from last
year’s courses. Check out this blog space for more on this in a couple of days.
In another project, I am continuing working on my ASCII-only course-ware for the course “Rechnerorganisation”. In this project, I try to communicate the whole course material through text only — no pictures. In case you are interested, check out some of the available material on my blog on the course Rechnerorganisation (http://rechnerorganisation.wordpress.com).
Some other colleagues work on innovating other courses. There will be new teachers for the courses “IT security”, “Computer and Communication Networks”, “Advanced Computer Networks”, and “Logic and Computability”.
Many of my colleagues use the summer for finally getting things done — things they could not do during the semester due to teaching assignments. For example, two office doors from mine, a colleague is working on finishing his PhD thesis text.
The nice thing about summer at the university is that I don’t see any unmotivated people at the university. For me it is one of the really productive periods during the whole year.
Maybe you have noticed that I have used the word “work” a lot in the text above. To some of you this might be a bit of over-doing. Why “work”? Why not “have fun” instead? To put it frankly: I only use the word “work” when it is fun. As soon as I can see that some activity is not fun anymore, I try to get out of this activity and find something else to work on. This is my kind of philosophy to stay happy. It has worked for 6 decades now.