a dog looking over a table with an e-reader on it

Working During the Summer Break

Though I often write about leisure, I also spend a substantial amount of time working on weekdays during my summer break. This summer, I am working two different positions—both at the University of Toronto. I hope that sharing my experience will lend you some guidance on which sorts of opportunities you'd like to pursue next summer.

For the month of May, I was a Jackman Humanities Institute Scholar-in-Residence. Since this program was conducted virtually, scholars were expected to collaborate with teammates and their professor in the mornings, and to join into activities and presentations in the afternoon. My project on anti-homeless bylaws was led by Professor Joe Hermer. As a result of this experience, I gained a deeper understanding into how bylaws are enforced and can target minority populations. I am thankful that Professor Hermer has allowed me to stay on this project for the rest of the summer. Each Scholar-in-Residence receives a $1000 stipend for their month of participation. After May, I was on contract as a research assistant. On average I work 10 hours a week.

As well, I am also conducting joint research as a University of Toronto Excellence Award recipient. This award provides students with a stipend to offset living expenses for the summer. The schedule for this work was set by my professor. He chose a flexible schedule that entailed a lot of independent research on my own time. Currently, I am looking for data that may suggest causes for interregional inequality in U.S. micropolitan areas. This work allows me to bolster my skill in data processing, as well as in academic writing. I learned about the UTEA through a newsletter, so make sure to check your inboxes!

yorkshire terrier sitting on a bag on a chair at a patio
My dog enjoys sitting on the Starbucks patio as I do my work

In the past, I have spent summers completing internships. I prefer academic research, but this is not a realisation I could have arrived at without trying a little bit of everything. I recommend speaking to friends, family members, and academic advisors on the means in which you can meaningfully spend your summer. Even if they offer no new suggestions, it is always nice to know there is someone around to discuss your thoughts with you.

In addition to paid work, I also like to work on pet hobbies and on volunteering. In the past, I volunteered as a truck driver's assistant at Second Harvest, assisting in loading and offloading spare groceries. This summer, I am working on perfecting my digital art style. I draw on my iPad using an Apple Pencil and the Procreate app. What work have you been up to as of lately? Post a comment to let me know!

two oil painting palettes on two tables, one of which also has paint brushes, tape, and paint thinner
Art, for me, is both a form of leisure and work

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