And I’m exhaling.

This past week, I finished up on the fourth semester of my master’s degree program in Public Relations and Organizational Communications at WSU. It seemed to be a particularly challenging semester for me. There was an enormous amount of reading to do each week, tons of class presentations, and expectations that weren’t clear with the final project — which is never great for someone like me who likes a little direction with things, just so I deliver what’s expected.

There is nothing quite like the feeling of relief one gets, having turned in that final project and completed the final oral presentation. The ride into work the morning after, I feel close to euphoric.

And now, it’s on to four months of freedom!

No more reading 100+ pages of academic articles each week, with terms like ANOVA (analysis of variance, for anyone actually interested!), t tests and control groups knocking about in my head.

It’s an amazing sense of accomplishment after the blood, sweat and tears that go into completing the final research paper, usually about 20 pages … though mine came to 33 pages this time around.

And so, I’ve set my goals and intentions for the summer.

After recuperating, my top priority is to have FUN … and A LOT of it! Over the past 12 or so months, I’ve only had about a month or two where I’ve had no homework. One of those free months last summer was spent bailing my basement out from flood waters.

I just want to go shopping … for clothes and shoes and kitchenware. I want to have lunch with my friends, to reconnect with those people I don’t see often but that I value so highly for their friendship and wisdom. I want to go to the movies.

I’m going to work on home projects. I’m going to read for pleasure. I’m going to travel, near and maybe far. I’m going to indulge in art therapy. I’m going to cook and bake. I’m going to do things that feed my soul and my spirit. I’m going to clean my house – a most spiritually cleansing thing to do.

I’m going to break out of the tunnel vision I get during my semester and let go of all the intensity I need to do graduate-level work while working full time. I’m going to break out of my regimented life and step off the hamster wheel. I’m going to give myself and my brain a rest.

It feels energizing to set these goals and I feel a renewed sense of spirit.

I’m looking forward to getting back to knowing the woman I was before I was buried under all that homework.

I hope everyone has an equally great summer!