I have a summer job, a summer job that I LOVE. What am I doing? I am working for grounds…I weed, dig, hoe, rake, plant, trim and mow and all of that fun stuff in the sun. Currently, no sun, but you get the drift. It is FUN. It is the most amazing job I have ever had and believe you me , I have been through quite a few. When I started I was all upset, c’mon I am a grad student with brains, this is a blue collar job, how can I do something like this all summer. If you know me, you also know that I thought I’d get a good workout and I did think that. Then what changed? The work is so much fun, with plants, watching them grow and under the open sky where I can hear all the birds. But above all, it gives me a chance to just be. My collegues are all great people, you dont hear a single groan and moan all day.  And about the just bieng part, its like once you are outside and working with your hands and concentrating upon the small details, you really dont have the time to stress, it just disappears, everything suddenly feels ok, there is no urgency, there is no hurry, there is no life and death situation. It’s OK. It will get done at its own pace. Take your breaks seriously, use them wisely and above all I am learning that we white collar types take ourselves way too seriously, that the world cannot go on without our research or our work. That we cannot go on without our work. But we can, and it all can go on, and even if it doesnt its not that important anyways, and even if it is that important, it can wait.

After this very stressful and heartbreaking semester that I have been having, it is great to be able to relax, I usually worry so much, this just automatically takes it all away. Dont get me wrong, it sucks too…I mean 8 hours in the sun, in the mud, my back hurts etc etc, but I never come back drained and unhappy. I feel good, I feel useful and I feel satisfied.

You know what the other thing is? We who work on the grounds are invisible to everyone else! I finally understand all those spy novels and the spy dressed as repairmen/women scene..nobody notices them! People ignore you or they just treat you like freaks…like you have to be really dumb to be doing this stuff. My first few days I wanted to carry around a plaque that said” I AM A GRAD STUDENT, I AM NOT DUMB” ..then I realized..what the heck who cares? The best part..I get to pretend that I am a spy..hehe…so I do all this silly stuff…calling 123 123..saw Dr.H. furtively went into library, refused to aknowldege me…eliminate? But seriously, its amazing how people’s perception changes, the moment you put on a tag and start working.

The take home message? Go outside and stay outside, do something outside and just stay there, forget you have a real job and a real life and just let it all go. Oh man, that is so…wise? And secondly, really look, look at the custodial staff and the other workers around you, they may be grad students like you and maybe not, but atleast if its a spy, you might spot em before you get caught sneaking into the library furtively..have a good weekend..more later!