Spring: nothing like the first time

 The beginning of March often coincides with the coming of spring. Spring: that wonderful season of calm and awakening, music and art, life and beauty. I love the commencement of any season because I enjoy observing the various changes that occur during the transition from one season to another. I consider this past weekend and more particularly Saturday March 9th, to be one such day of transition. Sure, there may be snow once more next week, in two weeks or even in a month, but this weekend feels like the beginning of spring. Saturday morning was quite warm outside: a welcomed 5°C! With the beginning of this transition period came the subtle and less subtle changes of winter to spring, beginning with the switch from a winter coat to a lighter spring/fall jacket. The birds are chirping, squirrels are chasing after each other up and down trees in a more carefree manner, the sun is shinning, the air smells fresh and people seem to be in a happier mood. The snow is melting and slowly disappearing along with winter. Even going to work this past weekend did not phase me! The blissful events accompanying spring are enough to make me giddy for at least a couple of days. (more…)

A lighter jacket, a lighter mood

Photo by Kristina Kasparian

Wasn’t it just yesterday when we were blogging about the new year and all the winter festivities Montreal had to offer? It seems that some of us have had our noses far too deeply buried in our thesis work and manuscripts to have fully grasped that spring is here! (Alternatively, it could very well be fright and denial, given that the months and seasons are rolling by at a much greater speed than that at which our research work is progressing).

Yup, it’s time for possibly the most drastic change of season of the year. We’re so used to winter that it takes a bit to notice the change. We start to see signs of it – often subtle – like a crocus peeking out of the still dry, leaf-covered, unturned winter soil. Another sure sign is when every single person around you has a bad cold and, try as you might to immunize yourself, it’s sadly only a matter of time until you catch it too. Other times, the signs are not subtle at all, but rather quite blatant – like this year’s 25 degree weather in the middle of March, throwing us off kilter as we dug out clothes that we usually only inaugurate in mid-June. Still, we know the sneaky tricks Montreal can play, and are reluctant to get our hopes up. “Is it spring?” we wonder, “are we done with our coats and boots for good?“, secretly bracing ourselves for that one last crazy snowfall that could very well blanket the whole town just in time for Easter. But waking up to a symphony of bird-calls in the morning, and watching the trees bud makes you feel pretty darn sure that the time has come to bid winter farewell. Soon enough, it’ll be summer in this glorious city.


Go play outside!!!

A photo I took today, of a beetle, while I was playing outside. GO PLAY OUTSIDE!!!

Although it’s usually a good idea to make sure you’ve got a handle on your work load (i.e., have a schedule figured out, know when things are due, get started on assignments well in advance of their due date), I think it’s an ESPECIALLY good idea to be on top of things when spring rolls around. Why? Because sometimes, you need to be able to give yourself permission to take a serious brain-break and go play outside.

I know, I know, mid-March in Quebec isn’t really “spring” by most conventions, but it’s close. And, um, have you been outside lately? If not, you should. BECAUSE IT IS SO NICE OUTSIDE RIGHT NOW IT’S RIDICULOUS.

I have been staying on top of my work pretty well lately (impressive for a person who suffers from last-minute-itis and something-shiny syndrome), so for the past 2 days, in addition to getting a bit of school stuff done,  I’ve been outside. A lot. I’ve been doing yard work and cycling and hanging laundry on the line and walking the dogs and taking pictures and sitting on my back porch watching the birds flirt and make nests.

I have a sunburn. And freckles. And a big, silly grin on my face.

Tomorrow will look a lot more like a “normal” work day for me, with more time spent at my desk than anywhere else. but this kind of weather is so good for my mental well-being that I just had to take advantage of it. I feel like I’ve been on a mini-vacation of sorts, and I’m ready to forge ahead with “real” work.

So, grad school survival tip of the day: try to stay a little step ahead of your work so you can take advantage of unexpected opportunities to do something nice for yourself. Like play outside.

(Seriously, go play outside.)

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