Five years ago, George asked the question: What fun things have you done this summer?

No one has asked it since.

It isn’t terrible surprising that here at ProfHacker we’ve written way more frequently on “productivity” than we have on “play” or “fun”. But the two are linked in a lot of important ways. To wit:

While we shouldn’t just be focused on having fun in the summer, culturally and institutionally, this is when we at least, potentially, allow ourselves to maybe think about just having some fun. We know it’s good for productivity, but we rarely make the concerted effort to make time and space for fun and play to happen. One challenge, I think, is that academia specifically and our society more generally values outward displays of productivity, and time spent just having fun can be seen as frivolous. Vacations are one thing, hobbies are serious business, but just wasting time playing around?


Another reason is that when we play and have fun, we make ourselves vulnerable. We risk looking silly, literally and figuratively. We risk revealing our passions that lay outside of the academic setting, or showing how those academic passions are borne from a deeply affective place. Academia often doesn’t leave space for any deeply felt and openly and excitedly expressed emotion, good or bad.

This summer, for fun, I’m going to go to the beach as much as possible, given my new geographic location. I’m going to build more Twitter bots. I’m going to cheer my kids on at their first swim meets. I’m going to sit on rooftop patios and backyard decks with friends and laugh and listen to our kids play. I’m going to see “Finding Dory” with my family and all cry together at whatever point Pixar decides that we should.

What are you doing for fun this summer?

Photo “Fun” by Flickr user yeskefo / Creative Commons licensed BY-SA-2.0