This summer I learned at least one important lesson about myself: I like to have people around. In some labs or departments, summer is the busiest time of the year with visiting researchers, grad students, and undergrads, but in my lab everyone was away for the summer doing fieldwork all over the place. I spent the first part of my summer in Ukenzagapia (a fictitious African country), but the rest of my summer was on campus. I went to school every day and tried to work, but whole days would go by with only one person even walking down my hall. There wasn't anyone around who was familiar with my research. Without others around, it was easy for me to lose momentum and hard for me to regain it.
The second lesson I learned is that I need to have more than one project going at once, for many reasons. This summer when I got sick of working on my review paper, I should've had another project to switch to keep me from burning out on a project.
All in all, I didn't get as much done this summer as I imagined. To give myself some credit, I did visit my field site and begin making important connections on Ukenzagapia so that next summer I'll be better prepared for my first season of data collection.
I usually dread going back to school at the end of the summer, at least a little bit, but this time I'm welcoming the structure and social interactions that classes provide.