Am I the only one who still regulates the schedule of living in school semesters?
My life is still strangely and curiously divided into three distinct parts: Fall Semester, Spring Semester and Summer Sessions. Why, it’s as if I never left Columbia University in the City of New York’s Morningside Heights Campus!

I have no idea why I continue to divide a year in my life in unequal
thirds. I’m not teaching or taking any traditional courses right now,
but when I’m working on books or other writing projects I still think,
“Okay, this’ll start in the Spring Semester and carry over into the
first Summer Session.” Sha!
guess I’m lucky I didn’t attend any schools that hold courses in
Quarters! Then I’d really have a complicated context of meaning.

Do you have any residual scheduling that still rules your life even
though you’ve left behind those formal constrictions?

Does work create your schedule or does play determine how you structure
your life?
Do you live in semesters or by seasons or via holidays and vacations or
is there something else that forms your thinking and planning?


  1. I would venture the thought that you continue that way because it works for you and suits you.
    I used to work around the childrens timetables and when their holidays were. There is no real need to do that now as they tend to come and go at any time.
    I tend to look ahead for the year – block off any time I need to be elsewhere and go from there.
    There seems to be no rhyme or reason to our bookings – we can be empty one month and “chock a block” from start to finish another – makes cash flow predictions difficult!
    Otherwise I tend to go with the seasons/weather and plan around that. Laundry and washing prefers sunny days 🙂 – wet days are a day for cooking. crafting or blogging!

  2. Hi Nicola!
    I guess semesters do work for me. I also think in chunks of months. All my calendars are monthly. Weekly and daily are too narrow for me to judge what’s been and what’s coming — even in electronic form.
    What is your local weather ratio between sunny and wet days?

  3. We search for structure in our lives, David. You find comfort in the semester system. Others may find comfort in the five day work week. Some only on Sundays. It depends on your vision.

  4. Hey Anne!
    Yes, I understand the search for structure. Some people just look forward to Hump Day because it indicates the start of the weekend.
    I wonder how many people live day-to-day and how many plan semester-to-semester and year-to-year?

  5. The less money you have the more you just survive from day to day. The poor don’t have the money or the care to live in more than the moment. For others, I think long term strategic planning is the domain of those of great wealth who have the resources to plan for the future of not only their lives but that of their children and grandchildren.

  6. As I am in school I automatically follow a calender based on semesters; I break it down to a weekly one – so I know I am on the right track.
    Its work that mostly determines my schedule.

  7. David, I think money has a lot to do with how you see the future. If you don’t have any money, you just live in the moment. You live hand to mouth. If you have money you can save for future use, it informs your ability to plan for the unexpected.

  8. Katha!
    Thanks for that insight!
    It’s fascinating how people choose to regulate their lives.
    When you were working in India and not in school, did you still think in semesters or not?

  9. Anne —
    You might be on to an unfortunate truth: The poor plan for the next meal; while the rich plan for future generations. How sad and how depressing!

  10. Anne —
    You might be on to an unfortunate truth: The poor plan for the next meal; while the rich plan for future generations. How sad and how depressing!

  11. It is sad, David. The world will be better when the poor and the disinfranchised have a wider stake in their tomorrows.

  12. It is sad, David. The world will be better when the poor and the disinfranchised have a wider stake in their tomorrows.

  13. Consider yourself lucky, at least you still have structure. In my case each year on itself alone is already divided up in unequal blocks, so from year to year everything is different, basically splitting up the year into:
    First session
    Xmas break
    Second session
    Having some structure would be good every now and then though, but they just cant schedule it in like that apparently.

  14. Welcome to Urban Semiotic, Psycho Dude!
    I feel for you, I really do!
    Finding a way to organize thinking and work projects is the challenge of our lives. The Spring and Winter semesters are not equal.
    We all have more energy in the Fall and less when the vibrations of Spring call to us! Making those minute, necessary, adjustments is the test of our living!

  15. Ann makes a very valid point about money and planning. You cannot plan for anything you cannot afford. I am a little way in between the two on good months – on bad months I pray the electricity bill arrives a week late 😉
    For instance Feb has been good – I have already *ring-fenced* that for standing payments in March and April.
    What I do though is plan how I will spend my day either the night before or when I wake – I decide (9 times out of 10) that it is going to be a “good day”. Making the days positive , makes the weeks positive and so on.

  16. Fascinating thinking, Nicola!
    I, too, plan for the next day the night before. Janna is an “of-the-moment” planner — but she has seen the wisdom in planning out the needs of the next day the night before because it can save time, confusion, and sometimes, heartache.
    There are many companies that offer long-term retirement savings programs that get directly deducted from a paycheck — many of them mandated by the state — before any taxes are taken to help plan for retirement.
    The poor, as Anne correctly argues, have no such access to that need to plan for the future and I think it skews their current reality in really unfortunate ways that the rest of us need to cure because if you are only living in the now, then “by any means necessary” becomes your guiding mantra and that can lead to violence, theft and robbery to fulfill an immediate need instead of planning for the long view.

  17. When I used to go to school in India I used to schedule everything based on the exams we had.
    When I worked it was always based on quarter and season as any other retail industry.
    My vacations are always on a short term planning – I enjoy the surprise!

  18. Well, if you are talking about expanding a career or business, venturing out in something different, buying a home or a investing in a retirement plan – then yes, money talks.
    But at the same time, if you have a dream but don’t have the money right now – then also you can plan and act on it! It depends on the priority and knowing about it!

  19. The struggle is to combine long-term thinking with all of the short-term demands that demand much attention by virtue of their immediacy. It’s easy to develop tunnel vision and focus on something due two weeks from now while forgetting to think about the 10-year plan.
    I’m starting to think of my life in terms of one-week segments defined by Wednesday. That’s my “return date” for Cook Co. I always try to set everything for that date. If anything gets set for another date, I always have someone else cover the hearing because it isn’t economically feasible to spend the time to drive for one case. It makes it easy to set a date — I don’t have to look in my calendar — I’ll take any date as long as it is a Wednesday.
    I also have an early-month vs. late-month view. Early portions of the month are for preparation. The later are for travel.
    To keep scheduling easy, I always try to set certain hearings in certain courts on the same day at the same time of the month. The third Monday of the month is a date I reserve for a certain court. The second and third Tuesdays are reserved for another. The second Friday is for a third court. Most of the travel is back-loaded in the month. The beginning of the month is used for catch-up and preparation for the end of the month.

  20. Ugh … I’d go crazy if I had to plan my life based on when bills are due.
    My wife likes to handle the money and the bills, so I’m content to let her be the “Minister of Finance” as she likes to call herself! With direct deposit and automatic bill payments, it’s easy to keep control of the finances without having to think about bills all the time. 🙂

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