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Recharge in summer

Summer is the perfect time to make room for activities and experiences that will help you be – and feel – prepared for the coming year! The pace can feel slower during this time of the year, and there’s a little more wiggle room to be intentional about visualizing and achieving your intellectual, professional and interpersonal goals. Maybe you’re starting from scratch (or already have some initial goals) and just need a plan of action? Maybe you need some structured time and support to work on a grant proposal, finish an experiment, polish a manuscript or start your job search? Maybe you are interested in exploring the Pacific Northwest and trying some activities during the best season to live in Seattle? Or maybe you have other, non-UW responsibilities to take care of and often find it difficult to schedule time to relax and (momentarily) step away.

We encourage you to carve out some time to refuel yourself, and choose activities that would bring you energy. As we all know that self-care is important and will help with productivity.

Below are some tips and opportunities you can engage in throughout summer in Seattle.

Tips for self-care

UW Recreation opportunities

  • UWild Adventures offers opportunities to attend a class or a trip, rent gear, climb at the Crags, paddle at the Waterfront, or join a club.
  • UW IMA membership includes access to swimming pool, gyms, assorted courts, locker rooms, indoor track, climbing center, cardio and weight rooms and a variety of studio spaces.

Activities around Seattle

  • Space Needle | Chihuly Garden and Glass | Pacific Science Center | Seattle Great Wheel | The Original Starbucks | Fremont Troll | Gum Wall | Gas Works Park
  • Seafair Festival continues throughout the summer, culminating with amazing displays ranging from a Blue Angels Air show to thrilling hydroplane boat races between August 2 and 4.
  • Root for Seattle Teams: Mariners, Sounders and Reign
  • Foodies’ Choice: Bite of Seattle

Outdoor Activities

  • Golden Garden Park: beach volleyball; BBQ; kayaking; sunbathing on the sandy beach
  • Alki Beach: Biking; kayaking; beach volleyball; BBQ; sunbathing on the sandy beach
  • Hiking: Washington Trail Association; Public transportation options;

Museums and Free Museum Days

Live Music

Movies in the Park

The OPA newsletter is distributed monthly throughout the year. Feel free to reach out if you have something to share. And, take care of yourself!


The MakerSpace is a free resource for students that includes 3-D printers, industrial sewing machines, multiple 3D printers, Kinect v@, 4 iMac desktop stations, electronic fabrication and assembly. Paid for by the Student Technology Fee, so really, you should take advantage of what you pay for.  

Surplus Store

When your department gets rid of office furniture, computer equipment, pianos, artwork, whatever, it goes to the UW Surplus Store. And the inventory is open to the public at rock bottom prices every Tuesday. Check it → 

What’s a bike/walk/run commuter to do? (Showers, lockers, and other necessities)

I commute by bike and spend most of my day in a shared lab space. What are my options for showering and storing my stuff?


This post was first published October 2015, it has been updated for relevancy. 

First of all, good on ya for biking! Don’t forget November is Bike in the Rain Month*! If you’re on Seattle campus, the best option is the IMA, which is free (because it’s included in the Service and Activities Fee) to all Seattle campus students. Bothell students have access to showers and lockers at the Fitness Center in Bothell, and Tacoma students have the UW Y Fitness Center. If your campus gym isn’t convenient for you, ask your building coordinator if there’s a shower in the building for use. For storage, again, check with your building coordinator if there are lockers you can use. Otherwise, a great resource is the Commuter Commons in the HUB, which has storage units and a changing room. (It’s sponsored by First Year Programs, but completely open to graduate students.) The HUB also rents out lockers in the basement. Happy riding!

*If you’re interested in finding a Bike in Rain Team of UW students, faculty, and staff (or creating your own), register here! You can log your bike trips, win prizes and find friendly competition to help you stay motivated to bike as the weather changes.

Ask the Grad School Guru is an advice column for all y’all graduate and professional students. Real questions from real students, answered by real people. If the guru doesn’t know the answer, the guru will seek out experts all across campus to address the issue. (Please note: The guru is not a medical doctor, therapist, lawyer or academic advisor, and all advice offered here is for informational purposes only.) Submit a question for the column →

An app for dissertation writing

The free Gingko app combines the functionality of outlines with the fluidity of mind-maps and index cards. One reviewer wrote if the app had existed previously, “it would have saved me two years off my Ph.D.”

Snowshoe Rentals

Take advantage of the winter chill — students can rent snowshoes from the Gear Garage for $7.50/day ($12.50/weekend).