May 8, 2013
You may have noticed that it's starting to get warm out (although here in lovely Minnesota the snow only just melted last weekend), and you probably know what this means: SUMMER VACATION! Ah that coveted time of internships and jobs and not writing any papers at all ever. But as you all gear up to head home or to an amazing job or to a not-so-amazing job, you might be wondering how to keep up your skeptical life. On campus you might have your local SSA or CFI affiliate group, probably some friends to keep up with, and campus events. But when you leave campus, how do you keep up your activism? Or even worse, when you graduate, how do you keep cultivating the relationships within the community that you've built, and expand on the work you've done?
But never fear, one of the amazing things about the skeptical and atheist communities is how easy it is to connect to them. So here are a few suggestions to get you started either over the summer months or as you move on to whatever you've got going on after college (be it living in your parents basement or starting your dream job: no judgments here).
1. READ BLOGS.
The movement is in many ways driven by internet activism. There are some awesome people out there, someone for everyone. If you're like me and want your skepticism to have a social justice flavor, you can get on board the Skepchick train, keep up here at CFI, try FreethoughtBlogs, check out the Patheos atheist channel, or go exploring on your own. If you're interested, I also run a personal blog at taikonenfea.blogspot.com and I'll try to keep up a regular roundup of blogs.
2. Write for yourself.
You can start a blog. Not everyone is cut out for this though, and if it's not your cup of tea to put your thoughts out on the internet, it could be a good idea just to reflect on some skeptical topics and write about them or do art about them or create an interpretive dance about them to figure out where you stand. If you do this kind of work while you're away from your campus, you can bring it back with you as a fresh idea in the fall. For those who are leaving school, it's good to start sorting out your own opinions.
3. Seek out local skeptic groups and events.
Skepchick.org has an entire page dedicated to events. Every week they update with events sorted by location. Meetup.com is also extremely useful for finding local skeptic groups. Otherwise you can check out CFI and see if they have a local branch. But getting involved with what's going on in adult skeptic land can be a really great way to bridge some of the gaps between local groups and college groups, as well as set yourself up to continue your activism post-college.
4. Go to conferences!
Cons are an absolutely fabulous way to network. There are a fair number of summer cons (and I'm gonna make a quick plug for CONvergence in conjunction with SkepChiCON because I'm helping out with some of the organizing of it and I'm on a few panels there), and if you don't have to worry about getting time off of school, this could be a great time to get out there and meet the larger population of skeptics. They're generally extremely fun, really informative, and a great way to get inspired.
These are just a few ideas to get you started, but you can always exercise your skeptical powers in your daily life by researching topics of interest to you, being a critical consumer of media, and participating in any variety of activist work. Leave more suggestions in the comments!
About the Author: Olivia James
Olivia James is a recent graduate from St. Olaf College who is now navigating the post-college pre-grad school waters. She was a philosophy and religion major and was a member of St. Olaf's SSA. She is also an avid swing dancer, voracious reader, and all around nutjob.
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