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'The perfect writing retreat'

[Dissertation on the Lake]
Graduate students can work on their dissertations in a more natural setting next week at Elbow Lake Environmental Education Centre. (University Communications)

Graduate students looking to get a boost as they work on their dissertations will be returning to Elbow Lake for a five-day writing retreat next week.

Dissertation on the Lake offers participants the opportunity to get out of the city and away from the distractions of daily life to write in a more tranquil setting. 

The event, offered by the School of Graduate Studies, is being held Aug. 24-28 at the Elbow Lake Environmental Education Centre, located about 30 minutes north of Kingston.

“It’s inspiring to look around the grounds at Elbow Lake and see grad students everywhere – on the dock, under the trees, in the sun, at picnic tables – who are all so focused, so intent on the singular task of working on their dissertations. Everyone is quiet, and yet the silence is punctuated by energy, much like the woods themselves, simultaneously peaceful and full of life,” says Andrea Phillipson, a PhD candidate in Kinesiology and Health Studies, who attended the first event last year. “This work can be incredibly isolating, but when we are all striving together at the same time, the effort feels somehow shared.”

The grad students will stay in the centre’s cabins and there are two writing sessions each morning and afternoon. While writing remains the primary activity, there also is ample opportunity for relaxation including swimming, canoeing and hiking.

“Finding an extended period of time to write is a luxury - add to the mix the freedom from other responsibilities and the beauty of Elbow Lake and surroundings and you have the makings of the perfect writing retreat” says Brenda Brouwer, the Vice-Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies. “Dissertation on the Lake is a wonderful opportunity for our graduate students to kick-start, restart or regain writing momentum as well as enjoy the outdoors; it’s a great balance”.   

For more information about Dissertation on the Lake visit the website of the School of Graduate studies.