School of Graduate Studies

School of Graduate Studies
School of Graduate Studies

The Lake Shift

Let The Lake Shift Begin!

The Lake Shift is a thesis writing retreat for doctoral students from Ontario universities. The first year was only a four day retreat in July 2016 at the Queen’s Biology Station on Lake Opinicon (a 50 minute drive north of Kingston). The retreat provided graduate students with structured time to write, workshops on tips for effective dissertation writing, opportunities to network with other graduate students and all in a beautiful location. The objective of the retreat was to enable graduate students to make substantial progress in writing their thesis and to develop foundations to maintain that momentum. The fringe benefits of The Lake Shift included swimming, boating, hiking and campfire conversations and make for a balance of the cerebral with the physical and social for a well-rounded experience.

See below on how "The Lake Shift" went on it's inaugural year! 

July 24, Day One - The Arrival

At 10.30am Marta and I packed the cars and set off to Lake Opinicon to ready ourselves for the arrival of 41 graduate students from 7 Ontario Universities at Queen’s University Biological Station (QUBS). From 2pm, on they started to arrive in cars and a big yellow school bus. Some arrived with excitement and some with a little trepidation, after all some are city folk and what is this camping experience really all about?

Read more about the first day of The Lake Shift!

  • school bus arrives at the lake shift

    Day One - The bus is here!

  • Students arrive at the lake shift on a bus

    Day One - Arriving at The Lake Shift!

  • Rochelle Stevenson and Supriya Jyoti at the lake shift

    Day One - Rochelle Stevenson (Sociology) and Supriya Jyoti (Computing Science)

  • Marta and De-Lawrence

    Day One - Marta and De-Lawrence Lamptey (Queen's Rehab Science)

  • Marta and Sylvain

    Day One - Marta and Sylvain Gagne (Western and RMC Education)

  • Sylvain, Supriya, Rochelle and Colette

    Day One - Sylvain, Supriya, Rochelle and Colette

July 25, Day Two - The Perfect Writing Spot

It was a bit of rainy morning, so off the campers went to find their perfect spot to write. The Library was popular as was the dining hall and seminar room, but throughout the day, students were found outside at the BBQ tables, sitting on a garden chair, sitting on the decks or inside of their cabins. Slowly as the day went on, more post-it notes had been moved from the “Goals” flip chart, over to the “Accomplished” flip chart. It was great to see.

Read more about the second day of The Lake Shift!

  • Writing Spaces

    Day Two - Time to Write

  • some lake shift graduate students

    Day Two - Lake Shifters at Meal Time

  • evening campfire

    Day Two - The end of the night

  • lake shift campers by a campfire

    Day Two - Mmm, Marshmallows!

  • lake shift group photo 1

    Day Two - Group Photo 1

  • lake shift group photo 2

    Day Two - Group Photo 2

  • graduate student writing amongst trees

    Day Two - The writing continues

  • graduate students mix together

    Day Two - Getting to know each other

July 26, Day Three - The Writing Continues

I know myself when going to conferences or seminars, that if I can come away with one thing that will help me, that is a win for me. I got back to camp and one of the comments to me, was “I wasn’t sure if this camp was for me, but after last night’s presentation from Maggie Berg, there is so much I can take from that and use not only in my own writing, but I can assist my daughter with her writing too”.

Read more about the third day of The Lake Shift!

  • a loon on the lake

    Day Three - Lone Loon on the Lake

  • graduate students writing outside

    Day Three - Workshop session, free writing

  • a small deer

    Day Three - Oh Deer!

  • students watching boats

    Day Three - Trip for ice cream

  • students writing outside

    Day Three - Still more writing

July 27, Day Four - Nearing the End....

So what happened next? Time to pick up the celebratory cake. Yes, at this stage in the week, it is time to say “well done”. As Maggie Berg mentioned on Monday, reward yourself lavishly.

Read more about the fourth day of The Lake Shift!

  • cars waiting in a line

    Day Four - Stuck in traffic

  • the lake shift cake

    Day Four - Congratulations on completing The Lake Shift!

  • mosquito bites

    Day Four - Camping Consequences

July 28, Day Five - Time to go!

Packing up is never easy, but in the wrap up session it was great to listen to how the students felt about the week and the first Lake Shift. I am sure they will go home and ponder about the week, but right now there is a feeling of euphoria around camp. They have written, they have laughed, they had played, they had relaxed. Not bad for 41 grad students from 7 universities getting together for the first time.

Read more about the last day of The Lake Shift!

  • three students canoeing

    Day Five - Canoeing

  • Marta with the lake shift achievement chart

    Day Five - Celebrating Accomplishments!

  • students on a bus

    Day Five - Heading back to Kingston!

  • students waving out bus windows

    Day Five - Thank you for coming to The Lake Shift!

  • back of a bus

    Day Five - See you next year?