Grad School: Nine Weeks

Today I submitted my forms to graduate and be done with everything in nine weeks.
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While my motivation going into this quarter is mostly propelled by the finish line I’m looking at, I’ve found a helpful way to think about work that provides an extra boost.
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Imagine, for a second, what the best possible outcome could be of you showing up and doing your job well? A lot of people can easily drum up the worst case scenario, but what’s the best case scenario. My wife’s a therapist, so in her field it looks like saving a life, preventing suicide, and breaking up abusive cycles in a family. That’s a pretty serious contribution to the world. Do you accept a so-so job because of the healthy pay? Maybe the money you donate to charities, treat friends with, or support your family with are also in the life-saving business. Are you a barista? Maybe your pleasantness and warmth have actually made somebody’s day or turned it around… I can credit a phone rep for Virgin Airlines doing that for me once.
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As a teacher of African studies, hmm… who knows? Maybe I strike the curiosity of a kid who one day discovers an efficient way to get antiretrovirals or malaria meds to the people who need them most.
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Are these pretty out there possibilities? Yup. Unlikely? Probably. But here’s the crazy thing… if these things end up happening, a lot of times we’ll have had no idea. So we might as well act as if they just might, and by doing so, we’ll really increase our odds of doing meaningful work.

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