At the end of the day -- why am I here? I think that's a question we each ask ourselves from time to time. And if we don't, perhaps we should. It's easy to just keep going with the flow without even knowing why.
So, why am I here? Why am I still in school? I chuckled when I realized that today is my second day of 18th grade. Why am I a graduate student?
In the simplest sense possible, my passion is helping people. I want to do work that enriches others' lives. Although I respect the need for theoretical constructs and high-level thinking, those are not my passions. When the rubber hits the road, my goal is to do research that will have a direct and positive impact on people's lives. When I was an undergrad, I pursued this by doing work with educational technologies. I thought this work might continue in my graduate career, but it seems I am now called to a different path. This time, I am drawn to the community. And what is the basis of the community? Individual families.
Beyond my hopes of making an impact on the lives of people that I may not know, I believe my primary mission in life is to serve my own family. My husband and I are excitedly looking forward to being parents. The more I learn and understand, the better I will be able to educate my children. Pursuing graduate studies is part of my overall journey of seeking what is true, beautiful, and good. One of my favorite recent quotes is from Pope Benedict XVI:
Life is not just a succession of events or experiences, helpful though many of them are. It is a search for the true, the good and the beautiful. It is to this end that we make our choices; it is for this that we exercise our freedom; it is in this - in truth, in goodness, and in beauty - that we find happiness and joy.
Do not be fooled by those who see you as just another consumer in a market of undifferentiated possibilities, where choice itself becomes the good, novelty usurps beauty, and subjective experience displaces truth.