The University of Venus question of the month: What is the most satisfying part of your job?
Afshan Jafar (US) I once asked my undergraduate advisor this same question and he said, "When you're up there in front of the class, teaching, and you see the light bulbs go on in your student's heads . . . there is really nothing like it." I agree.
Janni Aragon (Canada) Mentoring is the most satisfying part of my job. This includes teaching, giving talks, advising, and writing on my own and with students. I see mentoring as a major part of my job and over the years I’ve found that this is a good fit for my skills and for my students’ needs.
Elizabeth Lewis Pardoe (US) I have "intellectual yenta" written on my white board. I love making the perfect match between student and scholarship then sharing the joy when a dream becomes reality.
Deanna England (Canada) As simple as it sounds, I find that the most satisfying part of my job is when I have the ability to help someone – student, faculty or administrator, accomplish one of their goals. Whether it’s facilitating a new program proposal, assisting with a scholarship application or writing a report for an external agency; it all helps make the University a richer and more diverse place to work and study.
Mary Churchill (US) I work in two main areas: international program development and cultural change. New program development allows me to help senior leaders on campus realize their dreams and visions for the future of their institutions. It is very exciting and instantly gratifying! I also love the challenge of cultural change. It is extremely difficult and only begins to feel rewarding months after the work has begun but I know that it is important work that needs to be done.
Susan Currie Sivek (US) The most satisfying part of my job is when students tell me – unsolicited – about something they have seen outside of the classroom that relates to something we've discussed in class. It shows me that they are expanding their awareness of the issues we cover and are analyzing their everyday lives in new ways. That’s when I know that our time together has made a lasting impression!
Ana Dinescu (Germany) Working as a freelancer for more than one year, I enjoy most parts of my job: I am the one who's making the decision of accepting assignments or not, managing my time on each assignment, and planning my leisure time spent with family and friends. In this way, I acknowledge my limits and enjoy the freedom of doing something that is really worth my time and energy.
Meg Palladino (US) The most satisfying part of my job is when I learn that I have impacted a student’s life in a meaningful way. I work with international students who are “studying abroad” in the U.S. It is a life changing experience for them that impacts their personal, professional and academic life. When I see a student with new self confidence and a new world-view, I feel like I have done my job well.
Anamaria Dutceac Segesten (Sweden) As a teacher, the greatest satisfaction is to witness that "WOW!" moment, the eye opener, when things that have been obscure reveal a meaning to the students or to the conversation partners. As a researcher, the sweetest thing is to satisfy one's academic curiosity, the detective work of researching, thinking and discovering new aspects of one's subject.
Heather Alderfer (US) Learning new skills, new ways of looking at old data, and bringing new technology to existing problems. When I have an a-ha! moment, often at the most mundane times, I’m able to see the larger picture, how the piece I’m working on fits in with the curriculum, with a student’s whole academic career, and the larger university. Having a positive interaction with students or faculty is also deeply rewarding.
Casey Brienza (US) The most satisfying part about being a Cambridge doctoral researcher is the freedom. I am free to determine my research agenda and go where it takes me; in a single year I will have been to New York, Toronto, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Tokyo. And when I finally return to Cambridge I will have a room of my own to write, 800 years of infrastructure mobilized to free me from worldly concerns.
What do you like about your job in higher ed?