Our focus for this week is asking the question: What is our Legacy? Please join our Refractive Thinker Blog Talk Radio Program from this morning’s radio show at 9 am MST.
There are many defining moments in the life of an academic. I recall a particular exercise that I first worked through my junior year of my under graduate studies, then again during my masters, and a third time as part of my doctoral journey. The goal of the exercise focused on the idea of legacy. If you died tomorrow, how would you be remembered?
During my undergraduate days, as I completed this exercise for the first time, I really had few accomplishments of any consequence. I was disappointed and a bit disheartened as I hadn’t really done anything quite yet. Knowing that I could not have children, legacy became very important to me as to how I would leave my signature behind in some way; letting the world know that Cheryl had been here. I vowed that somehow I would change my path.
I completed this exercise again during my master’s program, where the exercise had a bit of a twist. If one wasn’t comfortable with the concept of death (writing one’s obituary), one could write a biography for earning a life-time achievement award such as the Academy Awards. By this time in my career, I had accomplished a bit, having started a nonprofit group in 1998, Siberian Husky Rescue of NM, Inc. (501 c3). If I were to have left this earth at this time, my legacy might have lived on through the organization. In 2014, the group still remains, having saved more than 1000 Siberian huskies in the course of their existence—thanks to all our volunteers.
This concept of legacy remains important to me. After completion of my doctoral part of this life journey, I finally began to understand, completing this exercise for a third time. The goal of a doctoral scholar is more than simply earning a doctoral title. In my humble opinion, the focus for an academic is not on the degrees earned or the credentials after your name, but what you do with them to change your corner of the world and the application of this knowledge.
As we look toward giving thanks this week for the Thanksgiving holiday, spend a bit of time in personal reflection regarding how you will leave your signature on the world.