Why You’re Doing This: Sustaining Joy and Inspiration in the Scholarly Vocation


“Why am I doing this?” is a question almost every Ph.D. student asks themselves. While this question is frequently inspired by the true challenges of academia, the examination of why we do what we do is fundamentally constructive. It serves to remind each of us that academia is more than a job, but is truly a vocation: a worthy calling that requires great dedication but can also bring genuine joy. The answer to why you’re doing this is grounded in a vocational practice that embraces the creativity, independence, and unique public contributions that are possible as an academic political scientist, regardless of the extent to which you intend to focus your future career on teaching, research or service. We discuss how to cultivate these practices in ways that help you sustain joy and inspiration as you complete the Ph.D. and begin to chart your own path through the scholarly vocation.



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