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Remembering Your Why

By Amy Pollock, Academic Success Coach

I remember my first semester of graduate school. I was so excited to begin my program because I knew it was the first step towards my new career and I was looking forward to this new beginning. Do you remember this time at the beginning of your program? The excitement of a new start and the dreams of a future you were destined for made you feel like it was your time. You jumped into your program with two feet and couldn’t wait to see what was being covered next. You knew it wouldn’t always be easy, but you were ready for the challenges that lay ahead. Think back to why did you chose your program or career path? Is it that you enjoy helping others live a healthier lifestyle? Or maybe you have a passion for educating others in your chosen field. Did you have an encounter with someone in the past in this profession who had a profound impact on you and your life and you want to have that impact on others? Whatever the reason this is your Why, and it’s vital to know and remember it as you move through your program and into your career.

Whether you’re just starting or almost near the finish line, it’s important to always remember the Why that brought you here. This will be different for everyone and very personal. We’ve all had those moments when we start to question our path. In hard or stressful times, some have a tendency to retreat and start to wonder if it is really worth it. We can get so wrapped up in the day-to-day activities especially as we get busy with exams, papers and projects on top of other responsibilities. There may be times you think it’s easier to give up, and when you find yourself in that moment, that’s when it’s most important to remember your why.

We all have things that get us down and we all have times when we think about taking the easy way out and simply giving up. I know I did during my graduate program when it felt like it was just too much. That’s when I had to take a step back and think about why I started down this path in the first place and why it was so important to me. I remembered my Why which gave me the motivation to continue and not give up. In those stressful times, it helped to keep me grounded and gave me something positive to focus on. No matter how challenging things get, if you keep your Why front and center, it will always help you keep your eye on the prize and push you towards the dream you’re preparing for.

You might be asking yourself how do you keep your Why in the forefront so it’s always there? Some people write down their Why and put it where they will always have it like in their wallet or their purse. Others keep it electronically on their computer or tablet, so whenever they turn it on, they see it. Wherever they choose to keep it, it’s always close at hand to be able to refer to it when needed. Where do you keep your why?