During the holidays, and in the first full work-week of the year, I’ve been focusing each day on the most important things I need to get done, as well as taking things to completion, and trying to not be distracted by new emails that pop up in the inbox, or little to-dos that are always there. I’ve found a few days that I get to 4 or 5 pm and don’t feel like there is anything else that
to get done that day, which is a pretty good feeling. And rather than thinking that means I didn’t have enough on my list that day, I’m thinking it means I took care of whatever was most
MIT alumni get lifetime memberships to the Technology Review
, which usually has several articles I find interesting, as well as the Class Notes in the alumni-only editions (which are fun but not always breaking news thanks to social media). The current edition including a short article on two MIT professors that received the 2013 MacArthur Fellowship ‘genius grants’ this year – Dina Katabi and Sara Seager
. There were only 24 people who received them in the States, so these two women gave MIT a pretty impressive showing. In reading about them, I was struck by their achievements, that they are both only 7 years older than me, and that both had joined the MIT faculty since I was there. I also remembered that Prof Esther Duflo
, who taught an econ class I took in 2000, had received the grant 4 years ago (and she was also young, accomplished, and a ‘new’ MIT hire).
But the thing that really got my attention was what Prof Seager had to say about how she is going to put her grant to use. The Fellowship provides $625K over five years to be used in whatever way the recipient desires. Prof Seager is a widowed mother with two young boys who lost her husband to cancer two years ago. She stated that she is going to spend her grant for “quality of life on the home front”
, including upkeep of the home and childcare, providing her with time to be creative and have quality time with her children. I say bravo to Prof Seager for admitting this is what she needs, and for recognizing how and where her time is best spent.