Why did you decide to attend Stevenson?

You might have even heard it over the Easter weekend. Partially because we’ve been asked enough times at get-togethers and backyard barbeques, many of us have a go-to response for why we chose to get our degree Stevenson University over other schools that were in the running. Perhaps it was the housing, or a strong academic program, or location, or… you name it. By this point, we pretty much have our answer down. We revert to it without thought whenever prompted. 

While it’s all well and good – and even socially necessary – to have a neatly honed and well-rehearsed answer to the college question for family members and friends, it is also important to occasionally spend some time challenging ourselves internally and critically assessing the important “why” question. In addition to the “why Stevenson?” mentioned above, there is also the more macro question of why are you pursuing a college degree at all? Why are you working to attain a college degree rather than doing something else with your time? Or, there are more micro questions, such as why are you in the program that you are in, pursuing the major that you are pursuing? Why are you taking these courses instead of those courses? Why are you studying tonight instead of partying? Whatever your answers are to these deeply intimate questions, it is important to assess them, challenge them, reinforce them, and, whenever necessary, call upon them.

Asking yourself the important “why” questions will have two useful outcomes:

First, you’ll be in a better position to make informed decisions about how you navigate through your life. Whether it’s a minor activity or a major life decision, if you can’t answer the “why” question about something you are doing, perhaps you would be better off doing something else. Sincerely contemplating “why am I doing this” is much more useful than rhetorically questioning “why did I just do that?”

The second, and every bit as important, outcome of asking “why” is that you will be significantly more motivated once you have a meaningful answer. When you have an answer to the “why” question that you truly believe in, you can draw on it when times get tough. When the assignments pile up, and the final exams approach, and you just want to throw it all away and forget about it, it’s your “why” that can help keep you focused, keep you motivated, and keep you moving forward.

As we approach this final leg of the semester and assignments seem to pile up in all of our courses, remind yourself why you’re here, what you want to get out of a college degree, and why it will be so worth it in the end. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be worth it.