Focus. Discipline. Passion. Those have been the 3 developments highlighted as important to construct a profitable career in academia by means of Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng in the course of her address to University of Cape Town (UCT) postgraduate students.
The college students, from throughout the university, gathered in the Baxter Theatre’s Concert Hall on Saturday, 3 August to listen Phakeng share information and insights from her personal profession.
She took a heat, mild-hearted approach to a subject that often weighs closely at the shoulders of aspirant academics, and her audience answered with laughter and delight.
Many grabbed the opportunity to ask some heartfelt questions – from how to cope with negativity and complaint, to knowing whether to pursue in addition studies overseas or plough information again into the area people.
Some had long gone the proverbial greater mile to wait this unique lecture.
Able Benson Lungu, who’s completing his MSc in task control, become the sort of, visiting all the manner from Mafikeng in North West for the weekend.
“It’s exciting to have this type of passionate vice-chancellor who enjoys engaging and interacting with students,” Lungu stated.
“She’s a superb orator and I like to concentrate to her speeches on line. I locate her to be very inspiring and relatable. So, once I heard this lecture became occurring, I made a point to wait.”
Career versus activity
Phakeng commenced her lecture with the aid of advising the students on the fee of making a clear differentiation between their career and the diverse positions wherein they’ll find themselves working for the duration of their lifetime.
“There is a huge difference between a career and a process: A task is what you do for a person else. A career you do for yourself,” she said.
“A career is a great deal bigger than your task. If you are fortunate, your job is a subset of your career.”
She introduced that it’s far beneficial to think about the two as present as concentric, intersecting or maybe separate circles – as long because it’s possible to differentiate among them.
Having a clean vision of what students would love to acquire of their careers will assist them make a number of their maximum essential life selections: which opportunities to simply accept, which to turn down and for what they must sacrifice their personal resources.
“At the moment, I’m Vice-Chancellor. It’s a five-12 months agreement. In my view, that is my job,” Phakeng said.
“But my dream turned into now not to be a VC. It changed into to be the pinnacle instructional in my discipline. That’s my profession.”
Your profession is your commercial enterprise
Once they’ve mapped out what they’d like their profession to look like, the tough paintings starts, she told her target market.
“If you go into academia, don’t count on these things to be organised by using someone else,” she warned.
“If you’re going to have a career, it’s your commercial enterprise. You take rate of it and you have to be the one doing the paintings.”
Phakeng delivered that whilst academia calls for lengthy hours and plenty of multitasking – dividing time among coaching, studies, administration and many others – it’s also one of the maximum worthwhile careers for all and sundry with a curious mind.
“Here, we’ve got an open area of thoughts. For me that turned into the attraction to academia: being capable of pursue the questions which you are passionate about and [which] are of unique importance to society.”
Setting essential benchmarks
Measuring personal progress – or lack thereof – is of the utmost significance in carving out a successful career. To try this, she stated, each younger academic have to have a hard and fast of personal benchmarks.