Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

The Good Life

Submitted by Amanda Dumsch November 13, 2023

Post written by guest blogger Emily Grugan; OITE Program Assistant

Not life, but good life, is to be chiefly valued” – Socrates

Each of us hopes to live a fulfilling life. But what does that mean? What is a fulfilling life? Philosophers across the ages have written on the subject (see link above to read more on Socrates’ take). There are many ongoing modern debates as well. Ultimately, though, it is up to you to decide. You get to determine what will constitute a “good life”, one you can, in the words of Socrates, chiefly value.

It’s a hefty question to consider, but you can start with thinking about your goals. We often think of these in the short term – a week or a semester. If it is a long-term goal, it is often still only of a year or even a 5-year timeframe (like completing graduate school). However, it isn’t as often that we sit down and consider our lives in their entirety. What are your ultimate goals? In your final days, what do you want to look back and see you have done? If you got a graduate degree, what did you do with it? What was the final tip of the scales between your time spent at work and with family? Did you ever write that book you’ve been thinking about or produce that song? When you imagine those final days, how many children did you have that are then gathered around you? Was your house the place that family came to for holidays and birthdays or were you out traveling abroad? What kind of traits did you exemplify – were you kind, peaceful, generous, forgiving?

As the answers to these questions begin to paint a picture in your mind, consider what they tell you about your values.

Of course, we cannot guarantee the fruition of the mental picture we painted. We can’t control all the things that will happen to us – what career opportunities will be available, what kind of circumstances or challenges we will face with our spouses or families (though, arguably, that is part of the fun and ultimately the whole point – but that is a blog post for another day). However, we can control our moment-to-moment decisions in response to these things. We do this best by understanding our values.

For example, if in the mental painting of your “good life” you imagined a version of yourself that prioritized a balance between work and family time, you can have a better sense of direction when considering potential job opportunities. Between a job that pays more but also demands a 60+ hour work week, and one that has a lower salary but prioritizes schedule flexibility and off time for employees, you can experience less indecision. At a crossroads of this nature, you are confidently guided by the compass of your values and choose the latter option. On the other hand, if you envisioned financial success, perhaps the ability to pass on a particular sum to your children or grandchildren, you might feel more peace in the face of the hours sacrificed towards work that you will have to make in earning it. 

These are only two simple examples. But engaging with your life in this way across its domains (personal, social, spiritual, as well as professional) can give you a sense of purpose and peace. When life gets messy, when you’re unsure of how to prioritize your time, what career to pursue, what paths to take in a social conflict, you can find guidance and groundedness in your values and knowing where you’re ultimately headed. Reflect continuously on your chosen direction and the alignment of your progress towards it.

Your idea of a good life may change over the years, but continuing to live in accordance with the values of which it is comprised will always foster a sense of peace and fulfillment, no matter the bumps along the way.

Writing an Effective Qualifications Summary for Resumes

Submitted by Amanda Dumsch November 6, 2023

A professional profile or qualifications summary can be a great introductory section for your resume, especially if you have over five years of experience and/or are making a career change. This can be your chance to highlight key qualifications, skills, and experiences as a snapshot for hiring managers.

This paragraph should consist of concise statements and strong action verbs to give a big picture overview of your accomplishments as they relate to the position you are targeting.

Here are some samples: Cell biologist with 12 years of extensive experience conducting RNA virus research, basic immunology research and protein interaction research. Key accomplishments include:

  • Pioneered research in viral immunology focusing on innate immune responses to HIV-1
  • Executed multiple anti-HIV drug screening projects utilizing human primary immune cells.
  • Innovated and established an in-vitro nuclear import assay; discovery resulted in collaborations with industry leaders.
  • Published three high-impact papers in prestigious journals; maintain a strong publication record

Dedicated and accomplished neuroscientist with expertise in clinical and pre-clinical research pertaining to brain tumors, traumatic brain injuries, and various disorders of the central nervous system.

  • Proficient in utilizing omics approaches for biomarker development.
  • Committed to improving patient outcomes by conducting research that translates into clinical practice, specifically patient outcomes around: aging, epigenetics, neurodegeneration, neuroinflammation, neuroimmunology and extracellular biomarkers.
  • Skilled in a wide range of techniques such as MRI, fMRI, PET, EEG, patch-clamp recording
  • Effectively collaborate with interdisciplinary teams of clinicians & geneticists for patient care.

Some Qualifications Summaries also include bulleted key competencies in lieu of a “Skills” section. This can be especially helpful if you work in a field where certain core competencies should be highlighted at the top of your document (engineering, data science, etc.).  As an example:

Highly skilled data scientist with a proven track record of innovating solutions and driving actionable models based on insights from complex datasets. Consistently deliver high-quality results within challenging deadlines. Utilize strong communication skills and collaborative approach to effectively translate technical concept to lay audiences. Possess advanced working proficiency in the following core skills: 

PythonData VisualizationR
SQLData ManipulationExperimental Deisign
Machine LearningData ModelingJava/ C++