There are four main components of my life that are the dearest to me: friends, family, career, and myself. It is tempting to think of them in order of importance. They are not; they are deeply entangled.
As a professor, particularly in the School of Humanities and Liberal Studies at SFSU, I enjoy the wonderful gift of tremendous academic freedom. It is therefore my responsibility to work on issues that are not only fun, but also relevant. I will strive to choose topics of research and teaching that I not only enjoy to know about, but also to work on. I will keep on working to achieve deeper understanding, and never believe that whatever knowledge I have is sufficient. I believe that relevance comes from depth. I also believe that I owe my students much more than just depth of knowledge. As an educator, I will connect my intellectual interests to those in my classes, not only by making my teaching subjects more attractive, but also by listening to my students and incorporating their needs. As a science educator, I am aware of how science and math are sources of inequality. I will work to reduce those inequalities, fostering classroom environments where all my students are able to learn.
I believe that friends are here to share our best moments, but also to support us on our hardest ones. My friends will always be able to rely on me. I will always listen to what they have to say, not only to try to solve their problems, not only to give suggestions, but to understand how they feel and what they need. I will empathize with my friends, and use this empathy to work together with them in solving any problems we may have. But I will also use this empathy to look for common interests, and to deepen our relationships.
I cannot overstate the importance of my family in my life. Not only my direct family – wife and children–, but also my parents, in-laws, and relatives are responsible for who I am today. I will always have time for my family, and I will make a point of interacting with them often. I will let them know how important they are for me, and how much I love them. I will accept our differences, and see them as part of our diversity, always helping us see different points of view. As a parent, I understand my impact in shaping my children’s future. A loving household is crucial to build our children’s self-esteem, and I will always make sure that my children and my partner not only feel loved, but also are reassured they are loved. I will listen carefully to my children and partner, and always try to understand them. I will always treat my children with the respect they deserve, and I will not look down on them because of their lack of experience or knowledge. If I need to make a decision, together with my partner, that conflicts with our children’s desires, I will make a point of explaining why we believe this is the best decision for them. I will make sure that no question is brushed off as uninteresting, and I will always try hard to keep my children asking questions and learning. With my partner, I will share my life.
You cannot pay attention to others if you do not pay attention to yourself. I will always work toward becoming more mindful of my needs, thoughts, desires, and aspirations. I will constantly take time for myself, to be with myself, and nobody else. This will allow me to be fully with others when needed. I will take care not only of my mind, but also of my body. I will take care of my body by eating thoughtfully, by exercising, and by doing yoga. I will take care of my mind by meditating, doing yoga, and being aware of who I am and what I need. I will always find time for taking care of myself. I will also make a point of not working more hours than I should, by constantly seeking to balance my work with my life.