Struggling to fit my ambitions, some time back I walked into a place where any ambitions hardly stood out. Harvard and my journey as a psychology student and researcher created a precious world parallel to those of my professional and private. Living the experience showed that ‘studying alongside working’ evokes questions about its purpose and possibility. While many would agree that studying is challenging and pricy, only a few would acknowledge that the currency is life itself.

Willingness to pay such a price reflects deep intrinsic motivation bringing moments of pure elevation and energy to thrive. Nevertheless, observing reactions of the environment can leave you wondering. Some would proudly look for an opportunity to support the cause, and often get inspired to challenge their own comfort zones. Some would do the contrary. Different minds see the world differently and it might not be a coincidence that my professor with his humored equanimity would often leave me a note saying: “Good luck!”

Here is what ‘studying alongside working’ can look like:

The excitement of the opportunity leads to strengthened determination and perfected time management, helping deliver high-quality results at work and school

Spending countless sunny days locked in solitude, make the question “How was your weekend?” often awkward to answer

After a long day at work, you find a bucket of energy fueled by your fascination with the studies and by the fine humor of the professors and fellows

Sometimes you get disappointed and the situation can become grueling. This is when you ask yourself what is that you stand for, what is the common denominator of all your deeds, and what will be important in five years. Answering these questions before losing sight of the forest for the trees pays off

Not everyone understands that studying can become a part of a person’s life, as do jobs, spouses, children, pets, or hobbies. Such misunderstandings are saddening and yet, somehow reinsuring

The power of your support system and the humbling moment when ‘the giants’ call to offer their help fill you up with a sense of reverence for knowledge, opportunity, and leadership

Finishing my fifth term, where the precedent four I did next to a full-time job, I can say that the made sacrifices are big and also not mine alone. But despite all, I still wonder, if I could ever really escape whatever it is in me, that is hungry and keeps me reaching for more.


Industrial-Organizational Psychology scholar at Harvard University (in extension studies)