Tuesday, January 21, 2020

P15: Starting Another Decade

Here is the first entry for 2020 from President Benoit-Antoine Bacon’s blog, P15:

Am I the only one who feels 2010 was just yesterday? Has it really been 10 years? Over that time, all of us have gone through transformation. Around the start of the new year, Computer Science Prof. Audrey Girouard tweeted: “2010-2019 – Had 2 kids! – Lived in 3 cities, 2 countries – Bought a house – Got my PhD – Postdoc – Tenure track job – Tenure! – Created a lab with amazing students – Found great colleagues, great friends, two hobbies. I’ve had a good decade. Perspective is nice”. Wow! – Congratulations Audrey on all these successes!
In the wake of the terrible plane crash that took the life of PhD student Fareed Arasteh and alumnus Mansour Pourjam, and of so many others, I’ve been reflecting on my own journey over this past decade. Have I made good use of this time I have been given? Have I lived life in a good way? Am I now closer to purpose and gratitude? I am doing better than yesterday, as the saying goes, but hopefully not as good as tomorrow. I am certainly grateful that I finally shook off chronic depression and substance use. And it’s been a great blessing and a gift to join and to serve the Carleton community!

If 2010 was just yesterday, then 2030 is essentially tomorrow. What do we want to do with this next decade? As individuals? As an institution? As a society?

Bill Gates famously said: “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next 10. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.”

All of us can set our sights on 2030 and become better versions of ourselves – whatever definition of ‘better’ we each choose to embrace. And let’s make sure we enjoy the journey!

This is true of Carleton as well. We are building on strength and through our current Strategic Integrated Planning process, we will set our sights towards a bright future. The Carleton of 2030 will be larger, more impactful, more international, more sustainable and whatever else we decide to be.

As a society and as a planet, we are facing significant challenges and there is growing consensus that the status quo is not only not good enough, but dangerous. We must ask ourselves: What do we need to do today so that we can thrive in 2030? We must all contribute to finding solutions that will make a difference.

Time gives our lives meaning precisely because it is a limited resource. Every day counts and, to paraphrase Thoreau, “There is no way to kill time without injuring eternity.”

I wish everyone a great year in 2020, and a wonderful new decade!

Tuesday, January 21, 2020 in ,
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