UC Berkeley Two-Day Program: Finding Meaning in Life After Academia


  • University of California, Berkeley

The Humanities and Social Sciences Association is pleased to present a two-day program with Dr. Elizabeth Segran.  For more information, click here. 

Drop-In Clinic

On June 2, there will be a drop-in clinic during which Dr. Elizabeth Segran will provide one-on-one advising about the nuts and bolts of transitioning from an academic career into a non-academic one.  More specifically, she invites you to:

●      Come prepared with several potential career options that you are considering.
●      Bring your resumes so you can parse through them together.
●      Discuss anxieties about leaving academia: what are your concerns?  
●      Ask questions about what day to day life is like in corporate environments.
●      Talk about how you are preparing for job interviews, networking and the practical skills you are developing in order to secure a job

Lecture and Workshop

On June 3, there will be a lecture followed by a workshop led by Dr. Segran with a complimentary networking lunch.

One of the greatest challenges with leaving academia is trying to find a sense of meaning in life after years of believing that academic work is somehow more valuable than any other kind of work. This frustration can manifest itself in generally despondency about the void you can feel without academic work and second, unhappiness with how meaningless your everyday tasks are at your new job.

What can you do to prepare?

In this lecture, Dr. Elizabeth Segran will discuss

  • Deconstructing your time in academia. Academia is sold as a bundled package of tasks and responsibilities:  teaching, close reading, research, public speaking.  Take time to remember about what drew you to the academy in the first place and consider the daily tasks that you most enjoyed doing.
  • How to give yourself time in your new career (and to give yourself at least a year for things to get better).
  • How you can use your time outside the office to volunteer, do freelance projects or lecture.  Within academia, there are often no boundaries between work and life.  In the non-academic world, you do not need to depend on your day job to be your sole source of happiness.  While it is unlikely that you will find work that fulfills you in exactly the same way that academia did, you can piece together a life that includes all of the same elements, rearranged slightly differently.
  • How to recalibrate your expectations and think of ways of pursuing their passions and interests in diverse ways, rather than through a single career.