Celebrating Home: KAUST’s 5th Birthday

By | September 2, 2014

Photo by long-time KAUST resident Marcos Aguilar. View on Instagram

KAUST recently completed its 5th Academic year. As such, the University is throwing itself a birthday party chock full of 3 days of activities highlighting academic and community life. This event has been in the planning for months with many, many people working tirelessly to make it an event to remember. It’s an exciting time for the University. An opportunity to move out of its infancy, an opportunity to reflect, and an opportunity to envision the future.

The 5 year anniversary celebrations were also the catalyst for us to look inwards at ourselves and our 3 years at KAUST. As we reflected, we found that we have played a (very small) part in shaping the university, but more interestingly the university has played a large part in shaping us as individuals and as a family.  We like the direction that both are heading in!

We also realized how our attitude has shaped our experience since we moved here. We operate under the assumption that we will spend the next 20 years at KAUST. I think this may be the single most important factor in our happiness here at KAUST. It shapes the way we operate every single day.

We aim to build a better university and a better community because we are emotionally invested in the long-term. For my husband, playing the long-term mindset means he makes good decisions at work. Not just decisions that will get him through the next few months, but decisions that will help the University succeed over a long period of time. For me, it means that I make good decisions with my community efforts – through work, volunteering, and even in my social life. We both aim to build long-term, sustainable solutions to enhance our adopted home.

I’ve written before about how we often hear people talk about how they plan to come here for 3-5 years and then move on to the next gig. While we totally respect that attitude – especially for students – we find that people with that attitude don’t get as much satisfaction out of being here at KAUST.

Yes, something – anything – could cause us to change our plan to stay in Saudi. We know that, and we plan for that too. But we like it here and we look forward to seeing where the university and the community that supports it will be in 20 years time. It’s amazing how attitude and mindfulness can really shape perception and I’m so grateful for this realization.