Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Pursuing Your Education With a Sense of Purpose & Service

I am a big believer that everyone has a purpose and destiny. In that journey to uncover our life’s calling many of us may get distracted by a number of influences, perspectives, fads and traditions that impede the true unmasking of our calling. Although college, professional school or graduate school may not be pursued by all; I have always been of the belief that pursuing a formal education can be a strong catalyst for uncovering one’s purpose.

When I entered college I have to admit when selecting a major I initially looked at things like “How much would I make with this degree?” “Was it prestigious?” “Was it marketable?”  “How fast could I finish?” “Was the major too hard or too easy?” Although questions like these are important to consider at times; I realized after a while that such questions only scratch the surface of identifying one’s calling.  Although it is wonderful to be knowledgeable, respected and compensated for what you do, I realized that if I was pursuing an education with solely those things in mind; I was doing myself and those around me a great disservice.

I must admit that the spirit I brought to pursue my college studies was quite different from what I brought to my graduate studies years later. And that is probably what has brought me to write on this specific topic. I noticed that although I earned my college degree and felt I had “direction” when looking back I realize that my educational pursuits were not fully devoted to living out my life’s purpose. Prior to transitioning into my nursing studies, I met a faculty at UCLA School of Nursing and we had a conversation that was very enlightening. It was one of the many light-bulb moments I had in my academic journey. She said “Purpose and service are not mutually exclusive. Nursing is a service role and when you are committed to service and serving another you are living out your purpose.” As I thought about her comment I thought of the doctors and nurses that provide care. The musician that provides music for a group to enjoy, relax and listen to. The teacher that educates a community of children. I thought of the scientist that pursues the latest technology to ensure lights remain bright in a city. Whether we realize it or not; all of these are service roles.  I truly believe that when we commit ourselves to being of service; does our purpose become actualized.

So as you consider your professional pursuits, or what degree program to enter I think you should keep the following questions in mind as you make your educational decisions.

Consider the following:

“How can I make a meaningful contribution to society?”

“What strengths or talents do I have?”

“What are some of the needs of my community?”

“What are the “nouns” (persons, places or things) getting in the way of me living out my purpose?”

“What causes do I strongly believe in?”

“If I could serve or help someone what would it be in?”

“What Challenges and motivates me?”

“What talents, passions or gifts do I have that could be used to serve or help someone else?”

As you enter your course of study I encourage you to consider these questions. And as you go along in your educational career make it your mission to pursue your education with a sense of purpose and service.


Ann Kiki Anaebere is a nurse and educator. She received her Bachelor of Arts in  Psychology  and Master of Arts in African Studies from UCLA in 2003. With a  commitment to  improving the  public health trends of low income populations, Ann decided to  pursue further  studies in Nursing. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2006 from  Mount St. Mary’s College, Los Angeles; Master of Science  in Nursing in 2008 and PhD  from UCLA School of Nursing in their Health  Disparities Vulnerable Populations Research Program in 2011.  As a nursing professional Ann has worked as a Registered Nurse in Intermediate Care/Telemetry (at UCLA Medical Center), Primary Care/Parish Nursing (at Queenscare Health & Faith Partnership) and as a Nurse Care Manager (at Kaiser Permanente).  She has also held an Adjunct Faculty position at Mount St. Mary’s College, Department of Nursing.  Ann currently holds the RN Quality Improvement position at Denver Health Medical Center/Medical Plan. In this role Ann works collaboratively to support and develop initiatives to improve key national health measures for Denver Health's medical insurance plans. Ann also oversees the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) Multicultural Healthcare (MHC) Accreditation process for the health organization. Finally, Ann is also a Professional Speaker through the HealthEDProject (

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