Promotion & tenure tips: Carpe diem

Over the past few days, I have been thinking deeply about time, specifically how we look at it, manage it, and celebrate it… or not. And no, I am not talking about the proverbial “time management”. I am talking about the essence of time and how we spend our days. These past few weeks have been a whirlwind for me. It seems as though in all I was doing, I just couldn’t accomplish everything for PLR Consulting, my family, or myself. I actually found myself working past my set turn-work-off-time to try and I do mean try, to complete everything I set out to do.

Carpe Diem is a latin phrase that is most widely translated as “seize the day”. But I ask you, what does that really mean? More importantly, what does it mean to you? For most, the phrase means:

  • Cram all you can into today because who knows what tomorrow will bring.
  • Live Life…Throw caution to the wind and do you! OR
  • Let me jump at every opportunity because opportunity only knocks once.

Although great interpretations, internalizing them can leave you exhausted and feeling like an underachiever. Just like you (as an administrator, faculty member, and even now as a consultant), I have been guilty of each interpretation of this phrase. However, this past week, I was enlightened and started thinking of carpe diem from a different perspective.

Here is what I came up with. What if we actually enjoy what we seize each day. That is, all that the day brings – the good, the not so good, and the ordinary? The reality of each day is that it is unlike any other we have experienced before or that we will experience in the future. It has its own set of joys. What we have today is all we have. Yea, it took me a minute to really understand.

As women in the academy, we are always looking for the “next great thing” or focusing on the “if only I could have”; instead of enjoying what each day has set in front of us. I also know moving away from the way we internalize carpe diem is easier said than done. The academy makes it very difficult to shift our minds, so let me help you take some baby steps.

  1. Instead of focusing on what you won’t get accomplished, write down what you have accomplished for the day. You are NOT superwoman. Let me repeat, you are NOT superwoman. No DC Comics here, so keep it moving folks.
  2. Take time to be present in your interactions with colleagues, students, and family. Time is the one thing we cannot replace.
  3. Remember, it is never that serious. It may seem like it is, but in the grand scheme of things, whatever it is, is not. Thanks for this reminder TP!!

The next time you hear the words, carpe diem, take a moment to inventory your perspective and then do just that. If you keep this mindset of carpe diem, you will be able to deal with whatever the P&T journey throws your way. So, for each day in March, I challenge you to enjoy the gift of a new day.

“The only difference between me and you is how I spend my time.”

Pamela M. Leggett-Robinson


03/01/2022: Carpe Diem | graphic via

Pamela Leggett-Robinson

Pamela Leggett-Robinson is the CEO and Executive Director for PLR Consulting in Atlanta, GA. PLR Consulting is a boutique Program Development, Management, and Evaluation firm that works with organizations and institutions that seek to address multi-faceted obstacles confronting historically and presently marginalized groups in STEM environments and optimize current STEM...