Mary Pat McMahon
My family moved from Boston to Durham when I started working at Duke in summer 2019, and we're slowly exploring North Carolina's hiking trails, small towns, parks and coffee shops. I binge read mysteries and biographies, and I love jigsaw and crossword puzzles. I'm trying to learn how not to fall through the Earth in Minecraft.
"Thank you for applying but..."
I was passed over for several great opportunities to lead student life at different schools. I go to conferences and talk with the people who ultimately got hired when I didn't and think, "Okay, we're all just people. I'm so lucky I was still looking when the Duke job came open."
Thing I thought I'd finish but never did
Anna Karenina... but eventually I did! Still looking at Brothers Karamazov....
Everyday L's of life
On the Bright Side
Memories I made when I wasn't working/studying
Thing I've learned that will still matter in 10 years
People grow. We're all works in progress and you don't reach a fixed point where you've suddenly got it all figured out.
TV shows, movies, and books I've enjoyed
Thing I'm proud of that you won't see on my resume
When someone I care about is facing a tough decision, I'm all in to unpack the unabridged version of what they're weighing and considering.
Finding multi-day street parking in New York City
Total recall of mid-1980s Boston Celtics starting 5 stats
Quirk that makes me who I am
I take pride in packing light but really I just forget a lot of essential stuff when I travel.
Small joy in my life
Coffee first thing in the morning
Obstacles I have overcome
Thing I've done that pushed me out of my comfort zone
In March of my junior year of college, I made a one month resolution to go anywhere I was invited and to accept any "hey you should stop by" invitations that came my way. I went to everything: campus lectures, shows, parties, random errands with friends and just walking with people to the library or some store. It broke open a lot of fixed patterns I hadn't realized were so limiting; the environment around me had so much more to offer than I had recognized before that. It was exhausting in the best way.
Failures that seemed like the end of the world back then but don't matter in hindsight
Leaps of Faith
Life event that has made me stronger
My kids were very little when my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer; raising them while getting him through two years of treatment required me to develop significant coping skills. I learned to have more patience and slow down on the tougher days, and to make consistent time for exercise and important friendships.