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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.

L's Taken

1

"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."

1

Thing I thought I'd finish but never did

  • Anna Karenina... but eventually I did! Still looking at Brothers Karamazov....

0

Everyday L's of life

On the Bright Side

0

Memories I made when I wasn't working/studying

1

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.

0

TV shows, movies, and books I've enjoyed

1

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.

1

Unconventional skill

  • Rock skipping 

  • Finding multi-day street parking in New York City 

  • Total recall of mid-1980s Boston Celtics starting 5 stats

1

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.

1

Small joy in my life

  • Coffee first thing in the morning

0

Obstacles I have overcome

1

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.

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Failures that seemed like the end of the world back then but don't matter in hindsight

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Leaps of Faith

1

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.

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