Blog

Vanessa YiRan Li

As a college freshman, the Arete fellowship has allowed me to explore careers that can

positively and effectively make a difference. I have not previously been exposed to many career

paths in the past. Hence, my perception of what I can do was very limited. In fact, my

perception was tainted by the stereotypes associated with careers. Writers will remain poor.

Artist will not be recognized. Mathematicians are insane. Engineers are nerds. I was entangled

by the myths about careers that I was merely searching for something I will be good at.

Throughout the fellowship, I have come to see my career trajectory not only as a choice I am

passionate about but as an opportunity to make a difference in the world

Careers can contribute to the world around us in many ways. How do we asses the impacts of

a career? The most apparent mode of change is through direct impact. Organizations that

allow individuals to directly work with need are highly effective. These careers allow individuals

to gain public platforms as well as to influence budgets. For many college graduates, building a

career capital is also impactful. While building a career capital can entail many career paths, it

provides the opportunity to network and gain skills that can be applied and utilized later. An

impactful career is thus one that combines the two or contributes to one of the areas.

As a prospective STEM major, I would like to explore high impact careers in science. Research

is a highly impactful as it creates a ripple effect. A small advancement in a field could save

millions of life in the future. It is a play with the concept of time. As described in the Effective

Altruism Forum, advancing research by even 40 seconds would save a life. Hence, the value of

scientific research is immense. Research is in fact ranked as one of the most impactful careers.

Almost half of all published research is completed by a small group of individual. Hence,

passion and perseverance is key to making any career impactful.

While effective altruism appears to be logic, it is truly a mean to express compassion for the

world around us. By crunching numbers and debasing, I have begun to question how can I

make use of my passion and set of knowledge to be impactful. I sincerely hope to continue my

understanding of effective altruism as well as to be a part of this community throughout my

years if college and beyond.