(I’ve been sending periodic emails to current and some former students since the start of the pandemic. If you want off this list, lmk. If you want to stay on as a former student, lmk. And, if you’re interested, an archive of the emails can be found here: https://markdangerchen.net/2020/06/03/letters-to-my-students/)
If you’re at UW, this means that the new school year has just started (and welcome to the email list, new students of mine!). If you’re not at UW, I like to imagine that you’re doing well or at least coping. 🙂 I consider us still connected so feel free to drop me a note to let me know how you’re doing.
I’m not sure what to write other than to say that we’re entering the new year with some trepidation but also excitement as a bunch of awkward people meet each other face-to-face in what’s sure to be Awkward+ and also that… I know.
I know it’s gonna be weird.
But let’s make it fun as well! We shall treat each other generously and playfully, and we shall fight uncertainty with collective humor and love. I will always endeavor to treat you with compassion and understanding, and I expect that you do the same for me and your peers. If we have any conflict, let’s try to figure out why and work through it. If any one of us has an endeavor, the endeavor belongs to all of us.
I suppose I can also say that this summer, I took a break. I had the luxury and privilege to be able to do that, and I’m extremely grateful for it. Sometimes I just played computer games or watched shows or read, and sometimes I felt like I wasn’t being productive and wasting my time, and sometimes I hated myself for feeling that way since it means I’ve given into the capitalist bullshit of our society (where the wealthy profit off the labor of others).
Meanwhile, the university administration and a group of faculty generated a TON of emails in July and August about what we’d do this fall, how to handle outbreaks on and off-campus, and how to just deal with all of this anxiety and uncertainty and all of it. Gah! (One thing that was clear to me was that we all care, even amidst the uncertainty and infighting.)
It took weeks for me to relax… to learn *how* to relax again… and to remember how to not feel guilty for spending time liking the things I like, and, if I’m being honest, I’m not sure I succeeded (tho, I admit, all the while I was still trying to think through how to teach in the fall).
Anyway, I think we all need moments to ourselves like I had (more or less) this summer to figure out where we are and where we’d like to be going with our lives or to refocus energy on neglected relationships or neglected self-care. Sometimes that refresh takes just a day. Sometimes months. Sometimes years. It’s okay. It’s okay to feel lost or lonely or just not sure.
But remember that you aren’t alone. To be human is to belong to a massive collective (swarm), and if you need reminding of this, just reach out, and sidestep, right-left, to my beat.
FB/IG: markdangerchen | Twitter: @mcdanger | Discord: mcdanger#6611