a student-run publication that seeks to provide space for voices that are not being heard on our campus. we are grounded by politics that are radical, anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-classist, anti-homophobic, anti-ableist, and anti-transphobic (against all forms of oppression) and that reject the structural neo-liberal paradigm that characterizes middlebury college and its official publications
By Anonymous Student, submitted on Thursday April 18, 2019
Today was a good day.
Correction: Today was supposed to be a good day.
The sky was blue, the sun was shining bright, and the breeze was just perfect; what else could I ask for? It was supposed to be a good day.
But it wasn’t.
All my life, I always detached myself from sensitive politics and social issues—not because I didn’t believe in the cause, but because I was scared to receive potential threats. Although I was often affected by this idle passivity, I simply compartmentalized and disregarded my emotions because that was the easy way out. I sometimes would even turn a blind eye to the issues around me—out of sight, out of mind, right? Some of you may call this complacency, but quite frankly, life wasn’t that bad. Today, however, I reached my limit. I could not stand what was happening on this campus.
With the chain of controversial exam questions, distasteful “humor of today” jokes, and the invasion of a right-wing politician on campus, my emotional tolerance was exasperated. I was angry, frustrated, shocked, and confused. Obviously, these were all emotions I have experienced before; they weren’t new to me, but it felt different this time. I did not know why I was feeling this emotional hodgepodge all of a sudden, but I knew this: I did not feel safe and I did not feel included on this campus.
In the wake of these discoveries, I truly realized that people on this campus were living different lives. Walking around campus today, I noticed the polarity between the people who cared, and the people who didn’t. While others were blissfully enjoying the vibrant, sunny weather, some of us were walking around with gloomy, turbulent rain storms in our hearts—the cold rain turning into tears, and the biting wind turning into heavy sighs. What a paradox…It was such a beautiful weather for such a shitty day. Today was supposed to be a good day. But it wasn’t.
By the time I walked into my last class, my own storm—the first of its kind—was already on its way. I honestly hoped that the lecture would distract me from my emotions and bring me back to my previous complacent, not-too-bad lifestyle. Instead of lecturing, however, my professor sat down in front of the class and began to express his/her thoughts on the recent issues. The professor’s remark was filled with genuine invitations to take care of ourselves and heartfelt concerns for our wellbeing. And when some of us quietly thanked the professor for the conversation, something interesting happened. The professor heavily said, “you’re welcome…you are welcome…you…are welcome here.”
“You are welcome.” I never thought those three words that I use every day would have such a substantial impact on me. Like offering an umbrella in the pouring rain, my professor provided an emotional shelter for self-care and self-reflection. In fact, during that short 75-minute of class, I felt safe and I felt included. I was welcomed.
Even now, I am overwhelmed and hurt by the people of this school, and I am not alone. I am frustrated and angry at the lack of accountability and responsibility of this institution, and I am not alone. I am scared to be in a two-faced institution that claims that it was made for the students, but does not trust the students, and I am not alone. We are not alone. Please remember that.
For those of you who are reading this piece and empathize with me, thank you for your presence on campus. Thank you for fighting each day toward progress on this campus and beyond. And I would like to let you know that…
You are welcome.
You are welcome here.