So I’m writing three reflections in one day (maybe two today and two tomorrow, we’ll see) because I also coach swimming and there was a swim meet this weekend, and while the meet is done by 11am, I, too, am also done by 11am because I’ve been up since 5:30 and standing for 4-5 hours.
Anyway, Saturday’s prompt is about describing the object of affection at the center of my project.
I mean, this is weird and assuming more than 6 people are reading this blog (which they aren’t, which is fine, that isn’t the point) but the object of my affection are my readers, specifically the readers who related to what I wrote, and who saw pieces of themselves in what I wrote, pieces that they hadn’t seen articulated before, not on the pages of a major higher education publication.
To get emails from readers who would thank me for what I wrote. To get messages from people in situations worse than mine asking me to write about it, to bring attention to it, to shine a light in places not usually seen in higher education (basically anywhere that isn’t an ivy, a rich SLAC, or an public state R1).
To become a part of something larger than myself, finally.
I was a contingent faculty member writing from the middle of nowhere at a relatively nothing school. I was the majority of us who work in higher education.
The object of my affection are the people still teaching at those schools. We all have our own reasons for staying or for going, but those who do stay, they need to know that they are seen. I see you.
In a roundabout way, I’ve come to what my book offers: this is a perspective that still hasn’t been told, widely, in higher education. I want my colleagues to feel seen, to feel heard, however imperfectly, to feel like someone, finally, has told a piece of their story, of our story.
That’s the unique thing. I was writing from Morehead, Kentucky, from a regional, state, comprehensive. Who has written from there?
The object of my affection are those who work where no on ever write about or looks.