It was 2011, the Walker protests were in full force in Wisconsin. We were the leaders of the movement on our campus. We rented out three buses every day to take people from Stevens Point to Madison to protest in the streets of the capitol. I’ll never forget walking arm-in-arm with Gregs on the first day of the all campus walk out. We thought nothing was going to happen that day, but we got to the sundial and a rage of students marched around the NFAC building and we were filled with absolute joy, that people finally gave a shit about what was going on around them and using their power to stand up and resist it.
In this emotionally charged time it is not these protests that spark my current memory, but more of the words of a psychology professor whose class I was failing. One day I stayed after class to tell him that I was failing. He asked me if I was sure and I told him it is impossible that I am not, as I’ve failed both tests and haven’t turned in any assignments. He did the calculations and it turned out even if I got a 100% on the final and turned in my last assignment I still wouldn’t have enough to pass the class. He gave me a reprieve though, if I turned in everything and got 3 or less wrong on the final he would pass me regardless.
He told me, “Listen, I know that the reason you’re missing class all the time is because of all the protests and walkouts, but you can’t let that distract you from getting what you want out of life. It’s a great thing what you students are doing and it matters, but you have to take care of yourself too. You’re supposed to graduate this semester, don’t lose focus of that for this because when this is all over, where will you be?”
This is important right now because we’re all losing focus. We are all getting wrapped up in the ignorance and hate rhetoric of both sides. It feels like we’re riding the swell of a tsunami that’s about to come crashing down around us and it feels terrifying and worrisome and awe-inspiring and beautiful all at the same time. And as I see myself getting wrapped up in the whole messiness of the situation I find myself now asking the same question, when this is all over, where will I be? Where will we all be?