Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Obstacles aren't predictable

In my August post, I was concerned about intellectual posturing in art history. I'm happy to report that hasn't been the case. My problems have been of another sort.

In the overwhelming process of adjusting to graduate student life: loss of professional identity, loss of income, loss of direct contact with family, friends and familiar scenery, intellectual posturing has not been an issue. Adjusting to regional culture and feeling like I fit in this community socially has been a challenge unrelated to subjects of study. It's the classic case of trying to interact with people in the way that worked somewhere else, finding out that annoys people and then recoiling when you can't figure out how to do something different. All that navel-gazing has been sidetracked by the allegations of child rape in the athletics department at my university. Any personal concerns I had suddenly melted away in the flames of Paterno and Sandusky's reputations being burned to a crisp. I am trying to stop worrying about myself and shifting my discomfort to productive efforts to help the community that has willingly or unwillingly adopted me. I return to what motivates me to be an educator: the children.

I can feel uncomfortable and sorry for myself all day long, but I have nothing to complain about compared to those boys. I am grossly oversimplifying the issue when I say that it's unfair that this would ever happen to a child. I hope that the alleged victims of sexual abuse find some peace and a community that accepts them, regardless of how awkward they feel. My sympathy runs deep.