What a strange journey this has been. A year ago I was abroad in Ireland and England, drinking in art, history, culture and a lot of espresso. Shortly thereafter, I packed up and moved across the country for my graduate school program. The fall and early spring semesters were trying and difficult, but my time at Tech ended rather abruptly along with my life in Atlanta.
Maybe you have heard, but the world is currently engulfed in a pandemic that has radically upended our lives and behaviors. Georgia is a COVID-19 hotspot, and America has tragically experienced over 130,000 deaths in a few short months. Even more upsetting, public leaders at every level have been fumbling, failing and causing undue harm to real people’s lives. My grandmother has been unable to see her family in person in months, but going out in public and following the news shows people openly flouting the guidelines — an act that can only be described as selfish.
Normalcy has been absent across America in all but one way: racial injustice. Even when everything grinds to a halt, oppression, inequities, disparities and literal killings persist.
Think about that for a second. I do not have words that can accurately articulate just how inhumane that is. We, as a country, cannot boast freedom when we do not afford that to our own people, neighbors and friends.
At times, the state of the world does get to me, overwhelmed with feelings of dread and depression. I feel irate at the endless slew of injustices, angry at all of the selfish people who refuse to wear masks and saddened by my inability to visit loved ones in a normal capacity.
All of this has made my last few months at the Technique seem trivial. My literal job has been to write, plan and edit entertainment articles — a frivolous endeavor that reveals a great deal of privilege.
Yet, my overarching experience of both the last 12 months and the last few offers some clarity in my life.
For one, having outlets for entertainment and creativity might seem trivial, but they are not trivial to me. Before and during the pandemic, the few hours a week that I would focus on movies, music and television for the Technique were vital to maintaining my mental well-being and happiness.
Second, there is an ever-growing need for more people to fight, advocate and act in search of equality, justice and public welfare. I have already tried to practice this in my day-to-day life, studies and career, but we collectively need to adopt an urgency and recognition that words and actions truly do matter. Although your voice and vote might seem small, you personally hold the power to make other people’s lives better on a daily basis through your work, politics and personal life.
Third, social support networks are of the utmost importance. As is often the case, my best friends in Atlanta were often not the ones I expected. I joined the Technique to simply write movie reviews — a hobby of mine — and found myself thrilled with the community and friends that brought. My roommates, Boon and Powell, became incredible friends that I hope to keep for a lifetime, despite having met them through Facebook. Most importantly, though, my family and few best friends were truly essential to maintaining sanity during my time at Tech and my quarantine life, and I could not have gotten here without them.
To put it altogether, my strange year at Tech and the Technique has revealed that I need people and outlets to propel me forward as I attempt to make our world a better place.