A Wild Tongue
The Crimson Editorial Board seeks to provide a platform for multiple and diverse perspectives on issues affecting Harvard. The Board is a diverse group of editors who strive to critically evaluate our past opinions and opine on topics for our readership to consider. In the spirit of open debate and expression — as well as providing a forum in The Crimson’s opinion pages where all perspectives are welcome — we are publishing this column.
“It almost paralyzes you. This fear of writing.”
My therapist made this observation at the end of this past summer as I explained why I was scared to return to school and really confront the thesis I had been avoiding for months. While I’ve already written a bit about how scary writing can feel, the stakes feel much higher now that I have to turn in a full project in just over four months. This thesis feels like more than just a project to wrap up my college career. I see it as a test-run to get an idea of whether or not I would be able to handle graduate school.
The journey through studying your own communities leads to desensitization. You learn how to swallow your pain to produce writing. Your identity and experiences become intellectualized. You find a sense of control in advocating for yourself through your research, fluctuating between feeling overwhelmed by your personal connection to your topic and your detachment in turning it into a research project.
We learn to give presentations about topics so closely linked to our own marginalized identities and traumatic experiences without flinching. Rehearse and rehearse until you perfect it. The audience wonders how you do it. Some thank you for your contributions. Others invalidate your work as “me-search,” putting it on a lower rank and overlooking its importance as academic work.
“Number 13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?”
I read the question out loud from the New York Times’ “36 Questions That Lead to Love,” as a bonding exercise for our small group of leaders. As we prepared to welcome freshmen to campus, some of us prepared to enter our last year of college. Reality was hitting that we were now seniors and we’d have to figure out post-grad plans.