As a student, there’s a sense in which I’ve been shielded from the economic downturn. Aside from stymied prospects for financial aid boosts, my full-time student status has more or less cushioned me from many of the hard financial realties those around me are facing. Yet, in the wake of this crisis (which began interestingly aligned with the outset of an academic year), I’ve noticed a palpable shift in my attitude both within and beyond the academy. It is always tragically ironic to me in academia, when we approach conversations with a posture of intractability, when the nature of education itself (yes, inscribed within its etymology the word educere, meaning “to lead out”) implies transformation contingent upon a willingness to be led, and thus contingent first upon listening and on humility. During this time where many of our basic assumptions about financial, ethical and national spheres are being called into question, I am reminded of the fundamental importance of approaching questions raised by this turbulence with the spirit of: “I could be wrong.” Indeed, as I weekly approach the altar in my church’s Eucharist service, it is this similar spirit of awe-induced humility that allows me to listen with authenticity for new possibilities and move with hope with toward new beginnings. My prayer is that out of this time, I, and the communities that surround me, would remember the significance of the phrase “I could be wrong” as we discuss for new possibilities and look for change.
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