Today is a good day to focus on gratitude. I’ve been feeling very overwhelmed the last week or so. I’m trying to balance work and school with a social life, trying not to miss my family, and trying to sort out my world view. While I have the world view just about sorted, the rest of it is still up in the air.
That is not the reason that I choose to focus on gratitude right now. Today there was a stabbing at UC Merced. I do not know much of what happened other than several students were attacked, and the campus police shot and killed the man responsible. I My heart hurts for the people there, and I am incredibly saddened that a place that I felt so safe at has been violated in such a way. I owe a lot to UCM. They offered me a killer financial aid package that allowed me to gradate just about debt free, and being at a new school afforded me opportunities that not many people get to enjoy. It was at UCM that I discovered my love for writing, and discussing literature. I went Australia and got my first real taste of wanderlust while I was there.
I fell in love the for the first time at UCM.
It just so happens that Week 43 is about a mentor or teacher that I am grateful for. That is an easy one. There are two people that I am grateful for, and both happen to come from UCM. The first one is a plucky writer and poet by the name of Jared Stanley. Besides being a really cool guy, he was also one of the people that really encouraged my creative writing. He got me to write ridiculous poems that were complete shit, gave me books to read, and led me to one of my favorite poets, Gertrude Stein. That nonsensical poetry has gotten me through a lot of rough moments, and has led me to a lot of wonderful people.
The other person that I am grateful for is a literature professor by the name of Jan Goggans. Jan is by far one of the coolest people I have ever met. She specializes in American literature, and was taught the first literature class I ever took. She encouraged discussion, challenged me to think about what I was reading, and helped me become a much better reader and writer. The last time I saw her she told me that she loved every minute of watching me grow as an academic, a writer, and a lover of literature. She wrote me a glowing letter of recommendation for grad school, and encouraged me to pursue a PhD.
Now, I living in the only place I have ever felt at home, and am surrounded by good literature, amazing people, and the chance to see the world. I’m still two weeks behind on the gratitude challenge, but I am having a hard time focusing, so I will come back to my gratitude when I’ve had a proper night’s sleep, and a chance to recharge.