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The Semester’s Challenges

Despite the frustrating halt many of my peers have experienced during these apocalyptic times, for me it seems that my opportunities are bursting at the seams. It is a great feeling, I work hard and can often be overly-critical of myself. But at the same time, I worry that I’ll be spreading myself too thin: my life has always been a rather violent swing between laziness and high-productivity, between needing time to “relax” and diving deep into the history of the world, which can often be cyclically brutal leading to feelings of despair and disheartenment about the fate of the world. But the world and its history can also be a magnificent place–one of peaceful cultural, ideological and religious exchange; this and working my way back to the origins of humanity keeps me perpetually interested, even to a scatter-brained fault sometimes.

Keeping up with classes seems even harder these days– because we are conducting much of our lives at home, it seems that many professors equate that with free-time, and therefore more time for more work (go figure). Starting my first masters-level class exacerbates my work-load but luckily, though it’s been tough to keep up with everything, I am in fact still vibing. I’m currently learning about early American history and the *French Revolution* (and I highlight that because I am skeptical about the content we have been subjected to so far); not quite in my fields of interest but, hey, whatayagonnado? My masters-level class, though it was off on a pretty rough start, has surprised me with reigniting a dormant interest in early modern Mediterranean history. This somewhat has reignited my faith in a once bright and flourishing world — despite all its short-comings — and for this I am grateful, especially during these desperate times. Though our Mediterranean unit will soon be over, I plan to dive deeper into this era with any *free-time* I may have. While I’m still struggling to find a rhythm and balance which will maintain my sanity among all my tasks, I again am grateful for the gems of reading, the mentors and professors I have this semester who have been worst reasonable and at best guiding lights.

Finally, I am excited to start shaping my project for the CUNY Peer Leader Program. I can say beyond doubt, that I would not be who I am today without the writings of Frantz Fanon. I first bought his book Wretched of the Earth in Fall of 2017. A professor then told me before reading it, I should read his first book which was originally supposed to be his doctoral thesis, Black Skin White Masks. My life changed from there and I am eternally in his debt. With this project, I hope that I can contribute to fields of scholarship but also of everyday thought, both of which he was dedicated to, that uplift his writings and uphold him as a pioneer of liberation of individual, nation and humanity from the domination of oppression and destitution. Again, I can be super insecure about anything I create, and my worst fear is doing Fanon dirty; but I also know that I dedicate so much of my time to understanding his words and thoughts, and that I am capable of creating something worthy and inspiriting to his body of works.

4 thoughts on “The Semester’s Challenges

  • September 20, 2020 at 5:16 am
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    I had never heard of Frantz Fanon, but after reading your post I feel the urgent need to familiarize myself with his writings. So thank you for putting me to what sounds like an amazing writer, I’m glad I get to join the wave. Best of luck with your classes.

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  • September 21, 2020 at 7:15 pm
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    Hi Kai,
    Thank you for being candid about what you feel is good right now, bad, challenging and sharing your high regard and expectations for yourself but at the same time admitting to being over critical of yourself at times. It is not easy to be vulnerable in this space but there is always power in what our reality is and processing that as best we can. I applaud you on taking on so much at this challenging time we are in with work, school, Master’s level courses and all, that is no easy workload but I’m glad you have support, mentorship and peers to help you navigate this semester’s challenges. I look forward to learning more about Dr. Frantz Fanon through your project and hopefully more about his research on critical theory and decolonization.

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  • September 23, 2020 at 3:04 am
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    I felt your thoughts on spreading yourself thin and swinging between productivity and laziness to my core. On the one hand, I am more involved and doing cooler work than I ever have. But on the other, I feel like all I want is a break, which, when I take one I always come around to feeling guilty about the work I am “putting off.”
    I’m also taking a graduate course and am caught between feeling like I am learning a ton and also have to constantly confront all that which I don’t know. It rules.

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  • November 15, 2020 at 12:34 am
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    Hi Kai,

    Although this comment is late, your candidness about the violent ups and downs is still timely and something that many are experiencing. I was just discussing Fanon and our Blackness, with him as part of your canon, you can’t go wrong.

    Reply

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