Dear graduating students,
I had the great good fortune of teaching two fourth year seminars this past year, so I know some of my recent students may be out there in your respective homes reading this message. I am thinking of you and other students I have taught in the past four years. I am truly sorry that your final term was marked by an abrupt “pivot” when everything changed for you. I know many of your plans and hopes are thrown into question and uncertainty. This experience is undeniably challenging and unsettling and is affecting each of you differently. Know this: you have put in many hours of engagement with protagonists facing difficult circumstances in all your reading and you have engaged critical theories that posit thoughtful interventions into the social framing of gender, sexuality, race, class, and colonialism that amplifies difficult circumstances. You can draw upon what you have learned going forward; take with you fortitude, courage, resilience, kindness, empathy, critical questioning, resistance when necessary, creativity, and curiosity about what comes next. I wish you all so very well on the next chapters in your personal journeys. I wish you and all your loved ones safety and well-being. And most of all, I give you my warmest congratulations for having arrived at this time of achievement through your dedication, hard work, and determination. Congratulations graduates!!