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  • Writer's pictureTaylor Waits

Y’all are going to HELL

Soooooo shit has gotten worse.

The last time I even had the energy to talk about school was damn near a year ago - and of course ain’t nobody listen. Since last year I’ve had a handful of professors (non tenured and tenure) leave their departments. I’ve seen administrators lose their jobs for budget cuts. Graduate students dropping out like flies because they can pay less money to be depressed and stagnant somewhere else. Undergraduates are in a state of shock at the same institution that spent so much time getting to know them, recruiting them, and of course LYING. Guess what babies: they don’t give a fuck about ya.

I went from yelling at my yt classmates about their biases to hearing my department chair (yes, she is) say I “slipped through the cracks.” When my every action isn’t being watched in course work I’m completely forgotten about. It’s wild to me at how I can go from the spotlight to the streets in such a quick turnaround time. Less than three years in and the resources are depleting not growing. Take this school year for example. I literally got my resources to teach (if that’s what you want to call this packet of bullshit) two days before class starts. Even in grad school shit is so janky - and predictable.To this day, some of the best advice about grad school that I have been given: “Say something one time per class, nod, and seem interested.” The perfect formula. Add in the ‘angry Black girl’ trope to really hammer it home. Don’t attend any community meetings! Refuse to go to award ceremonies! Stay stone faced while they all smile. (I’ve managed to skate past most requirements by looking mean and uninterested in meetings.) It’s a classic case of giving the people what they want. A law I live by in my sex work. It’s all an illusion anyway. Baby give em’ exactly what they want!

But that’s just me.

While working my side gig, several adjuncts and professors came in and started to complain about the ways that their respective institutions are choosing to handle COVID - 19 and the student population. There were 6 of us in conversation; two adjuncts, one director, one instructor, and two students. The director proceeds to explain how one of her students lost 100lbs over the summer due to COVID - 19 and is now immunocompromised. And yeah - the student is on the football team. One of the adjuncts complained of finally being invited to a faculty meeting for the first time in two years just to be told to not accommodate their students. The other said that there was no system of accountability at their institution. Never was. No one was actually checking their syllabus, or checking in with students...we all have just been doing...whatever we want. The students in the back were elated because their public health course had been cancelled due to one of the students catching COVID over the weekend.

Y’all are going to hell.

My students wonder if this place they were scrambling to get into; this place that told them they would be safe in their care; would really put their entire population in danger just so they don’t have to give their money back? (Now the learning can really start!) Does a bear shit in the woods? The students have to take control of their own experiences. The more we start to refuse to take bullshit the sooner we start getting what we deserve. That starts with putting ourselves first. It’s a recurring theme in my course - something I tell my students everyday. We gon learn - but not that shit. We ain’t got time for the bullshit, period. Dare to not stress about class. Take time to explore your interests. Focus on getting ya bread up to all my students who are fleeing unsafe environments. My sex working, my houseless, my queer students!!! It’s time to do something radical: rest.

Y’all are going to hell. But like not the one I’ll be at with Montero. The one where all the professors who assign 7+ page papers go; those who don’t pay or acknowledge their student assistants; the weird ones who steal their student’s ideas (while simultaneously belittling said ideas); those ones who think they are holier than thou (and thus their work is a necessary good for the entire world); and the professors who are all around shitty teachers and shitty people. The administrators who lie about payment dates, “forget” to push your paperwork forward, or refuse to make accommodations for you unless you make noise. All the predatorial organizations stealing money, labor, and resources from students. ALLLLLLLOFDEMGONBETHERE.

I ain’t going witchall. I ain’t dying for y’all. We are not in cahoots or solidarity. #KeepIt If my conversations with all the different instructors taught me anything it’s that all these institutions are the same. Their bottom line doesn’t include student satisfaction, it's just money. COVID was the world’s evil ex - abusive as hell, inconvenient when you really need them, and acts like a dick in social settings. After being with an ass like that for so long you eventually raise your standard. Demand more. Students, employees, and community members alike are holding their overlords accountable. It’s like $16 an hour to work at the Taco Beezy up the street from me right now! Politicians are out here getting outed and SUED! Teachers are marching for higher wages! Students are fighting for equal rights in school - baby I am living! Thankfully (and historically) universities have been the site of student protest for generations. COVID - 19 severely minimizes the in-person college experience to null and void. Students are claiming they aren’t getting what they paid for anymore. I mean you pay for the in - person experience; the STIs, alcohol dependency, and mental breaks included! But few students in recent years can say they had the “typical” college experience. In an effort to give the students “what they want” they are prematurely allowing population numbers to rise and increasing the chance of spreading COVID; subsequently shutting down the university...again. Universities can’t handle having to accommodate students in - person and asynchronously or so they say. Put that tuition to use babe! Spend the coin! Or don’t. The enrollment numbers continue to dwindle. So are the faculty and staff. The morale is low in the academy. And all I can do is eat my chips and laugh.

In the meantime you can find me woosahing until I get to my graduation date! I have so many goals in mind: I’m excited about teaching (sharing knowledge has always been fun and interesting to me); making curriculum; and writing (love that I do that everyday). So yeah like fuck them. DO you. I dare anybody to do some shit about it.

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