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m&ms487 (profile) wrote,
on 8-21-2010 at 11:10pm
Current mood: calm
It's the end of the week, but only the beginning of the end. This is the Saturday before I start my last semester as an undergraduate college student. This was also the first week that I have been on educational leave from The Company since my freshman year of college.

I spent the entire week devoted to volunteering at CMU's band camp: meal set up, instrument sorting, wind suit dissemination, water cooler wrangling, to name a few of the tasks. Tonight, I and several of my Brothers went to see Jeff Daniels perform a concert in the streets of downtown Mt. Pleasant as volunteers for the Red Cross. They were raising money specifically for their infant pantry and I was able to collect the largest single donation: a $100 check.

Standing in the middle of the barricaded road with my Red Cross Volunteer Vest made me think about what I am doing. I intend to apply for a joint PhD program in English and Women's Studies at the University of Michigan this fall (for fall 2011 admittance). I want this degree because I think it will allow me to have a job in the eventual downfall of the University English Department; but the real reason I want it is so that I can understand. I want to KNOW. I want to examine those socio-economic hetero-patriarchal hegemonic power structures so that I KNOW how to turn them in on themselves. I want to expose them and say "AHA! I've got you now!" I want to understand why things happen the way they do so that I can make others understand. I want them to be empowered so they have a chance to make a choice for themselves; to be able to have some semblance of freedom (I know there are several hundred theorists which would, at this point, as if freedom is even possible; Janis Joplin would tell me it happens when there's nothing left to lose).

But, at this point in time, an academic has just so much hold. There is so much to do and not every woman (or man that cares about these power structures-yes, men can be feminists, too) is going to be going through a university class which others like me will teach. What to do? Why aren't there more of us helping organizations like the infant's pantry? Why didn't I know that the Women's Shelter probably needed volunteers? That's how I can start to make a difference.

I was thinking this as I stood there under the street light as the sun began to go down and about one hundred people crowded around the small stage to meet Jeff Daniels. I stood there, holding my donation bucket, smiling as everyone walked past me, guiltily looking away because they did not want or could not afford a donation. I didn't donate any money simply because I don't have any to give; but I have my time. I gave my time and my thoughts and stood there, smiling, hoping that at least each person walking by thought about what it might be like to be a woman or a man going into that pantry, how he or she got there, and why.

Why?
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