I did my annual review today, & being ask to list my academic accomplishments for 2020 felt demoralizing. I listed almost nothing due to pandemic-related cancellations & delays of conferences, research trips, & publications. So here is my alternative list of accomplishments.
I kept a twelve-year-old kid alive and healthy and reasonably happy. On top of that, she’s still learning, even though she’s done school via Zoom since March 2020. I helped said kid learn to love playing the piano.
I offered encouragement and care to my husband, a healthcare worker, as he faced a challenging, and often scary, year. And he passed his boards, to boot. :-)
I called my elderly parents, who have serious health conditions, regularly and begged them to stay at home and to take this pandemic seriously and act with care. My dad, on dialysis, is still ok, despite some of the folks at his dialysis center getting sick.
I showed love and care to my students and mentored them as they faced unemployment, fell sick with Covid, dealt with losing their housing, struggled to keep up with school work, broke up with their romantic partners, and gave birth to babies.
I taught my research team the importance of centering scholarship on a loving commitment to serve our community. I did my best to model integrity, generosity, care, and joy.
I did my very best to be a good friend.
I strived to change the culture of the academy, so that our work is centered on prioritizing people more than prestige. I tried to demonstrate this in every interaction.
I helped lead the first major (and multilingual) statewide effort to reach out to AAPI voters in Indiana. I called & knocked on hundreds of doors in Michigan. I helped flip Saginaw County.
I learned to play the first half of Clair de Lune and make a pie crust from scratch.
Finally, I learned to sleep 8 hours a night and not feel ashamed about it. I learned to understand the restorative power of sabbath and the destruction of hustle culture.

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More from @MelissaMayBorja

21 Feb
I spent my afternoon leading a discussion of the documentary Purple, from @Resettingtable. We can't just tell people to bridge political & social divisions - we must equip people with skills to understand, listen to, & see the humanity in their neighbors.
In particular, we need to take time to teach people (1) how to demonstrate to people that we see them as they wish to be seen, and (2) how to name differences clearly and directly. These communication skills are essential but rarely taught.
I highly recommend taking time to teach these skills in a variety of contexts - e.g., churches and classrooms - but the application of these skills are so broad and can have an enormous impact on how we relate to family, friends, and neighbors.
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