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2018

Megan Betz

 Photo by Weedezign/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by Weedezign/iStock / Getty Images

The new year brings out ferocious feelings--a joyful refresh, a time to refocus, an explicit choice to not make resolutions. Examinations of how we define success or failure. I've been on all sides. I've set myself up for measurable goals to eat better or otherwise "improve" myself. I've told myself I'd make no resolutions. But at the end of the day, I'm a list person. One "resolution" is never enough, & I can't keep myself from making them.

So, this year, I'm simply trying to be honest with myself. And, in the mantra I hear in my therapist's voice, I'm working to "note change, not progress." To that end, this year, I've made no resolutions, but instead I've teased out the things I typically tell myself I'm "resolving" to do into a few different categories or themes. In my personal life, we've made this the Year of Friends & have several trips planned, but my family is also implementing some intensive debt snowballing & home renovations work. It felt good to lay those out as a list of things to accomplish this year--but to explicitly note to myself that these are not goals. They are tasks.

My professional task? I will have all data collected & analyzed for my dissertation this year. I will make an effort not to clutter my time for graduate student work with other tasks & will stay focused on my dissertation. 

In addition to these tasks to accomplish this year, I've set a series of intentions--efforts to care for each part of my life, from mothering & marriage to me to my job & my school work. Caring for each will nourish the entire system, & I'm looking forward to the spillover effects. But there's one intention I'm most eager to share: This year, I intend to use my privilege & power to explicitly amplify the voices of others.

My citations, my personal reading, my research methods--each will be consciously cultivated to amplify the voices of those who have been traditionally disenfranchised & oppressed. My works cited will be more diverse. My theory will be more squarely feminist. My body will attend lectures, seminars, & conference sessions that are are led by non-White or non-cis-male or non-Western individuals. 

This is in no small way inspired by the outcome of the Alabama election1,2, a reminder only a year after Trump's election of the impact that race has on our voting. It is equally inspired by the death of Erica Garner & the racial disparities in care for women. Those with the most to lose, those who face the greatest consequences for using their voice, continue to be those most boldly & courageously putting their lives on the line. It is time my own work amplifies their voices and contributes to the advancement of all & a more equitable academia. I look forward to sharing progress--and to learning much as I try to more explicitly cultivate this practice.