Fordham GSAS: Grad. Life: Almost A Decade Later (And No, I’m Not Talking About How Long it Takes to Get a PhD!)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Almost A Decade Later (And No, I’m Not Talking About How Long it Takes to Get a PhD!)

With everything going on in the outside world right now, a blog post about grad. life or academia seems almost silly to me.

I was in my freshman year of high school, and only about a week into the school year, when planes crashed into the World Trade Center. I was only 14 on September 11th, 2001. But I remember feeling so old. I had friends who saw the second tower fall from the Hoboken pier across the river. I didn’t run fast enough. I only saw the debris floating over from Manhattan. Now, when I’m about to graduate with an MA, the man responsible for orchestrating “9/11” has been killed. (He has also been buried most respectfully, following the rites and rituals of his own religion, which I personally think is a great step towards a more sympathetic political approach toward cultural and religious differences. And which I think hasn’t gotten enough coverage.)

Most of my friends, both from Fordham and beyond, are very globally conscious. You can see evidence of this through the way they interact with social media sites, and there has especially been a lot of thought-provoking discussion online since last night’s announcement. Facebook, the all-knowing thermometer of public sentiment for my generation and beyond, is telling me there are mixed feelings regarding Osama bin Laden’s death. It’s not that most Americans (and others) don’t feel at least somewhat relieved…at least I don’t think that’s it. It’s more that, as many of my educated Facebook friends point out, his death won’t bring back the lives that have already been lost. Should we be celebrating, or mourning? Should we be speculating how this will affect the 2012 presidential campaign or losing ourselves in memories of 2001, both pre- and post- the attacks?

I know that this isn’t simply a graduate student issue, but it’s something that I think we, as people who aspire to be spreaders of knowledge in the world, should think about. It's our responsibility in some way to at least place ourselves in relation to these kinds of historic events, isn't it? Perhaps what we should really be meditating on is the distinction between vengeance and justice, and what we can do to make sure that distinction is maintained in the future, even in our own daily lives.

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