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On Optimism Brodie Fraser

think we are in the majority. Much of the humanities and social sciences is about removing your normative assumptions when writing and researching. I struggle to do this. If I am exploring and writing about something that I have experienced I cannot remove these experiences from my work. I cannot be neutral. Growing up poor, queer, and a woman are inherently part of who I am: I am not going to take a step back from that in my academia. I also struggle being cooped up in my ivory tower, removed from the lived experiences of my work. It is easy for those of us in universities to forget about life beyond the institution. I feel as though I need to always be reserved and to ensure that I am not perceived as being too emotional for an academic setting. I really dislike this; there is nothing inherently wrong with being emotional. The classes I have learnt the most from have been the ones where I am given the space to explore my lived experiences and their relationship to course content. For me, university is about expanding our knowledge. By

There are a lot of contradictions and tensions to navigate in our lives. Part of being human is to have different parts of ourselves and our worlds at odds with each other. And so, part of being human is to also learn how to explore and accept these feelings. Earlier in the year I took a personality test. It told me I am an INFJ-T; that I have an “inborn sense of idealism and morality.” It struck a chord with me and I’ve spent a lot of time ruminating on this idea. This idealism and sense of morality, I think, is what helps me to navigate the tensions that arise in my life. One of the main tensions I have been trying to navigate is the dichotomy of growing up in a relatively poor household and burrowing myself in academia. I find that the majority of people I tend to be surrounded by do not have similar life experiences as I do. There is slightly more disconnection between their politics or academia and their life experiences. For me the two are intrinsically linked. I know that there are, certainly, academics who build their work off of their life experiences. I just don’t


Misc | Issue 24  
Misc | Issue 24