Some of you have been asking, so I guess an explanation is in order.
Last week, I stepped down from my position as president of a teaching assistants’ union. I made the decision to leave in November, but I should have made it a year before, when I collapsed in a fit of tears in the middle of Parc Avenue.
Those who know me well know that I rarely lose my composure in public, and when I do, that something is deeply wrong. In retrospect, the fit was a sign that the pressures of trying to complete a PhD while working at what amounted to a full-time job had taken its toll, and that it would only get worse. Which it did.
The problem was, I loved my work, or, more accurately, what my work was for, and I’ve never been quick to walk away from what I love. Even when it’s not especially good for me. In this case, though, I was reminded of the fact that I am walking toward something immeasurably better, or at least, that I’m trying to.
And so, I applied for a student loan, which I had sworn to myself I wouldn’t do again as long as I lived. As I waited for the government’s response, I worried myself sick about the decision I had made and very nearly reversed it. Arit, whose opinion I trust more than anyone’s, put it to me starkly: “Vila, you have to quit your job.” The note of concern in her voice convinced me that she was right.
Already, I can feel a difference. The daily flood of phone calls and emails has slowed to a trickle. There are no more agendas to plan, egos to soothe, crises to narrowly avert. Most of all, I don’t feel like I have the weight of two thousand people on my shoulders, seemingly all of whom require my attention more urgently than I do.
For now, I’m just letting myself exhale.