There are a lot of mixed emotions associated with the year 2016. I suppose I should just get the obvious out of the way. Myself and a lot of people that I know are still reeling from the results of the election. I don’t want to get into politics too much, but thinking about what Trump’s presidency will mean for all of the issues I care about, and then seeing him fill his Cabinet with climate change-deniers, oil executives, anti-minimum wage CEOs, and other billionaires is more than a bit discouraging.
Trump isn’t even the only star on the list of “reasons why 2016 was a shitty fucking year.” Brexit has thrown the global economy and the future of the EU in turmoil, Colombia’s referendum result was a step back for the peace process, and destruction continues to rain down in Syria. By a lot of measures, this year has been pretty bleak.
And yet it’s more important now than ever to not give in to despair, to take a stand and fight for those things (and those people) you care about. And that brings me to what has been amazing about 2016. Earlier this year, I moved away from Berkeley and the Bay Area where I’ve considered home for the last 8 years. Moving to Syracuse was a daunting task: I was going somewhere completely unfamiliar, surrounded by people who I had no idea if I’d get along with.
I had more than a little bit of trepidation when I started the MPA at Maxwell. Everyone seemed so interesting, with incredible work and life experiences, and here I was, a glorified canvasser who was an organizer for a nonprofit working on a super niche issue. And yet, over the course of just one semester (plus one summer), I’ve gotten to know so many people so well, it’s almost overwhelming. Everyone here has that issue that they are insanely passionate about, and seeing the way their eyes light up when they get a chance to discuss it is nothing short of inspiring.
It’s this experience that has given me hope for the future. To wake up every morning and learn with and from this incredible group of people, has been the greatest privilege I’ve ever known. To everyone that I’ve met at Maxwell, thank you for making this the richest six months I’ve ever experienced. I know there’s still a ton of winter left in Syracuse, but there’s no one else I’d rather spend it with.
And with that, I’ll end this post with some photos from the semester and a quote from my amazing cousin Timmy, who’s always an inspiration: “Happy holidays, watch Rogue One and dream of Rebellion.”