When my professor for my “Literature and Ethics” class through Inside-Out asked for three “outside” student volunteers to compile our class anthology on our own time, my hand shot straight up. No way was I about to let this incredible project for a class that had impacted me so profoundly be completed without my expert opinion. I needed to be a part of this.
A week later the two other outside student volunteers and I met to discuss how we wanted to put together the anthology and the overall message that we wanted this project to represent. All three of us were extremely excited and started listing off ideas we had based on some of the anthologies we’d seen from other classes. As soon as we started looking through the material that our classmates had submitted, we fell silent. The poems, art, letters to the class, response papers, even the crosswords cut out from old newspapers and inspirational quotes copied down by students were so overwhelmingly moving we didn’t know what to say. In that moment I realized what I should have known all along: This project was so not about me. It was about the beautiful, diverse community that had been meeting and learning from each other for the past 10 weeks and I was so lucky that I had been a part of it.
“This is all just so human,” said one of my compiling partners. There was our theme. To represent this, we included a page in the anthology with a photo from our class on which we had every student sign during our last class together. Next to it, we included a page with painted handprints – our reminder to ourselves that while we are all unique individuals, we are also all human and together we had created something wondrous in the form of this anthology and the memories of our class.
In our “Letter From the Editors” – a detail we decided we wanted to include to make sure our classmates understood how honored we were to be able to put this project together – we wrote: “To our classmates, never have we experienced a more dynamic classroom environment. Never have we experienced a more fervent engagement and discussion. Never have we experienced a text come alive through so many sincere, unique, and intimate student contributions. To say ‘I’ve learned’ does not do our class justice. We embarked on a journey that began with uncertainty, nervousness, and excitement and ended with growth, clarity, friendship, and respect. It has been an honor compiling your thoughts, emotions, and experiences of this journey. We have been truly moved by all of your work. The most heartfelt thanks.”
Submitted by Maddy in Oregon