Memories of Awe Episode 5

Liz was beginning to see how her interviews could fit into a larger project. She began to read Awe and enjoyed the stories that the author used to illustrate different forms of awe. She also began to value the need for awe in everyone’s life. She began to think of her interviews as a way to inspire others to recognize to value of awe in their everyday lives.

LJI can’t wait to hear of your next memory of awe.

KMcK:  It’s about Abby, a senior in our program. She came to me after class, obviously upset. She told me that she was pregnant and that the baby’s father wanted to part of her child’s life. She did not want to terminate her pregnancy, but she couldn’t afford to miss out from graduating on schedule.

LJI can’t wait to hear how you helped her.

KMcK:  Our University is good about accommodations for such cases of necessary absences. All of her faculty was very supportive. What was not expected was that she had preeclampsia, and I thought we were going to lose her, but she pulled through.

LJWas the baby ok?

KMcK:  Thankfully, yes. Abby was able to return to classes. Abby’s mother cared for Bella while Abby was in classes. Our college was very supportive and bought a lactation pump for Abby to use in my office when I was in class.

LJThis story has many dimensions of awe doesn’t it?

KMcK:  It does, but I haven’t told you the rest of the story. Abby’s mother became ill and could no longer take care of Bella. When Abby’s classmates found out about her situation, they formed a cuddle squad. I could walk by our student study room any hour of the day and there would be a student cuddling Bella, feeding her a bottle, or gently rocking her to sleep. We are a male dominant program, but gender wasn’t relevant when it came to taking care of Bella.

LJIn the book, Awe, I believe this would be called collective effervescence.

KMcK:  I think so, but there’s also a moral beauty dimension as well. I’m not sure that the labels of awe are as important as the inspiration that each of our students and I had from Abby and Bella.

LJWe’ve done three interviews so far and I’m beginning to see why you insisted the interviews should focus on your students and not yourself. These are the stories of higher education that never get told.

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“Life is not a solo act. It’s a huge collaboration, and we all need to assemble around us the people who care about us in times of strife.” – Tim Gunn

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