The Journey: An introduction

By Asli Kocak

In a world with hurricanes of Herculean force, pandemics that have jolted the globe and politics arguably more divisive than ever before, we as global citizens are forced to tackle life in our own unique way. Along each of our individual journeys we are accompanied by vastly different sets of environmental factors creating a society that lights up each of our senses, with no two people absorbing sights, sounds and smells in exactly the same way. When facing the respective adversities that life sends us, it is quite simple to get lost in the big picture, stuck in the clouds. Yet, what if we were to take just a moment to get lost in the minutia, immersed in the details that create the diversity that colors our landscape’s vibrant hues?

This semester, I hope to take you on a journey to do just that. I believe that there is one vital piece many of us are missing on our respective quests towards navigating adversity with a sense of peace: imperfection. I plan to open this iteration as a space to foster this very sentiment.

When I first began to envision what this column would look like, I sat in Aisle 23, a window seat on JetBlue. With my laptop on the tray table, an N95 mask suffocating my face and the light from the afternoon sun glimmering through the clouds, I fell into the reflective haze that I often find myself in while on the airplane.

I thought back on my past two iterations, “Sobremesa” and “Building Blocks,” and wondered what stance I hoped to take during this coming fall. While I’ve always felt that social justice is my niche, I knew I would need to step outside my comfort zone to truly embrace the idea of service through journalism.

Today, I sit here writing from isolation. Only 11 days after moving into my room in Harleston Hall, I tested positive for COVID-19, something I never would have predicted as I sat vaccinated with my facial covering on the airplane. While the initial devastation of having to spend 10 days away from campus in conjunction with the adverse symptoms that have not yet worn off, the solitude of isolation has reminded me of who I am at my core: defenseless yet strong, searching yet affirmed.    

I hope that by espousing vulnerability and sharing with the audience the tumultuous yet simultaneously beautiful experiences that I have faced and continue to face I will develop a sense of cathartic relatability. Publications alongside social media are ridden with two extremes: perfection and horror. All too often we find ourselves either watching things as exciting as Olympians winning gold medals or instances as horrifying as rioters violating our nation’s Capitol. As I write this initial iteration under less-than-desirable conditions, I hope to help people find the gray in a black-and-white world and use my candid words as inspiration to take a step back and marvel at the beauty in messy details.


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