This quarter, Professor Patrick Anderson is teaching almost 500 students in his department’s introductory course at the University of California, San Diego. Almost all of these students are first years or transfers, experiencing their first quarter on campus. Recently Professor Anderson shared a post on social media that illustrates how he cares for the souls of his students. On September 27th, the first day of classes, this is what he said:
“In honor of my beloved friend Reid Davis, whose death I am still grieving, I have begun every lecture with his favorite mantra: ‘You are not alone. You matter. You are enough.’ I say this to the students; then I ask them to say it to each other; and then I ask them to say it to themselves. Such a small thing, really. But its effects are magical: on the first day of class, when I taught them the mantra, I had a line of students waiting to talk to me afterwards, to tell me how much they needed to hear this. They’re used to it now; but every time we recite those lines together, there’s a palpable exhale in the room, a gentle calm that descends and embraces all of us. I’m not usually one for platitudes or universalizing mottos. But this simple act of acknowledging ourselves and each other, of valuing ourselves and each other, is miraculous in its simple grace. Thank you, Reid.”
That evening, after teaching, he flew to Oakland. The memorial that he and four of Reid’s other closest friends had planned was held the following day; it was a large (and beautiful) event in Roberts Regional Park in the Oakland Hills. Countless of his former students showed up to share their memories of Reid, too. “All this is to say, it has been an intense period,” Professor Anderson writes, “and my use of the mantra in class has been important not only for my students, but also for me personally.” His students recite Reid’s mantra in class and in the halls of the department, and they share it with their fellow students.
Patrick Anderson is Professor of Expressive Culture and Performance at the University of California, San Diego. He teaches in the departments of Communication, Ethnic Studies, and Critical Gender Studies. He is the author of Autobiography of a Disease (Routledge, 2017) and So Much Wasted (Duke University Press, 2010) and the co-editor, with Jisha Menon, of Violence Performed (Palgrave, 2009). With Nicholas Ridout, he co-edits the “Performance Works” book series at Northwestern University Press. He has served as Director of the Critical Gender Studies program and founding facilitator for the Social Justice Practicum at UC San Diego; as Vice President of the American Society for Theatre Research; and as member (currently, Chair) of the Editorial Board for the University of California Press. In 2018, he was appointed by the Mayor and City Council of San Diego to the Community Review Board on Police Practices, which represents the community in reviewing complaints against the police, officer-involved shootings, and in-custody deaths. A former Fulbright Scholar and Berkeley Fellow, Anderson holds a PhD in Performance Studies (Designated Emphasis: Women, Gender, and Sexuality) from the University of California, Berkeley; an MA in Communication and Cultural Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and a BS in Performance Studies and Anthropology from Northwestern University.