Today I comforted my student from Ukraine whose cousin and uncle are fighting in the city. “They are still alive,” she said as I held onto her arms and watched her eyes fill with tears. “As of last night, they are still alive.”
Nothing mattered at that moment. Not verbs, not semicolons, not due dates, and not English department work dramas. Nothing mattered but holding onto my student and telling her that I was thinking of her every day, praying for her family every day, and staying right next to her to support her.
She said, “Do you think I can ask my other professor for an extension on an assignment?”
“Obviously!” I cried, “Your only job right now is to take care of yourself!”
Meanwhile, my student is organizing rallies and fundraisers. She chose the PSU slogan, too: WeAre With Ukraine.
And I’m with her.