something new: textual

At the beginning of the semester, right after our Sapere Aude trip and orientation, all of the kids in the Humanities course stuck together like a cult, due to the fact that we had already bonded with our fellow peers, so we were not as stressed as the rest of the class to make new friends instantly. The rest of the freshman class began to view us as “the Humsters.” We were a pack that could not be separated, and our other 460ish classmates all seemed to be intimidated by the fact that we already were as close as we were. We were classified like a group of people, a club, a secret society, and one had to have a special code to join.

While this is now a story of the past, and we all now have many more friends that include more than just fellow Humsters, this classification of a “Humster” seems to parallel with the classification of other social groups in society. While we all are Humsters, we all are very different when it comes to how we think, act, dress, what we believe, where we live, and what we dream. 

What identifies one as a Humster? Obviously someone who is in the class is considered a Humster, but there is something more than that. It is an aura that one gives off, “Humes energy,” some call it, that truly classifies someone with that identity. Even within this own identity created within this school, some people are considered “more Humes like” than others, even though we are all in the course and should all be considered to have the same amount of “Humes energy.” This idea that one is not “enough” of a social or racial construct can be seen within different identities as well. Members of the African American community may remark to a member of their own race that they are “not black enough” because of the mere fact that they may not choose to spend time with other members of their own race, or “act white.” The one being victimized for not being “a proper member of their own identity” is still just as black as those criticizing him or her. Girls who spend more time with boys, boys who are feminie, racial barriers, these are all concepts that society seems to believe are not acceptable, and that we should all spend time and associate ourselves with others who we are supposed to identify with, based off of association and appearance. 

People get characterized into different stereotypes everyday. White girl, Asian, black woman, white male, rich, poor, southern, west coaster, Muslim, Christian, etc. However, that does not mean that each group thinks, feels, thinks, and lives the same way. We all have different identities and passions that make up who we are, no matter how different we may seem to the outside world. 

I thought of this concept and thought, what makes me, ME? What makes Sode, SODE? What about Grant, or River, Harrison, Robert, Marybeth, Reem? We are all so different, yet we are all characterized as Humsters. Each of us have different backgrounds, were all raised differently and by contrasting morals, we all have different identities. We all may read the texts assigned for class, yet we all may perceive them differently. We all may have different opinions, we may all find a certain phrase that sticks out to us the most, even though we all read the same material. 

Humanities is not just a class, it is a community. This community learns, discovers, argues, eats, and even lives together. This trait of a “Humster” is not a trait that will be erased until after our freshman year, or maybe not until our time at Davidson is over. It does not define me or publically announce the fact that I am in love with the humanities (even though I am), it is just an identity given to me by my fellow peers here at Davidson. Society seems to think that it can choose our identities for us, however, it is up to each individual how they personally choose to identify.

Second semester, our class seemed as bonded as ever. With more study trips, classes, and weekly Humes lunches every week, the “cult” was continuing to thrive. Nothing could prepare us for the traumatizing event that would happen on Thursday, March 12, right in the middle of our afternoon lecture. It seemed as if our entire class was on Chamber’s lawn during that time, and we all cried together as soon as we read the dreaded email we had been expecting all week.

After the news hit that we would be heading home due to the coronavirus pandemic, campus went into an utter chaos. Tears, alcohol, and barbaric like behavior spread around like a wildfire, and us students clinged onto our loved ones dearly. Strangely enough, it was not the members on my hall, the other members of my eating house, or some of the other friends I had made that I spent my last couple of days with, it was my Humsters. We spent hours on Friday and Saturday night reminiscing about our beloved memories, and crying on each others’ shoulders. These actions go to show that my fellow Humsters were the best friends and community I could have asked for.

Once we were all home, the community did not stop there. We all call each other daily, and have constant zoom parties. My weekly discussion sessions with professor Tamura and my section are the hi-lights of my week, and always look forward to discussing the class material or just discussing with my fellow peers. During our last class lecture this week, a teary eyed professor Denham said it best when he stated that we really were a cult, and that our love for each other and for learning will not fade in the slightest. While corona may have separated us for now, we WILL eventually get back onto campus, and give a special smile to those carrying around those little red notebooks.

 As we move forward into the summer and the terrifying unknown, our identities will change in response to how we grow, and it is up to us to remember that defining one’s identification is just a social construct, and only an individual can decide how they identify.