GCIL, I Love You!

|Author: Sophie|

"When we see love as the will to nurture one’s own or another’s spiritual growth, revealed through acts of care, respect, knowing, and assuming responsibility, the foundation of all love is the same."

While I wish I could claim this quote as my own, it was penned by the great Bell Hooks in her book “All About Love”. It feels silly, and almost pre-adolescent to be reflecting on love on the eve of Valentine's day. The absence of pink and red candy, hyperbolic hallmark cards and stuffed animals from stores should allow this holiday to pass under my radar, but something inside me can’t seem to let it go without some sort of acknowledgement and maybe even a little celebration.

What’s the reason that I find myself in Bangalore, in the middle of one of the most challenging projects I’ve ever faced, ill prepared to take on the assignments being hurled at me faster than I have time to type into a google calendar, reflecting on systems of education, inequity, caste, power, economics, poverty, wealth, and knowledge, but above all, sitting around thinking about love?

To put it quite simply, I love love. And as much as they may deny it, I think the rest of the GCIL students might too.

Bell Hooks chose to describe love as a “will”, and I see this drive all around me in the way we move as a group and as individuals. It’s there as we sit in our project groups on the second and third floor lounges, recapping a week of work and planning furiously about how we want to tackle upcoming challenges, and it remains as several other students begin to sit down and work turns to lively discussions and laughs about anything. It is there in the long hours spent listening to lectures, feeling claustrophobic in our classroom but returning day after day to load our brains with new information. It is there in the moments we return to UTC and it feels like home, and again as four friends squeeze into a mega bed because time spent together feels so much more enjoyable than sleeping alone.

On this program, I have seen acts of care in the way we never fail to show up and listen to each other’s blogs at 8:30 in the morning, I see respect in the inquisitive questions we ask and our commitment to remain curious, I see knowing in the way we apply our design skills, fail, and then do it again and better, and I see us assume responsibility as each day we show up prepared to work. Our commitment to GCIL, I believe, doesn’t stem from an iron will or any heightened ability to push past discomfort, though I believe that these are traits we all possess, but rather from a deep love for the work we do. Love is behind the responses we formulate to questions such as “what are you doing here?” and “why GCIL?”. While our goals and projects may look distinct, it is this foundation of love that unites us as a group and becomes our superpower.

So to my fellow GCIL students: Happy Valentine’s Day, I love you!

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