View from the Loge: September 12, 2023

September 12, 2023

View from the Loge

Last week’s campus lockdown disrupted schedules and classes. For some it may have been very stressful, while for others it felt like an inconvenience. For all of us it was a reminder to always have your GW ID and to pay attention to GW news. If you haven’t already, you should
sign up for GW Alerts and the GW Guardian App. You might also want to sign up for DC Alerts.
GW has resources to help those of you for whom the events were especially troubling - don’t hesitate to contact Counseling and Psychological Services or the Division for Student Affairs. My door is also always open, drop by or email anytime.

The range of reactions to the event and to GW’s response is a reminder that events don’t exist in the abstract. They only have the meaning that we give them. Our world is a complicated and confusing place. We cannot possibly grasp all of it, from every angle, all at once. Instead we pick a perspective and assert sense through it. We tell a story about the event that fits how we already view the world. This sensemaking includes assigning motives to the actors and asserting causes and consequences. We tell a story that puts the event in context and helps us decide what to do next. 

Our sensemaking about the lockdown is informed by where we were on campus, what our professors and classmates were doing, our personal histories, where we’re from, and more. None of these stories are fully and completely accurate, with every detail accounted for. Instead they are true enough, or true to life. They make sense.

It is worth pausing to consider how you made sense of last week’s actions. Why did you assign the motives and outcomes that you did? Are there other explanations that also make sense? How do you interpret and understand the world around you? What can you learn from how you engage in sensemaking?