If you follow me on Twitter (which of course you do; I'm Hilarious and Very Interesting, naturally) you'll have seen that I am a smidge passionate about the UCU (University and College Union) Strikes that are happening this week. Don't worry. I'm not about to talk strike content here (I will add in a link from another blog when it's done). I am going to talk about why I care so much though. Obviously, it is about the issues being fought, but it is also WHO is fighting. Teachers in a school you think of as working with your child, moulding them. Lecturers at a university are more seen as talking at a group of people. But it is so much more than that. They are so much more than that. I'm going to be listing lecturers by name because they are people, not generic blobs. I'll prob miss someone and then they'll hate me, but it's not deliberate I promise. Going to university has changed my life. It has changed me. I see a (ok, kinda fuzzy) future ahead of me that I never had before. I have more self confidence than ever in my life. I understand so much more about myself. It isn't from going and listening to people talk and then handing them work. It is from the people themselves. Frances Hawkhead was one of my first lecturers. She showed me so much about feminism and gender inequality than I ever expected. She opened my eyes so what should have been obvious, but wasn't. Roy Watson was the first lecturer that I had for seminars that made me feel comfortable blurting out my thoughts on whatever we discussed. I stopped a lifetime of caring if people thought I was saying something "right" or "relevant", and just talked. Jim Pope showed me that being passionate about digital stories made me no less of an English student. Tom Masters showed me patience and dignity in the face of some truly bizarre stories that we wrote for him. Dr Phil Wilkinson gave me belief in my blog even before he was teaching me a unit. (OK, now he has given me an age complex, but swings n roundabouts). Sam Goodman gave me existential dread, but also self belief. He picked up my sobbing terrified pieces and made me believe that I knew more than I realised, and I could share that knowledge. Also, that everyone else felt exactly the same. Dan Hogan made me believe that my writing had value. Oh, and also showed me that Tigger in human form does exist. Billy Proctor helped me remember that I get out what I put in, but more importantly, that you never know what someone else is dealing with in their own life. So many more... Chindu teaching me to chill out, Yugin and his quiet loveliness, Hywel and his unwavering calm, Rebecca and her chirpiness... I've gotten all of this and more, on top of the academic knowledge I've gained, from people often being underpaid, overworked, and in insecure jobs. It's not OK. People are why these strikes matter. People. Not employees. Not statistics. People.