Jennifer A. Chin (cswallow) wrote,
Jennifer A. Chin

Settling Up

Warm and clear, this evening finds me alert and engaged. Maybe it was the weekend of statistics, where I sat down with just my books. Next to a steadily growing stack of dishes and coffee cups, and by the grace of some higher being, basic concepts of this course finally began to make sense. Maybe it's the new people I've been emailing with and talking to who know this area well, and who eagerly spill their own stories of life in Durham. Maybe it's the shortening days, the cooling air, which speak of calm and autumn's presence.

Whatever it is, I am grateful for it. And while I still can't call my condo "home", I have a routine of going in the morning and coming in the evening.

Every Monday at 3:30, I sit down in front of my advisor, who listens to my concerns. Poorly considered and fraught with too much emotion, my words tumble out like belongings from an overstuffed valise. He counsels me in the most patient of voices and when I run out of questions the silence hangs and I wish I had more to say, if only to hear some new plan that I might hang my next week on.

On a drizzling Saturday afternoon, I attended a student panel of Fuqua first-years. The panelists were warm, engaging, focused, thoughtful. And even though their goals were very much focused on the private-sector world, I heard a lot that I thought I could learn from and apply to managing a nonprofit. Already I've grown eager for the mental exercise and deeply personal aspect of writing application essays. As I described it to Dan: "I've always been on the fence about the dual degree, but now I'm at least falling over it into the "yes" yard."

It could be that this decision has allowed me to settle in and given me a goal to work for. I am beginning to feel ambitious again, instead of cowed. This requires me to commit something of myself to this new place.

The only sadness I have is a lack of dancing. It's been a while since I haven't had a partner, or haven't had a prospect of one. Senior year I decided not to focus on competing so that I could teach and captain - but now not having a partner is not by my own choice. Practicing brings up frustrations, which I have had enough of. I take it and box it up inside of me for later. The best part of my week though is still my ballet class, and late-night Thursday coaching sessions at UNC.

I've a meeting now. It's been officially announced, so I can tell you that I'm working with a group of students on National Geographic/the Jouberts "Big Cats Initiative" - and we are going to save some lions, we hope.
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