Oberlin Blogs

Le Chatelier's Principle

October 3, 2016

Teague Harvey ’19

Sophomore: From the Greek words Sophos; meaning wise, and Moros; meaning fool, or foolish. In essence: a 'wise fool'.

Coming back to Oberlin was like stepping into an old, comfortable slipper.

At first, everything felt exactly the same, even though I was doing new things: my RA job training, moving in the first-years, and helping them through orientation.

During those first few weeks, I didn't have much time outside of those commitments.
So when I did find myself with an hour or two, I did circus. I juggled. I got my standing back tuck outside.

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See, over the summer, I was teaching summer camps at SANCA. One of my job benefits was free access to the training space, equipment and classes - so basically, I just did circus all summer.

I worked, trained, lived and breathed in the space for at least 10 hours every weekday. I made some insane progress on my juggling and tumbling, but I also learned what overtraining felt like. Even so, I woke up excited to get to SANCA and train, and on the bus back home I already couldn't wait to be training again.

My life was circus.

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Only at SANCA: the unicycling teacher convinces me to stay after my juggling class to learn passing. We get to 6 clubs in 20 minutes #circuseverydamnday by @teagule_chicken

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@mollycatchandflip might have won the bet, but I still made it to the bloody pole #circuseverydamnday #friendlycompetition #thisisannoyinglyhard by @teagule_chicken

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This is the 3rd kip up I have ever landed. Doesn't look pretty, but I finally did it!! #circuseverydamnday #trainingtobeabadass by @teagule_chicken

But Oberlin isn't a circus (no matter what you read in the press).

School started back up, and that meant that I just wasn't doing circus stuff all day anymore.

I was teaching the orientation swing dance. I was back on the Climbing Team. I was doing my RA duty. I was going to the CS and Math Majors Ice Cream Social. I was eating in Kosher-Halel Co-op (a new change this year). I was doing a million and one things, and half of them weren't what I had gotten used to over the summer.

Oberlin was almost the same - but I wasn't.

Or at least, that's how I felt at first.

Since I had been immersed completely in one of my passions over the summer, I needed to revaluate what the others meant to me - even my academics.

I looked in each of my communities, and there was always a role model of mine who seemed to just do that one thing; who just has this one, main, passion. I saw them and I started to wonder: "Is that me? Is that who I'll become?"

I saw that at SANCA too - my co-workers, some even graduates of Oberlin, now working at SANCA full time (or in the case of a senior who graduated last year: working over the summer before going off to a pre-professional circus program).

But while you might see a reflection of yourself in someone, they're not you.

Yeah, I still love to climb. I still love to swing. I still love to blues. I still enjoy the masochism of computer science. And I definitely still love my circus.

Does everyone do that combination? No. And that's ok.

When I first started writing this blog, it was meant to be about how to find my balance after returning to school. I kept adding to it, changing what my conclusion was, and waiting to publish it until I could finally say "This is what balance is".

But here's the thing: balance isn't something constant that you can just attain. It's not binary. We're constantly reacting to changes in our equilibrium, from both our environments and our own selves.

Since starting school, I haven't juggled as much, even though I'm teaching a juggling exco. I've quit my job as Local Dance Coordinator with OSwing. I'm not as interested in my Intro Neuroscience class as I am in my dance class. I've narrowed my passion in circus and tumbling down to mainly just Tricking, which isn't even a traditional circus art at all.

I don't feel like I'm losing passions - but maybe my priorities are changing.

Over the summer, I was happy to be at circus school. I was happy to be constantly working on tumbling and juggling. I was happy that that's all I was doing.

But now that I'm back at school? I'm happy to be taking classes again (...even if I don't like all the work sometimes). I'm happy to not just be doing circus, and that I have these other aspects of my life. I'm happy to have such rich diversity in my life.

With that being said, I've found that Tricking is my new centre of equilibrium.

Tumbling Club (which I'm the Co-Captain and Treasurer of) just had a weekend of workshops with an Oberlin alum, professional stuntman, and Tricker, and it was just about the most fun I've had all semester.

If you're curious, here's some skills I was throwing outside a few weeks ago:

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Had a pretty chill sesh at TGIF today. Feeling like I should start combo-ing once I get a few more basic skills #playthiswithsound #tricking #tumbling #oberlin #suicidekipup #backtuck #tgif by @teagule_chicken

And this is a video truly showcasing some of the best in the world:

But even if I wake up thinking about tricking, spend my idle time visualizing tricks, and go to sleep eager for my next training session... I'm glad that I do more.

And even if I'm still figuring out how all these different parts of my life fit together, even if it sometimes feels impossible, even if I sometimes wish it was easier - it's still worth it.

It's good to be back.


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