Hi everyone! I’m Cecilia, and I moved all the way from Seattle, WA to North Carolina to participate in JSC. It’s one of the farthest places from home that I could have traveled to in the entire country, which was a somewhat intentional decision.
I came to JSC in hopes that I would gain greater clarity about what to do with my life. I had been in a place where I felt stuck and thought shaking things up would help me get unstuck and moving in the right direction. Things turned out even better than I imagined they would.
Coming into JSC, I had a few ideas of possible career paths in mind, but I wasn’t particularly excited by any of them. As I settled into the JSC year, I felt safe enough to explore different career options that I had previously ruled out as unrealistic possibilities. I finally felt like I could breathe and not necessarily have to base every decision I made out of financial fears or worry about the expectations and judgments of others. I could take the time to focus on figuring out what was most important to me and really listen to myself.
Being at JSC has given me the space to rest on the constant worry of “what’s next?” and worrying about how to pay the bills for a period of time. The sacred, safe space of rest that JSC creates helped to facilitated an inner silence in me that I needed to really listen to what my soul was telling me.
During my research of various grad school programs, I came across a book publishing program that seemed especially intriguing. With the encouragement of a close friend, I applied to the program. And several weeks ago, I received news of my admission!
Being buoyed by a safe and welcoming community has given me the courage to set aside the fears keeping me from pursuing my dream of working in book publishing. And being away from the voices of expectation I felt at home helped me to listen to that still, small inner voice and gather the courage to follow where it led.
All along the way, I had my housemates to encourage me. They have shown me that people are kinder than I thought they were. Coming into this year, I was worried that people wouldn’t accept me for who I am, with all the anxieties and insecurities I carry every day and the many quirks I exhibit. I feel especially insecure about certain traits I have: that it take me a while to process things, that I do things slowly, and that I can only do one thing at a time (in other words, I do not have the ability to multitask).
But somehow, I befriended four strangers who have become like family to me.
I thought that people would be more judgmental and harsher towards me than how they actually treated me. Having the experience of a bunch of people that I didn’t know come to befriend and embrace me for who I am has been incredibly healing. I didn’t expect that people would treat me with such kindness and generosity, but I am awestruck beyond words that they do. I feel that I’ve been so blessed to be doing intentional community with my housemates in Durham House.
Being at JSC has been an incredible, life-changing experience. In this place of rest, I was able to gain greater clarity of my vocation. And through my housemates, I was also able to do this inner work in the context of a loving, supportive community. I am going to savor the months to come because I know I will be reluctant to say goodbye when it ends.