She sat across from me, looking distraught. When posed with the question: ‘What are you most passionate about’; Jenna twirled her chocolate brown, shoulder-length hair and looked back at me with her matching dark brown eyes and expressed her love for Sailing. As an anthropology and journalism double major, she hopes to explore different people and cultures around the world, “I’m so astounded by them [humans], even though I am one.” Where she is hopeful to use her growing sailing skills as grounds for traveling between her jobs as a sailing anthropologic journalist.
“A big part of what I loved about sailing was spending time with my family, because you never get those times when you can just sit with each other and just be and listen to some music, play some cards. We didn’t even look at a watch the whole time we were there.”
As we sat there and divulged into her life, it became more and more evident that the passion she has for sailing was in fact a mask for the love and devotion she feels for her family. “I’m probably the most family oriented person I know”. Later when conferring about her interview where she agreed. Her passion lies in the strong connection she has with her family.
Since she was an infant, her father instilled the yearning desire of adventure into Jenna’s growing foundation. Every year she came to rely on a family outing crossing borders and ignoring reality. Through these trips she created unbreakable bonds with her parents and siblings.
Coming to college Jenna lost the time and adventures with her family. With hope to revive her passion she joined the UMass Sailing Team. “I really want to get better at sailing by myself.” She hopes to then use these skills to carry on her family traditions and to be able to sail solo for many years to come.
“Part of the reason I joined the sailing team was because you get a really good command of the boats when you’re racing. You have to think quickly about it and you become really skilled about when to tack and when to jive. How to trim the sails; and so I think the technical aspects will be really helpful.”
She told tales of how her father would attempt to teach her how to sail, but she was always too young to really develop an interest. However in the absence of the sailing trips she has used this time sailing on her own to create a greater basis of knowledge and strengthen the bond she has with her father. She reveals; “I’ve always found that when I turn something into a competitive sport, I love it less.” Showing us the true agenda she holds is not that of competing but gaining skills to help lighten the burden of her family on their own trips.
“It was a very difficult transition for me to make when we stopped doing that, but now it has just become a memory, and a state of mind. When I’m sailing I can remember back to all those amazing times that I had with my family and kind of feel at home again. I feel at peace with myself as a person.”
Through sailing Jenna can find herself and relive the greatest moments with her family. She has used sailing as her home away from home and has created a safe escape from reality in sailing. She is transforming her experiences with her family into a lifestyle she will carry with her for the rest of her life.