Notes from Elizabeth Kline
Emory has group fitness classes available. To take the classes as a graduate student, you pay a $15/semester fee and sign a release. You can do that at either the WPEC or the SAAC. You can take as many classes as you like. I have done Zumba and spinning and yoga, but none of them affect me spiritually except for Elgin’s kickboxing class.
Kickboxing is 4:30 – 5:20 PM in the summer. For an updated schedule of group fitness classes at Emory, see this link. Some classes are offered at the Woodruff P.E. Center (WPEC) on main campus and others at the Student Athletic Activity Center (SAAC) at the Clairmont campus.
Monday 7:30 AM – I wake up happy. It is Monday. Monday is for Elgin’s kickboxing class. I reflect on whether I have clean work out clothes. I do. I smile and drink a liter of water.
Monday 10:37 AM – I am at the dentist. These notes are not supposed to be about the dentist, but while I have you here, I will tell you my dentist is Radiant Smiles in Midtown. Perhaps you are a new student looking for a dentist in Atlanta, so let me tell you what I think of Radiant Smiles. The best thing about Radiant Smiles is that it is very close to Trader Joes, and Trader Joes has yogurt star cookies, dumplings, and cheap wine.
Monday 12:04 PM – I am in Trader Joes. I walked in hoping to find fresh cut peonies and left with 4 kinds of protein bars and coconut oil.
Monday 2:00 PM – I am having tea while I read papers. I try not to eat for 3 hours before class to prevent gas. I check my pulse. That’s not something I normally do. I was just thinking about how maybe including my pulse in these notes might be interesting. I count 54 beats in a minute.
Monday 4:08 PM – I leave lab and walk to Elgin’s kickboxing class.
Monday 4:12 PM – I am picking at my chipped nail polish and a SHARD of it gets JAMMED underneath one of my other nails. I am BLEEDING. I take a picture to include in these notes.
Monday 4:19 PM – I finally clot.
Monday 4:21 PM – I start to run because I think I am going to be late to class. If this ever happens to you, do not worry because if you arrive late to Elgin’s kickboxing class, he never shames you. He just says “~hellllooooooo~” with an inflection that conveys familiarity and friendliness and recognition. He does it exactly the same way for every person who comes in late. With Elgin you know you are seen but not judged, welcomed but not forced, encouraged and accepted. “~Hellllooooooo~” is what he says but what he says is “I know you tried your best to get here on time, and it is fine that you have a hard time estimating how long protocols take. Come into my class. We will work it out.”
Monday 4:27 PM – I look around and realize the only other people running right now are tiny children who are heading toward the gym for swimming lessons. Tiny flip-flops, tiny swim trunks. I can tell I look like a giant child, also running. I almost fall down because one of the tiny children is fast and unpredictable.
Monday 4:30 PM – I made it. I am dressed and marching in place as the music starts. The walk/bleed/run to get to the SAAC from Whitehead took me 20 minutes and 48 seconds including a wardrobe change.
Elgin’s kickboxing class involves no punching bags or boxing gloves. You fight no one (except *YOURSELF!!!!!!!!!!!). It is like an aerobics class where you step-touch and grapevine and squat and hop. Most of the moves involve punching or kicking the air around you. Form is not enforced. Elgin counts backwards and calls out the moves while loud remixes of Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Ciara, Britney Spears, etc. play. It is exactly what I want. Outside of Elgin’s kickboxing class, I spend a great deal of time feeling unsure. If you are a rotation student, perhaps you often do not know how things are done in your new lab. Even after you join a lab, perhaps you often do not know where something is stored or how to fix certain problems. You can figure it out, but maybe you, like me, experience a lot of uncertainty all the time. I think I really like (love/worship) Elgin’s kickboxing class because I know exactly what to do there, and I can see that I do it well. This is extremely comforting and fun.
Maybe if you were in a cardio kickboxing class, you would not know exactly what to do. That is fine. But I hope you have at least one thing where you do feel sure of yourself. You know what to do. You can check yourself out and see that you are nailing it. I think that is a good thing to find and cherish when research-related floundering inevitably happens. Eventually something will not work, but I am at peace because I can stare at my reflection for 50 minutes every Monday and punch really hard and squat really low and do that move that football players do where you bend your knees a little and move your feet up and down really, really fast. Elgin says “Uppercut let’s go” but what he says is “Jealousy wins you nothing, so abandon it in favor of focus and patience.”
Monday 5:31 PM – I’m smiling and I took this selfie (fig 3).
Tuesday 7:30 AM – Bummed that it is not Monday. Slightly sore.
Tuesday 11:45 AM – I realize I never checked my pulse during or after Elgin’s kickboxing class. Sorry.
If you ever want to go to kickboxing with me, or if you have a question about what I wrote, or if you realized that maybe 7 minutes is a slow clot and now you are worried about me, you can email me at email@example.com.