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Professor Prepares for Trip Around the World

May 10, 2013 by admin

By Kelly McCormick

    It's early in the morning and despite the dreary weather and any tiredness felt, an energetic vibe transcends from her voice throughout the classroom.

    Courtney Atkins, 31, of Brooklyn, NY,  is a confident public speaking professor here at Brookdale and multiple other schools. While she is successful and dedicated in terms of her work, she holds within her a feeling that many students themselves can relate to.

    Atkins is unsure of the next step she wishes to take in life. In the light of an uncertain future, she has made the decision to quit her job and in mid-July embark on a five-month trip around the world.

    “I plan on starting in Hong Kong and traveling through Southeast Asia, to India and Nepal for a month and a half. From there, I'm going to Turkey and then Europe, ending up and spending the last month in Ireland.”

    The confusion of which career path to take has provoked an inspiration for introspection.

    “I was always obsessed with my initial interest in journalism. But after that dwindled, I felt like a writer that lost their way writing and turned to speaking. I still enjoy it, but I want to figure out what exactly I'm meant to do,” Atkins says.

    Being the comical and witty person she is, she throws out a humorous confession.

    “If it was really up to me, I'd probably make meatballs all day.”

    She then informs that cooking is one of her main talents and biggest passions. An important goal of her long voyage is to spend time cooking with natives around all the countries she's visiting.

    “I love Vietnamese food. I can't wait to learn how to make the best Po soup out there.”

    When Atkins is not focusing on motivational speaking or teaching, she's spending her time volunteering at prisons.

    “It teaches me lessons about anger and conflict. We just lock prisoners up, and we don't give them any rehabilitation. I go in there with other people, and we all as a group learn about communication strategies to deal with their problems.”

    Atkins feels very strongly that helping young people in that system needs to be a priority. She does not get paid for this work but simply enjoys the feeling of helping those who society has closed the door on.

    As well as writing and speaking, meditation is one of her biggest forms of release.

    “Sometimes when I don't meditate daily, I find myself in total chaos,” Atkins states.

    The calming nature she discovers after meditation is picked up on by her students as well.

    “I have her early in the morning, and even though I'm usually irritable at that time, there's something about her voice and energy that make me smile and become alert,” says Alexis Piatkowski, an 18-year-old second semester, graphic design major from Freehold.

    Atkins takes pride in being down to earth and laid back. “I love hanging out with my Beagle, Ernie. I like to party, and I enjoy going to shows as my sister has been a touring musician for years.”

    When asked about the scariness of quitting her job, Atkins holds firmly to the idea that she's doing what she's meant to do.

    “I realized that fearing that my job won't be there when I get back is not a correct way to feel. I believe that I'm always where I'm supposed to be.

    Atkins smiles brightly both in anticipation and also in the understanding that the best has yet to come.

    “I don't believe that success is defined by your paycheck or by your title; success is defined by experiences and spending time with my family and friends.

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