First week of college is done and dusted, bar one day that is! I received a very late notice of schedule adjustment and spent hours on Sunday night fixing my classes to fall on consecutive days. I’d previously had two classes on the one day but then they all fell separately. It turned out to be a decent stroke of luck because I realised that it would be a great struggle for me to sit through two lots of three hour lectures with only a small half hour break in the middle. It’s funny how what seems like a disaster in the moment is actually just what you need.
Nonetheless, my first experience of college was a very positive one. You’re cut a lot more slack than in high school which makes being a self guided, highly motivated and driven learner crucial but you’re also allowed to go at your own pace. I found that you’re treated as much more of an equal. There’s no power dynamic and nobody is seen as inferior. Beyond that, most people attend High School because the traditional route is the done thing and compulsory up until a certain stage. It was so refreshing and really reenergising to walk into a room full of people who are eager to be immersed in their studies and have a passion for bettering themselves. Nothing was done out of obligation and it really seemed to set people free. Everyone was so talkative, keen and at ease. I will say that my worries about struggling to make friends aren’t entirely unfounded though.
Most people in my set of classes are in their early to mid twenties and tend to gravitate towards others their own age, as is to be expected. I was pleasantly surprised to realise that I’m not the youngest there though. I come in at a close second but I’m happy about that because it’s allowed me to make a friend quite easily. I will continue to branch out more over this coming week and strike up conversations with people who I see potential in. That way they can get a feel for who I am, what I stand for and see that we’re probably on a similar intellectual level. This is not to say that I’ve experienced others being unfriendly- not in the least and quite the opposite actually. I just know that it’s reasonable to hold people at arm’s length until you see reason to do otherwise.
During my first class, Product Knowledge, the teacher touched on a really thoughtful concept that I hadn’t considered before. Empathy as a concept in design. She asked if anybody had experience with a product or service that didn’t work as it should and the feelings that arose as a result of that. I thought about my wobbly Ikea desk and how I fear it’s going to break every time I rest a hand on it. The teacher went on to say that design is all about creating a special personal experience and making those it’s intended for feeling comfortable, provided for, safe and loved. It’s about understanding a client’s needs and catering for them as you draw from personal understanding.
Other than that, I’ve enjoyed my early wake up times so far. They bring with them peace and I like knowing that the day is still new once I’m finished with college at eleven am. I’ve settled into a comfy little routine of picking up a chicken and avocado sandwich and iced coffee on the way to the city but will delve deeper into meal and snack preparation for college in the coming weeks. Not too long ago I picked up the Elsa’s Vegan Life Cookbook and had an absolute ball flipping through it. Most recipes, whilst totally natural and healthy, are pretty ingredient heavy I won’t be ready to get into a lot of cooking until I make a few trips to the grocery store, armed with quite a few lists. In the meantime, I’ve been reaching for a few staple favourites. The Obela Classic Tzatziki Cracker snack pack is great for on the go as you can eat quickly and store any extra dip for later. The crackers are fairly unsalted and there’s just that classic taste. If I’m opting for something sweeter, the Carmen’s Kitchen muesli and oat bar range has the goods. The choc brownie oat slice and the greek style yoghurt, roasted nut and blueberry bars are the best. Then there’s Table Of Plenty with their great take on a simple rice cakes. They have them in pure milk chocolate, dark chocolate and strawberry yoghurt. What all of these snacks have in common is that they’re super light and great for breakfast and brunch. They’ll tide you over for a while until it’s well and truly time for a more substantial meal.
As for me, I’m doing well for the most part. I feel quite balanced and on top of things at the moment. I’m still getting a feel for what college courses will require of me but am settling into a routine. I know I won’t get a real sense of this until a couple of weeks in or when exam season hits but I’m working on time management, not leaving work till the last minute and asking questions when I feel stuck or unsure. I get the feeling that a hefty chunk of my course load will be done at home through research, watching videos, working through activities and the like. Showing up to my classes in person and sitting there as the teacher flicks through a powerpoint, tells stories and directs us is the easy part. I don’t want to overwhelm myself so I’ve tried not to let college be all I think about and dwell on.
An incredible amount of progress has been made in my bedroom renovation just this week. I was getting tired of looking at bare furniture in the room so spent an afternoon decorating. I picked out two old radios from my Grandpa’s collection and placed one on my dresser and the other on my bedside table. I’d originally planned to have my lamp be on the bedside but it was too big in comparison and just seemed to envelop that whole area. I then added a parisian room divider, reed diffuser bottle, candle and terrazzo stone trinket jar to my dresser. I’m very happy to finally give you a peek at my planter terrarium! She’s just too precious, isn’t she? I always feel so serene when I see her pretty face and the little leafy plant and succulent thriving in her soil. Taking care of plants is not as much work as I’d expected. I find that the soil stays moist for days on end. I was worried about how the plants would drink when my grandma and I were away at the apartment in parramatta but I ended up watering them before we left and after we arrive back home. My fiddle leaf fig tree has some budding new growth at the top and it’s just a joy to see. The other big chance is that I finally hung up my Hello Marla Co tassel chandelier after much fussing and adjust over the length of the bead chain. Below that is a dainty bird print in a gold picture frame. I thought I’d have to say goodbye to this pretty little piece but found the perfect spot for it. I’m thinking of creating a minimalistic gallery wall. I’d originally put up an ornate gold hook that I hung my leather college bag off of but it seemed like there was too much wasted space to leave it there.
I still have deliveries coming and am waiting on a set of ruffled cream linen curtains from urban outfitters, a candle, bedding from I love linen and a few cheeky little dress purchases from Depop. I found some adorable staple pieces originally from Auguste the Label that I fell in love with. As we’re still in summer, I thought it would be the perfect time to experiment further with my style. On that note, my entire wardrobe is now filled, as are my drawers. I’ve done a further cull of what I have and found quite a few clothing items that don’t fit right or haven’t been worn in ages. I’ll be posting them for sale soon. My pyjama drawer is another section that got an update- I picked up two new summery sets from Papinelle, a go to ethical label of mine for luxury sleepwear. It helps that they are pretty affordable and have incredible sales! I went for a mint green paisley print in a silky fabric and a grey marle, purple and navy blue dainty floral in a modal cotton blend. Coming later this week is the mattress we ordered over the weekend and a desk, if I can choose one, that is. I don’t want anything too chunky as I tend to work in the living room and across the house, not solely at my desk. Besides that, I don’t know where I’d put it in the room. It’s shaped very oddly and has more door and window space than wall.
This week hasn’t been all rainbows and roses though. It’s held some incredible moments, like my realising that I’ve scored a collaboration with a dream fine jewellery brand and whopping and cheering for all those in traffic with us to hear, just as it has some really gut wrenching ones. I received an email on Wednesday letting me know that my scholarship application was unsuccessful. I’d gotten the lesser ten percent scholarship but really had my hopes up after finding out that there was still time while the board made their decision. I’m working on making peace with this and letting my competitive streak die down a little but I have to admit that I like to emerge on top. I’m just trying to remind myself that a seventeen year old, fresh out of high school and with little experience and financial stress, probably isn’t their ideal candidate or most in need of their service. Beyond that, the design industry is just so intense, cutthroat and competitive at times. I even caught myself wondering if I put too much emphasis on being different, on setting oneself apart. If there’s anything I’ve noticed, it’s that the students in my classes have a very similar look. Lots of wealthy blondes and the occasional gay man. The lack of diversity is somewhat unnerving but I guess that’s what I’m there for. Being the difference isn’t a bad thing by any means.
What really got to me though was the health scare my partner had, presenting with symptoms of the virus. He has a terminal lung condition so a further diagnosis would be, well, to put it so bluntly, the end of him. It made for an emotional few days being out of contact as he was admitted to hospital, heavily medicated and so on. We’ve been together for two years and I’ve learnt to see past his condition and not let it affect our day to day together but this fear still presents and gets the better of me sometimes. I worry about him incredibly. I try not to act like his mother when doling out advice but I just want him to remain healthy and well. Like the sweetheart he is, he sent me a lovely song earlier today. It was Ellie Goulding’s ‘How Long Will I Love You?’ and I remember thinking that it was one of those rare songs that would work for either a wedding or funeral. Naturally, I had a good cry to it in the car, then laughed through my tears at the absurdity of it all. Such is life. Let’s see what the next little while brings. Please send all your kind healing prayers our way. I’d like to leave you this week with a segment from Morgan Harper Nichols. This week’s series is about shifting your perspective to see goodness in all situations and it is oh so powerful.
Being kind to yourself involves accepting who you really are. It also involves rejecting who you are not. One thing that you should reject and never feel you have to be is perfect. We know we are not perfect and life cannot be perfect, but when we fall we fall short of someone’s standard, or our own standards, it makes us aware of our imperfections all the more. We wonder: “If I do things as close to perfect as possible, will I be able to avoid feeling worthless? Useless? Like a failure?”
We’ve all heard “nobody’s perfect” and “life isn’t perfect,” and yet, we are presented with models and ideals of how we should be. And to not reach those heights only magnifies our imperfections. We start to believe we are nothing but a sum of our imperfections, and the low points of our lives seem to affirm this as truth. Even when other people affirm the lies in some way, we start believing them. When we feel like we are not pretty, and someone else does not acknowledge our appearance in a positive way, we might feel ugly. When we do not feel as successful as our peers and others seem to be soaring past us, we might feel like failures. When we feel like we are a burden because of our pain and no one offers to help, we might feel that maybe we really are a burden.
You might not be able to do everything perfectly or to be perfectly content with yourself all the time, but this should never result in rejecting yourself. You might still be learning to believe the truth about your worth, but believing the lies does not need to be the substitute. Whatever you are lacking should never take away from your true value. A lack of perfection should never result in rejecting yourself. A lack of success should never result in seeing yourself as a failure. A lack of a loving relationship should never make you feel you are not worthy of love. A lack of fulfilment in one area of life should never make you feel you are not whole. A lack of motivation during a global pandemic should not make you feel worthless.
You are a human being worthy of love, right here as you are. Even when you don’t feel like you’re worthy of a break from work, rest, and you’re still feeling that pressure to be some version of perfect, you’re allowed to push against that in the best way you know. You’re allowed to rebelliously choose to take care of yourself, even when you feel like you should be doing something else.
Your body is worthy of gentleness even when you do not feel satisfied with the skin you are in. Your heart is worthy of love even when you have been rejected by the one you’ve loved. Your hard work matters even in the middle of the project. Your uniqueness is worth accepting even when you don’t quite fit into the “in-crowd.” Your mind is worthy of a break even when you have a long list of things to do. You are worthy of experiencing a life of love, peace, and joy, right here in your in-betweens. Be kind to yourself, right here where you are, for you are more than your failures, your losses, your scars. You are worthy of love and kindness, no matter the times you have been rejected. You are beautiful and whole, entirely accepted and embraced by those who matter.