How to Follow Your Passion
If you have been following me for a while then you may be clued into the fact that I am a psychology major. I love psychology, I really do. It is fascinating, and so incredibly important. Regardless of all the wonder it may sometimes provide me, or the sheer urgency of its topics, I know that I do not want to be a psychologist. In fact, I do not want to work in psychology at all. I was always heading for an artistic field, but my pessimism and sensitivity to the opinions of others prevented me from taking a direct path towards it.
Now I am left utterly confused and caught in between the thing I felt that I should do, and what I actually want to do. It seems that I have come so far that compromise is the only thing left for me. I want to create things. I want to draw or sew or sing. I want to breathe fashion, or produce music, or live behind a camera. How do you get to this when you’re already in so deep somewhere else?
It is easy to lose faith in yourself and the path (wrong or right) that you have chosen. It is hard to be motivated in university when you come to question the very things that brought you there. I am there because I was taught that I need a degree. Not by my family - though it was warmly encouraged - but by the world around me. School, friends, and media echo the same narrative everyday.
The first thing to do is realize that you are never stuck. There is always a way out. Maybe not continuing could end up worse than continuing, but needless to say, you can always drop whatever it is that isn’t right for you. There is no universal law holding you there. Furthermore, remember that all things come to an end. Regardless of how tedious university can be if you don’t want it, it is not going to go on indefinitely, and it will not define the rest of your life.
Start doing what you want to do now. If you have to guts to drop everything and jump in feet first, do it. If not, do it when you can. I try to fill my spare time with my artistic pursuits, from reading countless ebooks on fashion design and the industry, to working on my next song in the spare minutes when I am home alone. Let your passion consume you when you can.
Letting forces outside of yourself guide you through your life is the easiest thing in the world. You are not a leaf in a river. You do not need to go with the flow. Start working hard on what you love right now, and do it well. Start at the bottom and be patient. Learn everything you can about what it is you want to pursue, and do what you can to pick up skills and information that is invaluable, even if not necessarily obvious. Try as many things as you can, and take the opportunities when they come. There are so many books, local classes, online courses, entry-level jobs, and interesting people you haven’t met yet that can help you along the way.
You may likely not end up as a world-renowned expert in your field. You may never become as famous as you imagine, but trying to pursue your dream will lead you to far more interesting places than drudging along in something you hated from the start. You hear it all the time, but it can’t be said enough. Whatever it is that you love, forget the money, and the expectations. Do it and do it now.
What You Really Learn In School
I graduated high school over two years ago. I am in my third year of a psychology degree. I have not used trigonometry once in this time. In fact, I haven’t used most of the facts or methods that I was taught in high school. I knew that it would turn out like this though, and all through my education it plagued me to think that in the end, none of it had any practical application. Why not teach me how to fill out a cheque? Why not teach us how to do our taxes, or interview for a job? It felt like nothing that they did prepared me for the real world. It made it hard to care about what I was learning, and I know that most people feel the same way.
Two years later though, I’ve learnt to value my education even though, no, I will never use trigonometry, and no I can no longer remember organic chemistry. The thing is, while some of those things are prerequisites for your future learning, most of it isn’t being taught to you so that you can remember it. You are not put through high school to become an encyclopedia, and you are not expected to, nor will you be able to, recall all the information you are exposed to. High school is not teaching you facts. It is teaching you how to think.
I never realized it until my dad explicitly pointed it out to me. Take math for example. Will you use combinatorics a whole lot when you’re 30? No, almost definitely not. And that’s not the point. It’s problem solving. It’s logic. It is teaching your brain to work through a problem and solve it like a puzzle. This you will use your entire life.
Learning another language doesn’t necessarily mean you will be fluent in it. It helps you understand your own language better, and see the logic and patterns in grammar. Reading about 1000 years of history isn’t to make you remember every detail of the Hundred Year’s War. It is to give you an understanding of our past, including and most importantly our mistakes.
Of course, if you wish to study history or science in university then you are there to learn facts and information, but that gives you a purpose within itself. If you don’t walk away from your secondary education with a reserve of trivia to impress your parents, you should at least take away a greater understanding of yourself, others, and the world around you. Whether you realize it or not, you have gained some practical and necessary skills to function in adult life, they just may not be as obvious as knowing how to buy your first house.
What is Art?
When I was 18 years old I took an introductory art class at my university. My professor told us that if our projects were not receiving A’s, we were not in fact making art. This statement has stuck with me ever since, and I cannot help but feel like it is deeply problematic. Apart from the fact that this is a rather discouraging thing to say to a crowd of wide-eyed potential artists, it goes to show what a pretentious lens some people view the world through.
To me, art does not need to be life changing, and it doesn’t need to be entirely unheard of. It does not need to be good enough to hang in a gallery and it certainly does not need to receive a certain grade to qualify as art. Art is something that you create that did not exist before. It is when you create a new drawing or painting or write a story that means something to you, and expresses how you feel, or says what you want to say.
Art is that poorly drawn self-portrait you did because you wanted to try, and you wanted to create. Art is that song you wrote when you were ten because you were exploring new ways to express yourself and build your identity. Art is whatever you need it to be for you. I don’t think that there is anybody qualified outside of yourself to tell you what you should consider art and what you should not.
I would encourage everybody to try their hand at some form of creation. You don’t have to be good at it. You don’t have to be original. You just have to do it for yourself. Even if you aren’t proud of it at first, practice makes perfect, and one day you will make something you love. Your art teacher may not feel the same way about it, and that’s fine. They don’t really matter, and no grade they could ever give you should define how you feel about your own art, or yourself as an artist. Make what you want to make, and just keep going.
In celebration of my upcoming one-year anniversary with my lovely boyfriend, I thought of a lot of ways that I could make it special. There so many holidays that you encourage us all to show how much we care, but something about the very first year mark being passed is extra exciting!
These ideas are definitely more appropriate for dating anniversaries, but I am sure they could be tweaked for other occasions too! Here are 10 ideas I had to celebrate!
Long Distance Relationships
We live in a wonderful time. You can hop on a plane and go anywhere - see anything. You can meet people across the world with just a click of a button, and see their lives play out in realtime. With all of this wonder though, chances are you know a few people who are out of your daily reach, whether that be friendships or romantic relationships. This doesn’t make these relationships any less worth it, but it does make it a lot harder.
Many of my friends live hours away. It was so hard at first, but eventually it becomes very normal. You may go without thinking about them for weeks at a time. You won’t always be able to check in on them. That’s okay. That’s normal. It’s the moments that you do spend together that count. Sometimes the skype calls will come less frequently, and eventually will stop all together. People change, and you move forward, and sometimes one of you may just want to stop trying.
On the other hand, maybe you will be able to talk to them everyday, and when you finally see each other in person after months of radio silence, it’s like nothing has changed. In the end, if the relationship is really important to you, there will be a way to make it work. Doing that may take a lot of trust, and it may require you to put aside time to write them an email. You will have to be the one to break the silence and send them a hello, or make the call. It will all be worth it.
Of course, you shouldn’t let a long distance relationship keep you from living the life that you are physically present in, and enjoying the people you can touch right now. As with all interactions, we are looking to others to help make our lives a little more positive, and a long distance relationship should be no different.
In the end though, with most people, you should just make the call. There is something truly lovely about reconnecting with an old friend. Listening to all the wondrous and crazy things that they have gone through over the past weeks, or even the past years is excited is the perfect remedy for estrangement. Even the people you didn’t think you’d miss, and don’t miss in the moment will remind you of why you loved them to begin with.
A Guide to Fall
There’s no room left for pretending that fall is anything other than the most popular season. Maybe it makes me a cliche but I love the crispy leaves, and all the warm cozy things we can take advantage of again after a long summer. Here is my list of everything that I can say I genuinely love about fall, and what I want to make sure I do in the next few months.
Colourful Crunchy Leaves
When the trees start to turn, I know to get my camera out. I love evening nature walks in the cool, dry air. I love the way the leaves fall all around me, and the occasional leaf that lands on my head promising me good luck. I love walking down the street and stepping on every brown leaf I can find, so much so that I will go out of my way to stop and stomp on particularly crunchy ones.
This witchy and haunting time of the year is always exciting. As if I needed more reasons to wear all black. I remember perusing the dollar store displays when I was little, looking for costumes and knick knacks that you can enjoy just once a year. I love carving pumpkins, and eating unhealthy treats. No Halloween frat parties for me. Just a classic creepy night with a side of nostalgia.
While I can honestly say that I do not see anything redeeming about the ever-famous pumpkin spice latte, I love all other manners of warm and fluffy drinks. Hot chocolate was my regular go-to. I dabbled in everything from the Starbuck’s salted caramel one, to fancier ones that you can only find in little coffee shops on the edge of town. This year, I am exploring lattes and cappuccinos. Steamed milk will be my sustaining life force over the course of the cooler months.
A beautiful candle from Bath and Body Works is absolutely necessary for me when the weather turns. After a whole summer of avoiding candles, I love filling my lungs with smells of spice, caramel, trees and winter air. I’d burn them even if they didn’t offer a luxurious smell. The flames add a little warmth to any room and make it feel a bit more like home.
Let’s be honest. We are all super stoked for the wave of season premieres and pilots that fall brings. With the return of all of my favourite shows, those boring nights in become interesting again. All the cliffhangers will be answered with more cliffhangers, and my favourite characters will surely leave me wallowing in despair, yet only more addicted. I am particularly excited for The 100.
All Wool Everything
What kind of blogger would I be to talk about fall and not pay my respects to the wooly sweater? I love breaking out my knitted cat sweater, and pulling fuzzy socks up to my knees. I love the way my scarves protect me from the cool air and the way that beanies make an outfit effortlessly adorable.
There you have it! My favourite things about fall, and everything I will need to make this season more wonderful than ever!
Noticing You’re an Adult
My life is at the most cliche of transition times. I am counting down the days that I have left of being 19 years old, and all the terrifying parts of life are kinda starting to make sense. If I’d told myself this a year ago, I wouldn’t have believed it. In fact, a year ago I was at my lowest point. Nothing was working out. I didn’t know what I wanted and furthermore I didn’t think that I could manage what life would throw at me. It was a blur of confusion, and I felt more like a child than ever. Nothing will make you feel younger or more clueless like being faced with reality on your own for the first time.
Somewhere along the way though, I started to get it together, and now when I tally up all the wonderful things I have and have accomplished in just a year, I am finally actually starting to feel like an adult. Often you’ll hear people say that you never really feel it - you just keep getting older. I disagree.
It is not without work, and it is not without a lot of doubt that you can get to a point where you really feel like you’re on top of things. I had to take a lot of chances and be brutally honest with myself a lot of the time. The first big push that I had was an opportunity to interview for a business club at my university. The position involved event photography and videography - things that I love. I didn’t seek it out; a friend in the club let me know about it. My first instinct was to say no. That was always my first instinct. Still is to be honest. There comes a point though, where you have to stop saying no. And I got the position. I met new people, experienced working with a team, and got involved. It feels good to take on some responsibility, and start making things/doing your work for other people.
I also came to the realization that I struggle with a lot of stress and self doubt. My lovely boyfriend (who I mention every few posts) really helped me through it. Working on a genuinely real, healthy and rewarding relationship made such a difference to me this year. Life is much too short to waste on people who cannot bring out the best in you. With much of his encouragement, I was able to push myself to do a lot more than I’ve done before, including starting this blog, and even acing my summer job interview. I still deal with anxiety, but I am being more honest with myself in what I can do, and I can do a lot of things pretty damn well these days.
Over time I have noticed my skills develop, and my confidence. I have gone from a shy girl who could not look strangers in the eye to being able to confidently work with others. Now I am living in my first apartment (by that I mean basement suite), and the most surprising part about the transition was how easy it was. I am not equipped financially to fully jump into adulthood, but mentally, I am in a place where I don’t need my parents to look after me.
It all seemed like something that was so unattainable, but I have taken on so much responsibility, and it seems that adulthood just happens. One day you just know how to handle things, and slowly you can start to see a path that your life could take. Clubs and jobs, a stable and loving relationship, and living on my own were so out of my depth just last year, and now the world doesn’t seem so scary anymore.
There isn’t a parade, and nobody else can see it, but suddenly, you’ll just notice it. You’ll realize that you know what you’re doing and that you can handle it all, and I think that’s as close to feeling like an adult as you can get.
Today was the first crisp day of the year that left me thinking of warm drinks, wooly sweaters, and crunchy leaves. My mind even wandered to Halloween! With fall finally here for many of us, it is time to break out our winter wardrobes. These are my essential trends for the season!
These days, with the battles that feminism needs to fight being more subtly present in our society, a lot of people deny the need for its existence. If they do concede that it has a place, they counter it with arguments that dismiss or undermine the experiences of individuals. Especially the experiences of women. One particular argument that always catches my eye is so commonly found in the comments of articles of sexual abuse, that it can almost be an argument for the need for feminism itself. The argument goes as follows:
“It happens to men too.”
This is true. It honestly is, and I do not intend to downplay the sexualized violence that men experience. However, it is more than apparent from the numbers, that women are overwhelmingly more likely to be the target of violence. 80-90% of victims are in fact female.
Today I don’t want to look at the victims of sexualized violence though. We have done that more than enough and obviously, this argument won’t seem to die. The problem is that by pointing out that sexualized violence happens to men too, one is generally implying that women can be abusive too. Which is true. Sometimes. What I find interesting and far more important than the statistics of the victims, is the fact that most cases of sexual abuse, whether it be directed at women or men, are perpetrated by men. Even when it is happening to men, other men are often the cause. In fact, 90 to 98% of these crimes are committed by men.
So, why is it that this argument is used by humanists to say that we just need to be nicer to each other to improve the human condition? The problem is not that all people are violent. Women are not contributing equally to this violence. Not even close. Humanism is not the right approach. This is a gender issue, and I see a place for feminism in it.
Outfit of the Day: I paired my flowery bodycon dress with a jean shirt tied around my waist to make an otherwise fancy look more casual for school. I wore black Keds, a citrine pendant and topped it off with my black leather backpack.