#AlwaysBeLearning

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Having had been a student for the past two and half years completing a Diploma of Graphic Design and thinking I was done with study for a while, I decided to go back to Uni earlier this year to complete a Bachelor of Communications majoring in Media Studies. Working in the e-learning industry, and being surrounded by it every day (on top of what I’m learning at school), really got me thinking about just how much learning has become an integral part of who I am. Looking back on my journey so far, my learning habits have changed so much, coming a long way in just a few short years. Some of the habits I have picked up have seemed like a lot of work, while others less so. All continue to evolve as I look ahead with still so much to come.

I incorporate some form of learning into my day, every day. While there is the learning that I engage in every day, for both school and work, getting into the habit of learning something new each day just for the fun of it has been an eye-opening habit to get into. We’ve all heard of the one-hour rule of learning per day, but I really don’t believe it has to be so complex. Even a few minutes each day can make a difference if it’s sparking those ‘Aha!’ moments, challenging you, and perhaps even changing your perspective on something.

Nobody tells you this, but learning can be damn hard.

Seek diversity. Someone once told me learning is like food — if you eat the same food every day, you won’t reap the benefits of a well-balanced diet. To me learning is about expanding my mindset and seeking out the bigger picture. I read articles, watch online content, track down interesting books, and attend talks I find interesting. It may seem obvious, but so many of us are creatures of habit that solely rely on what’s in front of us and what’s within arm’s reach. While this can be great when time-poor, I also believe in looking at the bigger picture of my learning through making a concentrated effort to invest in it and track down different sources to feed my interests. I admit this can be a bit of a challenge, but being exposed to different viewpoints, perspectives, and information is only a good thing to build out well-rounded knowledge about something.

I cut myself some slack. Nobody tells you this, but learning can be damn hard. To really learn something can be one of the hardest things you do. But it’s also one of the most rewarding. The feeling when I’ve begun to really understand something, relate it to what I already know, and then almost ‘seeing’ those pieces fall and click into place makes it all worth it. But before the reward comes what I also call the ‘dark side’. The pressure, the overwhelm, the feeling that you can never have enough psychological bandwidth to cram all this information in. This is where I have to pull back, and tell myself I can’t learn everything the first time — it’s virtually impossible to learn everything there is to know about something the first time and retain it all. There will also be days of un-focus, mental exhaustion, overwhelm, and anxiety, and days where no matter my intentions life will get in the way. Cutting myself some slack and working with what I have is the best way to keep on track to make it more manageable.

Write it all down. Not just notes directly related to what I’m learning (though these are important!). Writing about the experience itself, the thoughts, feelings, and impressions on what I’m actually going through with my learning. It may sound like a lot of work but I was always that kid who kept some sort of journal, and it wasn’t until recently that it clicked that I could do the same thing with my learning. And its helped me. It has increased my self awareness, allows me to track where I’m up to, plan my next steps, smooth out any hiccups, and articulate what I can do to improve on an on-going basis. And most important of all, it helps the learning stick.

Have fun with it. This is where the creative side of my brain comes out, especially when I don’t understand an idea or a concept. So I do the only thing I know how to be — creative. I play with it, tinker with it, pick it up and put it back down again. Return to it. Analyse it, turn it over, pull it apart then put it back together. What other purpose does it serve? Where else does it fit? Question it, ask it why? Why not? This is the space where I’ve realised you learn. Really learn. Not what I’ve been told, or what I’ve read, but where I create my own experience. Be that person who asks questions — question everything. If it doesn’t come, I’ve had to learn not to force it — I’m learning to trust it will come when I least expect it. Especially if I’ve found myself in a conversation where I’ve had to explain it — more often than not I remember and know a lot more than I think. And the golden rule — I’ve had to be patient and cut myself some slack.

What learning habits work for you?

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Goin’ back to school!

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This week marks the first week of me going back to school!

I know I have been quiet this year, making my first post in March is a little sloppy, but now that I am back at uni studying Communications, majoring in media studies it is time to get serious about writing.

I have had a love for all types of communication for a long time – being a creative soul I was drawn to the visual arts, and graphic design in particular. I was fascinated with the process of planning and executing design, and the strategy behind it – logo design, branding, putting together advertising campaigns, and my first love – illustration. So off I went and applied for a Diploma of Graphic Design, and I am proud to say I finished it last year and now can call myself a designer.

But I have also had a love for written communication, and writing in all forms since I was a little girl. I would spend hours playing with my toys making up fantastical stories of daring, courage, and adventure as I led my playmates through the thick jungles of my mum’s garden’s undergrowth. When I got a little older and had learnt to write, countless stories would be written as part of school projects, and when that wasn’t enough I began to write in small journals. This became a bit of an obsession as I got older, and to this day I have about 15 journals that I have kept on and off over the years, not counting the ones that have been lost.

By the time I became an adult and had discovered the world of blogging, I was hooked and knew I held a deep love for writing deep inside.But there was one thing I always feared with writing, and that was a fear of failure. Would I be good enough? Would anyone want to read anything I had ever written? Not just in terms of stories, or fiction, but the same translated into when I joined the workforce and would obsess endlessly over the emails and memos I would write. Over time, I have improved. In all forms of written communication. And in doing so, the itching passion has come back now twice as strong, and the desire to write, and share, and build, and create, and connect with others has come with it.

Now that I am older, and perhaps a little wiser, I can see how far I have come. I have also come to the conclusion that I can marry both my creative loves and take my life in a different direction.

Coming into my own in the last 3 years has really fuelled my decision to be authentic and pursue the things I love. Learning and up-skilling as an adult has not been the easiest thing, but I am willing more than ever to keep putting one foot in front of the other and continue my journey.

I am very excited to see where this study road leads as I attempt to hop, skip, and jump to new destinations and opportunities. I am a firm believer in that when we take the initiative and make the move to move forwards and better our lives, the Universe resounds a big fat yes! and makes these things happen for us.

When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it – Paulo Coelho 

 

 

Wanderess

I’ve been using the last few weeks of living in my new neighbourhood as a chance to wander and explore.

I love the freedom a new place affords me. The new view each morning. The landmarks that identify my street on my morning walk to the train station, the places that are starting to become familiar to me. New sounds. New faces. There are plenty of small lane ways and little nooks, where urban decay peeks its head out among the newer buildings and roads.

 

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Salvador Dali peeks at me in several different colours from the alleyway around the corner.

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I love texture. Old spray paint flaking off the walls provides the perfect contrast between old and new.

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 This lurking area was at the back of an alley-way. As I took the photo, I definitely heeded the sign and ‘lurked’.

 

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Candy-coloured street art- a gorgeous piece by sydney-based artist & designer Nico

 

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I love doors. The curiosity in me wants to know, what is behind this door? What would I find if I were to open it and take a look inside?

photoIf I stretch my imagination, this looks to me to be a wild cat – with a blue face, orange eyes, and a strange light purple nose. I try and seek beauty, even in the most unlikely places.

“She was free in her wildness. She was a wanderess, a drop of free water. She belonged to no man and to no city” 

 – Roman Payne, The Wanderess 

Maya Angelou

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” I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life. I’ve learned that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a “life.” I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  – Maya Angelou

You taught me a lot through your words – compassion, resilience, to be true to myself no matter what circumstances crossed my path in life. You were a comfort when the nights were long, and the days cold, and there was nobody else to teach me the lessons I needed to learn, or hear the words I so desperately  needed to hear.

Thank you.

You have to follow your passion in life….

You have to follow your passion in life, regardless of the consequences. For me, that has meant continually developing as a human being through out the experiences of my life. There’s a certain integrity with staying true to your soul, and it carries into all avenues of your life. If something isn’t working for you, find out why. Maybe you are in a learning curve and need further development before you can dovetail with it. Maybe it just isn’t a fit and you need to move on. Explore always and discover. If you feel a quickening in your blood, it’s the first indication you are on the right path. Read, look, go, be. Most importantly, love the life you are in. You only have one, and only you can have it. 

– Maggie McNab ( Author and Designer)

 

Happy days are coming 🙂

Days 12 -19 of 100 Happy Days

The last few days have been like wading through mud – difficult, and mentally draining. I found out what it’s like to  have your internet connection die and madly scramble to get another provider, get a huge migraine which left me rendered on the couch in pain, barely able to open my eyes, and then have to plug away on my first assessment for college which left my brain feeling like it had run a marathon.

Despite all this, there have still been glimmers of things to be happy about and be grateful for.

Day 12 – Working outside, with my favourite magazine on-hand.

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My favourite magazine of all time. This one is THE ONE. The one I think about as soon as I’ve finished the current issue, the one I read dozens of times over, extracting every last bit of information from, savouring each story, each little tidbit, loving the amazing design and photography scattered throughout.

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Day 13: Yummy tasty baby pumpkins – so cute I could hardly bear to buy one and take it home.

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Day 14: Shopping! Gone to attend to some serious retail therapy with a friend, I came across this jacket – oversize, ridiculously comfy, and a great neutral colour to complement everything in my wardrobe.

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These sunnies are my new crush. I tried them on in-store ( you can see the cheeky price tag!) and was smitten, so I swiftly bought them and now I wear them everywhere!

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The white skirt! The black top! What’s not to love – simple and classic.

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Day 15: I don’t know what it is about baby vegetables ( or fruit!) but this was just too cute. And I didn’t have the heart to eat it. So I simply buried it in the garden, to hopefully sprout some siblings for my garden salads.

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Day 16: Finishing my Notan collage. Notan is a Japanese art form where negative, and positive space play together and have a party – this just happened to be a party in the shape of a make-believe creature.

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Day 17: Going for a walk around town, wearing flip-flops, and a cartoon band-aid. When you’ve got a niece and nephews, it’s interesting to find what little odds-and-ends find their way into your life, especially when wanting to cover up a cut on your toe.

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Day 18: Playing with my favourite little guy. Gentle, wise, with an often sparkly and slightly crazy look in his eye, he is the reason I smile each and every day. He is an expert in companionship and cuddles, this year will be his 11th year with me.

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Day 19: Walking past this outside the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. I imagine many things these days, as I am in a bit of a ‘waiting’ phase in my life – waiting for the right job, waiting for my own apartment, waiting for a life partner. It’s tough, but it’s the imagining of the things I want in my life that are slowly getting me through.