#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 

 

 

This year 2015

As the year comes to a close, it has got me thinking about the past year and all the things that happened -all the threads connected to make up 2015.

  1. Gave up flat sharing and moved into a tiny one bedroom flat that is all my own
  2. Started working for a huge social media platform and my first real foray into working in the corporate world.
  3. Travelling – visited beautiful Santa Barbara twice, San Francisco, Puerto Rico, and second visit to New York City
  4. Ill health – being diagnosed with Deep Vein Thrombosis and being put on blood thinners has taken it’s toll. This has meant a change in my diet, aenemia, and feeling like a pincushion due to so many blood tests.
  5. Knocked off more subjects of my Graphic Design diploma- not long to go now before I wrap up!
  6. Began working out with a personal trainer after a long hiatus from exercise
  7. Red toffee peanuts became an obsession – there was a while there when I couldn’t go to the local supermarket without buying these and I’d scoff them within a couple days.
  8. Invited more plant friends into my life – am officially becoming a plant hoarder and rescuer.
  9. Discovered a crazy love for old world French cafe music
  10. Yellow squash has become a staple in my diet. Until a few months ago I had never tasted it.
  11. Hosted webinar presentations for work clients all on my own.
  12. Having my three wisdom teeth removed.
  13. Learning who my real friends are, and sadly who is not.
  14. Not understanding why we don’t have Barnes and Noble in Australia!
  15. Becoming more self-aware and accepting of my faults
  16. Bought a whole heap of dresses – I found that wearing dresses is so much better than jeans!
  17. Recognising the real difference between wanting to be with someone and needing to be with someone.
  18. Slowly giving up alcohol. This year has been about slowly letting it go and drinking less and less.
  19. Giving in to my gypsy soul. There is no denying the pull of wandering, travel, big skies, wildness, and freedom.
  20. Keeping an open mind opens doors to new information, new avenues, new possibilities.

Here’s to 2016!

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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 

Life. Love.

Taking a hiatus from writing has been somewhat cathartic, but at the same time I have missed it, without any channel to express what I have experienced during these last few months.

Since my last post, changes have occurred in my life, both externally and internally, which has sparked a period of transition for me as I settle into a new job, juggle full-time work with study, adjusting to a new home environment, and take stock during a period of change in my friendships and social life.

Someone once told me that all change is good – even if it doesn’t feel good at the time.

Adjusting to my ever changing friendships has been a real test in terms of me learning to really stand on my own two feet, and learn to rely on my strength, my confidence that I can support myself through. I am now the only single woman amongst the people I have grown up with, and it seems that everyday I see more and more people pairing up, getting engaged and married, and starting families of their own.

I have had to dig deep to find the strength to believe there is nothing wrong with me as a person, and that when the time is right, the right man will come into my life and want to be a part of it. This is something that I am accepting, which takes work each and every day. I have good days, and then there are days where I slide into self-pity, and I remind myself that this is all part of my story, and that the story has not ended yet. I recently came across this great list of things to do when the blues come knocking, from the lovely Gala Darling .  I have decided to use this opportunity to better my life – to use the time to focus on work and doing the very best that I can, to concentrate on my studies and produce a volume of design and art work that I can be proud of that I can use to build my portfolio, to plan some travels for the end of the year, and an adventure next year, to focus on becoming healthy again by exercising and getting enough sleep and rest, to cut out the alcohol and the fast food which does nothing for the way I feel about myself, to discover new interests, read lots of books, keep an open mind to meeting new people and inviting new experiences into my life.

Walking tall and proud and alone is something to cherish – an independent woman living life on her terms.

 

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Being free

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I found this in my inbox this morning. And it reflected the very thing I have been feeling all week. The desire to have an adventure, to take off, to feel my feet lift off the ground and fly away to roam the world, the sky, the stars, to see what I can find out in the big blue universe. It’s days like these when the dreamer, the drifter, and the free spirit in me wants to be heard.

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.