Do you ever have a memory that suddenly comes over you, and after that moment, you can't help feeling like you'd rather be back there than where you are now?

Smells, sights, sounds.

I'd rather be in that cabin on the Great Ocean Road.



My room is in a state of chaos at the moment, and I'm in my last couple of days of living here until I go to Sydney for the holidays, then go overseas for a month and a bit, and then come back to B's house, temporarily or for more longterm. Going away for two months and leaving this house at the same time, all loose ends must be tied up.

I came to Melbourne last October with one big suitcase and a bursting backpack. Over several visits to Sydney and back, I've brought over more of my belongings - clothing, objects, documents, fluff. Buying furniture and odds and ends to pad my room out even more, to make it feel more me.

Having gotten a fair way into packing up, I can see now that I've got a lot of stuff. My room no longer feels like my place to stay in Melbourne. Even with all of my belongings displaced and arranged into boxes upon boxes, this room still feels mine.



Hard work never fails.

This is a good thing to be reminded of frequently. In hindsight, looking back at recent achievements, hard work is something that you can never regret. Hard work is always appreciated in hindsight, rarely ever in the moment, and in architecture school, this moment may look very, very, very bleak. One can only hope that the hard work that they are struggling through will eventually pay off.

Hard work for what reason?

I was asking myself this question earlier today after reading a Thanksgiving Facebook post from a mutual friend about risking stability and livelihood in a mindless hospitality job, diving into his passion for photography with a year of contacting people asking for work, and reaching the stage where he is now being asked for his photography and travelling to provide his services around the world. Good on him, good on all freelancers, for taking the risk and working hard to make it worth it.

In this case, it seems that the goal of this hard work - to become a viable freelancer - has been driven by the desire for autonomy and to have a genuine love for the work he is doing. I would say that the 'proper' reason as to why one should work hard in school is for personal development, however, students who put in hard work genuinely to improve themselves and their design skills seem to be a rarity.

I feel like the competitive environment in architecture schools leads people to focus on things that in the long run, aren't very important. Working hard to please your tutor, working hard to avoid the shame of presenting unfinished work in studio, working hard to have a solid portfolio when applying for an architecture job. From what I've noticed, the trope of "it's all about connections (and communications)" is all too familiar, and among ambitious students, there is an unspoken competition of who-knows-who, internships, and internships-where?.

Perhaps I am a bit shortsighted. Perhaps it's me who sees a rivalry when I should be focussing on working on myself (again, always something I should remember). When it comes down to it, I'm not sure what makes the exertion and sacrifice associated with architecture schools worth it, or whether there is any 'right' reason for it. I don't know whether the career focus in architecture schools, or at least among students, is healthy (I don't think it is though). The crux of any education should be self-development, but perhaps it's idealistic of me to think that.


This time around

These past few days, I've been freaking out about uni starting next Monday. Freaking out because I still haven't got a confirmed timetable, which means that I can't tell my manager the days I'll be available to work. She wants at least two days (or equivalent) in a week, and at this point, it's hard to say whether I'll be able to or not. Freaking out because I've been anticipating and working hard towards starting architecture at RMIT and it's becoming a reality. Freaking out because the era of 'in-between-degrees' is almost over, and just like the weeks leading up to finishing my B.A., I'm freaking out because I have no idea of what my life will look like in the next month/ few months/ year.

This time around doing undergraduate university seems to have started very similarly to the last time. Architecture orientation was on Monday afternoon, to which I arrived half an hour late. We had tours or the architecture studios and today we have tours of the workshops. The other day, we were emailed a list of materials to buy, all stationary and art materials kind of things, which reminded me a lot of back-to-school lists in primary school. All of this is making me freak out a bit because I haven't studied in a creative setting since Visual Arts in high school, and I have no idea what to expect. Perhaps I have no idea of what I'm in for. Although there is a sense of reassurance that I've passed two stages of tasks and interviews to be at this university studying architecture, which means that at least the three people on my interview panel think that I'm capable of getting through whatever will be thrown at me for the next three years.

But I suppose I should also care less about what people think. The next three years will be a learning experience, and the following paragraph will be somewhat of a manifesto to myself - a mental pinch in the arm to stop me from getting stuck in cycles of freaking out. Try new things. Be open to criticism. Be critical of yourself. Compliment yourself. Criticise others. Compliment others. Be open to new people. Academic staff are here to help. Soak in as much as you can. Challenge yourself with new people, new ways of learning, new materials and new machines. Stay on top of everything. Draw out your ideas. It will be okay.