Life After University

In June 2017, I officially graduated from the University of Windsor and received my Bachelor of Arts! The degree is still sitting in the envelope, unframed, and resting under my bed because I have yet to go and get it framed. Just before I got my degree, I left Windsor (in May 2017) and moved back in with my dad. Life after university has been new and different.

But it’s been one hell of a year. Let’s review.

In the summer of 2017, I ended a longterm relationship. I also started medication after self-assessing that I have bipolar—which I do! The fall of 2017 saw me take driving lessons as well as attend a mindfulness-based cognitive behavioural therapy program. Winter was rough. But then, in February of 2018, I got my G2 licence, which meant I could drive without a co-driver. Freedom!

This has been the first full year—12 months—that I haven’t been invested on school. Summer break, a few months, didn’t count. I always looked ahead to the next semester. I don’t just mean university, either. Since I started attending educational institutions, I haven’t been out of them for more than three months. Until now.

Life after university: what’s next?

First and foremost, I’ll continue offering editing and design services. I love working with writers so much that I can’t see myself quitting the freelancer gig for a while. But I still don’t know what I’m doing with my life.

I thought I would figure out a path for myself in university. I thought that, if I took lots of different classes in what interested me, I’d find something that would connect. My degree had a lot of variety in it. Since I studied Spanish language, linguistics and second language learning, English literature, and creative writing, there were many careers I could go into. But none of them seemed to pull me in.

All through university, I kept telling myself and my friends, “I should have gone to art school.” So I’ve applied to an 8-month art program at a college. I hope I get in, but that means even more life changes. Moving again, not having a house to fall back on since my dad is moving too, and embarking on a separate industry.

Who would have thought that life after university meant considering more post-secondary school? School that wasn’t a graduate degree. I want to go to college! It’s what I should have done from the start! I kind of regret my bachelor’s degree, but I know it was still very valuable. Both the experiences and the credential are beneficial to me. But it isn’t what I thought I would do after high school.

It’s weird to not be in school, considering I’ve grown up in school all through my developmental years. Isn’t that ridiculous to think about? From around the age of 4 until 18, and further, I’ve been structured into a school system of some form. I’m scared as hell. It’s common for people my age to not know what their purpose is. It’s also common to take a while to figure out my “place” in life. I’m worried I’ll never figure it out, and that I’ll always be looking for the next thing. So I don’t know what’s next, aside from the possibility—and desire—to return to school once more.

Month In Review: November 2017

November is come and gone. I’ve still felt withdrawn, but less introspective than I did at the start of the month.

A celebration: I released my poetry collection! You can find it on Amazon, but here’s a page with all the links where you can buy it in Kindle and paperback formats!

A change: The sun is setting before 5PM and I’m so annoyed.

A conflict: The weather has been so up and down lately! I haven’t been comfortable running when I want to because of how cold it’s gotten.

A relief: I purchased winter running gear (long-sleeve sport tech shirt and a windbreaker) that have been phenomenal at keeping me dry and warm.

A regret: No blogging this month. Barely any editing, too.

A random memory: I shared something in therapy and was awestruck by how everyone validated my feelings about what I shared. It was nice.

I’m struggling to manage all the projects I want to do, but the website is something I’m aiming to revamp soon, including the blog. I’ll probably start the new year with a different theme and blogging routine. Same goes for my editing services. I’m revamping what I offer once 2018 comes around. I plan not to blog through December, but I’ll be sure to finish the year off with both month and year in review posts.

How To Be An Untidy Student

This week, I return to university… for the last time.

I’m so excited. I can’t wait to be done. But before I go, I want to impart some wisdom. (Anyone who knows me even remotely should know that “arrogant” indeed applies to me.

If you’re a student—whether a first year/freshman, grad student, or in between—there’s always more to learn. After all, you wouldn’t still be in this institution if you didn’t believe that to some extent, right? I’ll be posting these types of post during my last semester, and probably in the months before I graduate in June, in the hopes that someone will find something useful.

I have lived all of my university experience off-campus and I would not have it any other way. My first year, I moved 5 hours away to live with some strangers in a house. Most of my tips will apply to people living off-campus. Based on my experience, and the experiences of some peers, I would strongly suggest you find somewhere other than campus residence to live if you’re independent or introverted.

Anyway! Here we go! How to be untidy!

I pride myself on being a relatively tidy person. We can’t be at our 100% best 100% of the time. Sometimes I fall prey to these things, but most of the time, I don’t. Being a tidy person requires constant maintenance. Entropy is the main factor in untidiness. Idleness is not tidiness.

Untidy: Put things in the nearest spot.

I’ll find it again eventually, right? There aren’t many places for that receipt to fall, and all of my laundry is piled up in the same spot, so a t-shirt should be in there, too. I know it’s around somewhere, so I’ll look for it when I need it.

Tidy: Give everything a place.

I put my backpack on one section of the floor near my desk. I know where it is when I need it and I know where it goes when I don’t need it. I haven’t given it a pedestal, a door, a box, or a hook. I’ve given it somewhere to park itself. It’s not pretty or elegant, but it’s functional.

Untidy: Scramble to do everything in the mornings.

My keys are on my dresser, I can do my hair after I shower, and I’m pretty sure I’ve written a to-do list for my errands. I may sleep late tomorrow morning, or I may wake up to my alarm’s first call. I’ll have enough time, and I can speed up or skip certain things in case I run behind schedule.

Tidy: Reset your space at night.

For my evenings before I go to bed, I have to hit a certain number of areas. If I have classes, I prepare my bag for the next day and sometimes leave notes to get other things that I can’t get yet or will be using before putting in my bag. I wash my face, and brush and floss my teeth. After I check the weather, I pick an outfit for the next day and put it on my dresser, since that’s the designated spot. I do a general tidy-up to make sure things are in their places—this covers my dresser, my desk, and all the laundry that is inevitably lying on the floor or in my closet (and not in hampers—which is the laundry’s place). I check my planner and put in everything I need. The mornings are a lot easier when my environment and my mind and body are reset at night.

Untidy: Don’t wash OR put away dishes

Okay, I don’t have a reality for where this would make sense. There is no way I can rationalise leaving dirty dishes lying around. Clean dishes, sure, but dirty ones? Gross. Gross. Gross.

Tidy: If there are clean dishes, put them away.

If I need to wash dishes, I decide on a point in time that day to wash them. I don’t say “tomorrow morning” or “when I have time.” I pick “while dinner is cooking” or “before I head upstairs for the night.” Part of my nightly reset is making sure I’ve cleaned up as much as I can so I don’t have to deal with it the next day. Admittedly, I do leave my dirty dishes, but I have a rule of not leaving them for more than 24 hours. I also rinse any dishes if I know I’m leaving them for a while. Scrubbing dried food and sauce is the bane of dishwashing.

Also, if there are clean dishes, get them out of the way. They’re clean, but they aren’t in their place.

Untidy: Assume you have time.

I’ll be able to get everything done. Studying for an hour really is one hour, so that leaves me many more hours for other things. Might as well allocate time for everything, right?

Tidy: You never have enough time.

I won’t be able to get everything done in the span of time I think I’ll get it done. Sometimes I finish something sooner than I thought I would. Sometimes I finish something way later than I thought I would. I often bump tasks from one day’s to-do list to the next day’s to-do list. I’ve given myself enough time to buffer for the fact that I don’t have enough time. (This tidy tip is also known as “plan ahead” because giving yourself more time to make up for not having enough time means you need to think into the future.)

Becoming tidier and more organised isn’t easy. It takes effort. But so does everything in life. If something matters to you, you’ll put in the effort to care for it. If you care about yourself, you’ll take care of yourself. Relationships. Bedrooms. Clothes.

If it matters, it needs maintenance.

Month In Review: August 2016

Thin wooden boards with contrasting light and dark brown colouring.

August was a hard month. It always is. I hate August. It and February are the two chunks of the year where I want to skip and go to the next level. I’ve always felt bitter about this month, since I’d rather be in school, I hate summer, and I am a very impatient person. And ever since my brother died in 2011, it’s been harder. From July 24 to August 26, I’m reminded of the quick transition between life and death—the anniversary of his death on the 24th, and his birthday on the 26th.

I’d rather sleep through August.

Here are some of my favourite posts from this month:

A single adjective for August was depressed

Because that’s how I felt for the bulk of this month. I think it was in part because I went off my hormonal birth control for 6 weeks, and also because… well, because I have depression. The birth control helps. I can’t wait to be back on it at the start of September.

In September, I look forward to

  • My boyfriend moving in with me.
  • The start of my final semester in university.
  • Finishing my WIP (I will 100% make this a priority, even if I’m in school).
  • Starting a new bullet journal—the notebook should arrive in the mail this week, and I’m so so excited to 1) review it; and 2) showcase my new set-up.

I’m planning on including some university living posts for my final semester. I’ve experienced enough post-secondary life to impart some wisdom, especially when it does not relate to “decorate your dorm” or other on-campus living. I didn’t go that route, and I’m so fucking glad I didn’t. There will also be more bullet journal posts, I promise. With my new set-up that I have planned, there will be spotlights on individual spreads.

Autumn, I await your easy company.

Month In Review August 2016