return to college: year one.

(Please note the chiaroscuro on my right arm. Learning that word cost me at least
$700, so pardon my smartie-pants comment. Just trying to get my money's worth!)

As my heels clicked down the 52 stairs of the Applied Arts building, I felt strangely as if I were leaving a bit of my heart behind, an emotion for which I cannot say I was prepared. My finals were complete, summer was seconds away. And yet it was like saying goodbye to someone going on a long term journey; I'd see this place again in time, but it and I were sure to change, and I would never again feel for it as I did in this one moment.

Silly, I know. All that for a building.

Reaching the bottom of the stairs, I pushed open the door to the outside and it came in a sudden crashing wave: I had done it. My first year back at college.While to others this might not seem like an achievement--it's something millions of 18 year olds do every year-- I'd entered with so many doubts. Doubts about my creativity, wondering if I was truly a creative individual. Fears that the financial burden of living alone, paying tuition, the cost of daily commutes and supply expenses would become too much. But mostly, worries that my depression would slink back in, robbing me of the energy and creativity I'd felt when I decided to return to school. And it had. There were days in which my depression was present...and every brushstroke, every minuscule creative expenditure seemed like an exhausting uninspired effort. But most days, I forced myself to choose creative growth. Because after all, it is what I want.

Being an insecure girl, I don't naturally believe I can do things. It takes time...and pushing before I finally grasp the concept that I could really, truly do something. And in so many ways, within the walls of that building I had been pushed. Pushed to stick to it, to give more, pushed to dream a little further. And finally, at nearly 24, I'm beginning to believe it: I can do something. Not just an arbitrary something to fill my days, but a "something" with depth and purpose to fill my heart.

In future years, during exhausted or uninspired days, I'll return to this moment, this euphoric sense of achievement over a seemingly small accomplishment. I'll return and imagine how exponentially fulfilling it will be when after days, weeks, semesters of choosing my education over lack of inspiration and depression, after a few more years of believing that I can do something...I will finally hold the degree for which I'll have fought so entirely.

I am still beaming at the thought. :)


  1. You are such an inspiration! Congrats!!!

  2. I remember your post about going back to school, and all the worries and doubts you had. But here you are, at the end of your first year. You did it!

    I am so proud of you.

  3. awesome. i am really proud of you beth! you are going to be a rock star designer and you seriously need to come over and exercise all of your creative achievements in my house. pleeease.

  4. congratulations! it's been exciting to watch your progression over the year - you are fabulous!

  5. congratulations, well done. I'm glad that you are taking a moment to recognize your hard work and the strength that it took to achieve your goals. xox

  6. Congratulations - you should be over the moon and deserve to be for all the hard work you have put in.


  7. so inspiring! congrats! And I love your pretty shirt!

  8. Thanks for sharing the lesson on chiaroscuro with us, for free! Your generosity is matched only by the luminance of your character and observations. Congratulations on finishing your first year with everything intact.


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