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Inspiration

I haven’t been very well for the last few weeks and I’m so sick of this gloomy Melbourne Winter weather that I’m dreaming of travelling again. Truth be told, my mind is always on travelling but the travel bug is getting stronger and I thought I’d spend this morning listing places I’ve been thinking about for a while now.

California

1. California

I’ve been to California before but it was brief. During my brief stay last year, I fell in love with the weather and the chill and relaxed nature of its inhabitants. I only had one day in LA, two days in San Diego, one day in San Francisco and two days at Bass Lake and hiked in Yosemite National Park. I especially want road trip along the coast, find solace at Salvation Mountain, see Audrey Kawasaki‘s work in her own hometown, hug Mickey at Disneyland and explore Little Saigon.

Paris

2. Paris

Parisian culture and lifestyle has always intrigued me. I’ll definitely smell flowers in Monet’s Garden, take the mandatory Eiffel Tower photos, smile at Mona Lisa at the Louvre and munch on croissants in St Germaine. It’s a place I know I will love everything about!

Japan

3. Japan

Everyone is always surprised when I say that I have never been to Japan. It’s an assumption many friends have made because I was a huge Japanese fangirl back in my teenage years and I love Japanese food. I’ll be taken away into the imagination of the Studio Ghibli museum and the ‘kawaii-ness’ of Sanrio Puroland but that will ease as I will reach zen as I relax in my own onset at a Japanese style inn.

Iceland

4. Blue Lagoon, Iceland

I dislike the cold but something about this place draws me in. The contradiction of its existence and its beauty. It’s also only 39 km from Reykjavik and its quaint colourful houses is like an illustration from a children’s book!

Hungary

5. Hungary

I honestly do not know much about Hungary but Eastern Europe has been calling out to me for a long time. Something about not knowing exactly what the language sounds like, what kind of food, what kind of sights to see is so alluring. One thing for sure it is a beautiful place.

Western Australia

6. Pink Lake, Western Australia

Something closer to home for me. Who knew a lovely natural wonder is just two states away? Possible road trip!

Greece

7. Greece

Sun baking on the white beaches; sipping cocktails on a little boat and dipping into the azure waters and walking amongst the remnants of civilisations past. The colours of this place just make me smile.

New York

8. New York City

Of course. I’ve been there twice on solo trips and love it even more each time.

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I’d be lying if I was saying that this ‘chasing your dreams’ thing is super easy. It’s like I’m re-writing the last 7-8 years of my life because unfortunately there’s no smooth transition from Designer to Doctor. I have to start from the beginning and climb through the ladder of employment. Hey I look at my work as a doctor fondly and rather proudly, but damn it is hard doing all this all again and it’s very different too!

Suddenly I’m caught between two worlds. I’m knocking on the door of design employment hoping to get noticed and it’s hard not to feel ignore or left out when amongst my med buddies or friends who are in stable careers. But I’m chipping away…

Since graduation I’ve done a 2 week intern stint at a Design studio and despite the short duration I’ve learnt a lot about the technical and logistical issues which one does not learn in school. In between work and currently I’ve been scouting out for more internships or junior positions and entering design competitions and signing up to workshops to learn more skills.

It’s a hard industry to get your feet into and seeing my friends’ Facebook updates about progressing in their careers and being amazing doctors has made it hard as I’m feeling I’m falling behind the pack. I could be a Medical Registrar or GP Registrar, but then I heard this great quote from an ex-Neurosurgeon on Project Runway, “I could do something I’m good at but I’d rather do something I’m passionate about.”

I took this year off to give this Design dream a good crack. I need to keep reminding myself to keep at it!

 

 

 

When I was looking for a place to study Graphic Design I had a specific list of criteria:

1. Duration: Having studied Medicine for 5 years, I didn’t really want to endure another 3 years stuck in university sitting in a lecture. I wanted a course which was not too long but also used its time effectively. Also I had given myself a year off to see how chasing my dreams will go and I wanted to see what real life design was like, not just in a classroom.

2. Real life application: What made my Medical School really good was that it was very practical. Third year into the course we were moved into the hospital system and learnt while we worked, hence when I became an Intern I didn’t struggle as much as the kids who spent more time at uni. I wanted a design course to be like that. Set it up like life in a studio and also be up to date with the current design trends, not just focus on one thing and make you sign up for another course to do another component.

3. No prior experience: It was immensely frustrating to find courses which required previous experience. You needed a portfolio and to pass an interview to get in. I understand that’s necessary for some but it made it difficult for people who were looking for a change like me.  People who dreamed of designing but never got a chance because of other commitments or life pressures.

Then I stumbled across Shillington College. I was at a Design market about a year and a half ago and stumbled across their stall. The old style portfolios with works in plastic sleeves laid out on wooden tables. I flipped through them, amazed by the work, received a cute typography tote and then walked away. Few months later I purchased a Computer Arts magazine and their ad was on one of the pages- I googled them. They were my perfect fit!

It then took me several months of thinking and over thinking and encouragement of friends before I applied. I applied about a month before the course started! I admit it is on the pricey side, however I do not regret this investment one bit. I still remember my first day, anxiously standing in the excruciatingly slow elevator to arrive on level 9. Walking through the white hallway and being greeted by two excited and colourful individuals- my extremely talented teachers and feeling less nervous. The classroom is like a studio, clean white walls, teacher’s computer and projector at the front and 4 lines of wooden desks with MAC computers for each student. At the back there’s a library and comfy couches and a mini kitchen. From there we could see the city as we were 9 levels up and smack bang in the hub of lane ways, design studios and boutiques.

Everyone learns differently and in this case Shillington was the perfect fit for me. I highly recommend researching and getting a hold of Computer Arts Student Handbook- The definitive guide to breaking into the industry. It lists the many ways you can learn design and the pros and cons of each avenue.

Good luck!

Hiya! I know it’s been 3-4 months and everything looks so different on the world-wide web! As some of you may know from my last last post, I have completed a Certificate IV in Design. YAYAY! It was absolutely amazing- creating art everyday was a dream come true. I never thought I’d wake up in the morning (I’m not a morning person) and be excited. Packed into three months with two talented teachers at the helm we blitzed through theory, design software and briefs (30+ briefs in 3 months!). The experience was also heightened by being surrounded by 21 like-minded individuals, despite our varying backgrounds- pharmacists, musicians, marketing majors, architects, fashion designers, event planners, we all wanted the same thing… to create beautiful and meaningful work.

It was far more busy than I expected, I was planning to sign up to Japanese classes but after the first few weeks that thought was pushed for another time. After spending 9 hours a day sitting in front of a computer and letting our creativity go to the max, all I wanted to do when I got home was shut my eyes. I thought talking medicine and seeing medicine was bad, but now my senses cannot escape bad kerning or leading. Haha. However, this course has made me view the world differently, instead of seeing design as “good or bad”, I see it’s meaning. It may not be my taste but I appreciate it for its concept and handwork the designer put into it and the world has become more beautiful because of that.

It’s been 3-4 weeks since I graduated and I admit it’s been hard sitting at home with no teacher or class mate pushing you on. I’ve never been not working or learning so having this lull is rather uncomfortable. However I took this year for a reason- to chase my dreams and to get organised, so I have..

Ah it’s so nice to be writing again :)

One of the main concerns I had for taking a year off work was the amount of “free time” I’d have. I’m a creature who relied heavily on work for distraction; distraction from relationship woes, finances, cleaning and most importantly, distraction from the voice inside my head. I could easily see myself slipping into a couch potato and wallowing in my thoughts and potato crisps and chocolate.

So I made a vow that this time off was going to be a productive one. In one a half weeks I’ll be a full-time student again, but from now until then I don’t want to be on the couch. So from day 1 I took out my spanking new 2014 Moleskine and wrote a “To Do List” everyday. It’s day 4 and it’s so far so good. A short list of small tasks and goals; something as simple as “organise a dinner for Friday night” or “pay phone bill” or “organise my make up” is perfect.  I have about 4-5 tasks a day ranging from quick phone calls, 30 minute work outs to 2 hours of cleaning. I try to be specific and not put all the horrible chores in one day or I’ll never get out of bed to do it!

Of course it’s not all about “doing chores and tasks”- this will bore one to death! Take time to indulge in what you enjoy; I’ve watched Naruto, snapped photos, sketched, watched TV and gone out with friends these last few days. You can also put them on your “To Do List” too! After all it is my time off, so besides catching up on long-lost “things to do”, it’s also time to catch up on those passions and hobbies which have been missed.

So if you’re like me who needs a little kick-start, a “To Do List” puts direction in my day and crossing off those tasks gives a sense of achievement, even it’s only little.

A Year Off Medicine

So I took the plunge and I’m taking a year off Medicine. After 5 years in University and 2 years working in the hospital I’ve taken the plunge… I’m taking a year off Medicine.

This has been mulling in my mind ever since I graduated from Medical school and it wasn’t until mid Residency where I gained the courage to not reapply for a job. It was unnerving to watch my colleagues proceed to the next step in their professional careers and to talk excitedly about their professional plans for 2014, however I stuck to my guns. I would regret not taking this year off and persuing a long-term dream, than regret taking a year out of my Medical career.

In December last year I finally gained the courage (with the encouragement of friends) to submit my application into a Design Course at a private college. I had had the form filled out for several months but was too scared to send it and had countless excuses such as “What if I’m not good enough at design?” “What if I hate it?” “What if I waste all this money and it all fails?” But they were all excuses which stemmed from fear and the alternative choice would have be enduring another year of wishing I had just given it a go.

So this year I’m really open to any opportunity. I will be commencing a full time 3 month accelerated Graphic Design course in two weeks. It’s really the perfect course for me. There’s no experience needed- all the other students will be in the same position as me-persuing a passion, dream or possibly a career change. It’s short and comprehensive and reflective of the “real world”- the work is based on briefs and by the end of the 3 months I’ll have a portfolio! Very exciting!

After those 3 months I plan to travel and I have my eyes on the Mediterranean or East Europe and after that I’ll pick up some locum Doctor jobs.

The last few months have been tough and I’ve been going through a lot of learning curves and re-learning curves. In October I took some time off work due to illness and then had my annual leave.

For my annual leave I went on a holiday which I had organised earlier this year (who knew I would find myself in a position where I might need to cancel a trip because of illness) however my friends and doctors advised me to go thinking it would be the best thing. It was.

For 11 days I cruised along the West Coast of the United States of America in a coach with 50 other travellers from around the world. Everyday was a new experience, with new sights, facts, experiences and people. I was excited to wake up in the morning even if it meant I only had 3 hours sleep the night before. The sunshine, the backdrop, the people- it was just what I needed to give me a boost. Then I moved onto Oaxaca, Mexico where I met aa new group of travellers and joined in on the festivities of the Day of the Dead festival. Mind-blowing. Looking back it feels like a dream. There was a sense of madness and magic in the air which I can’t quite comprehend. To end the 3 weeks, I retreated to NYC. I was in NYC last year and I just wanted to go back to a place I was familiar with and experience it more as a “local.” It suited perfectly because the 3 weeks had worn me out more than I thought . I spent my days wandering downtown, dining at cute cafes, shopping and returning to my little hotel for an early night and indulging in reality TV.

I’ll definitely post more of my experiences, but I guess from meeting all those amazing people in my travels; I befriended 18 to 80 year olds; students to art teachers to cab drivers to music producers, that it made me realise that there was no race in life. We spend so much time comparing and wishing we forget about the big picture.

Before this break I felt stagnant and that I was going no where in life and that nothing had changed. But when talking to younger travellers on my trip I realised I had changed. I may not have the obvious husband, house or sure career but I have grown up and every day I learn something more about myself. I am different to the girl I was at 16, 21 and even last year! And it doesn’t stop there as I have noticed with the older travellers- we’re constantly evolving and finding ourselves. There’s no right path and sometimes we create a path we didn’t know we needed like for me and these last few months.

There’s no shame in falling. There’s no shame in making mistakes or making the same mistake several times before you get the message. It’s all part of the experience. If you’re constantly comparing yourself to your inner circle you’ll forget the world around you. It’s much bigger than you realise. One day at a time. One moment at a time. It’s going to be a hell of a journey from here.