“I didn’t know anyone could see it,” Samuel said.  “You know, Lee, I think of my life as a kind of music, not always good music but still having form and melody.  And my life has not been a full orchestra for a long time now.  A single note only – and that note unchanging sorrow.  I’m not alone in my attitude, Lee.  It seems to me that too many of us conceive of a life as ending in defeat.”

John Steinbeck, East of Eden (1952, Chapter 24)

Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better.

Albert Camus, French philosopher, author, and journalist (1913-1960)

IMAGE CREDIT: Pinterest

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Taking sartorial risks and not following other people is what makes you stand out.

Zac Posen, American fashion designer (1980-present)

A few months ago, my school hosted a fashion entrepreneurship and networking event.  In theory, this was a wonderful opportunity, but the actual event wasn’t as useful as advertised.  However, I won’t deny that this event was somewhat helpful.  I had the chance to talk to people in various parts of the fashion industry, ranging from entrepreneurship to PR to finance.

The panel members and guest speaker all repeated variations of the same sentiment in regard to working in fashion.  Everyone said it is an extremely cutthroat and competitive field, though they were few lucky ones who were at the right place at the right moment.  For them, this “coincidence” contributed greatly to their success, as well as their pride to return to their alma mater to talk about this.

I had an issue with their words because general statements like these are simply just useless pieces of advice for anyone, regardless of industry.

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When asked what I want to be, I always say, “a successful fashion designer and businesswoman like Coco [Chanel].”  Despite the wishful nature of my career goal, I have no reservations, nor do I have a starry look in my eyes that success will come easy to me, let alone launch my own fashion house.  I am well-aware of my numerous disadvantages when trying to break into the fashion world, though it is a double-edge sword, as I do have some unique advantages.

My Bachelor of Science in Mathematics if very far off from the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design, or other similar degrees that many notable fashion designers have.  I do get the value in a fashion degree because there are things that you can only learn in school.  Colleges teach students discipline, which include a good foundation in the basics of creating apparel and accessories.

Going to fashion school is also extremely beneficial beyond the classroom.  It helps with creating connections in the fashion industry, as most fields, even finance and entertainment, are heavily reliant on a good word of mouth to get you the much-needed exposure towards achieving your dreams.  Teachers and peers can help each other meet potential employees, like seamstresses who can work in-house to create your sample, or introduce you to fashion magazines that can do print work featuring your stuff.

While I haven’t reached the point where I have launched my fashion house or shown in New York Fashion Week, I wouldn’t call my college choices deal breakers to make it big in fashion.  Interestingly, my choice in major has greatly contributed to my creativity, as well as my focus on detail – two skills that are valuable when designing.  You may not believe me when I say this, but the most creative people in this world are those in love with understanding numbers.

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Besides the creative aspect of a successful fashion line, it’s also important to understand that an atelier is also a business.  It’s great when high fashion designers create covetable pieces that the cream of the crop (i.e. Hollywood actors and actresses, socialites, etc.) are fighting on line to wear.  However, to sustain a brand in a world where you’re not the only talented designer creating desirable apparel, you have to keep in mind that you’re a business that also runs on generating revenue.

Looking at the business side of a fashion house, there are many things that go into running a good business.  These include a good HR department, possibly a team of in-house lawyers, a marketing team, a finance department, as well as many more.  Without these things, yes, you can make great clothes, but you can also rack up tons of lawsuits from employees and former employees that can drive you and your business to bankruptcy.

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Thanks to my choice to attend an arts and science college, I get to meet lawyers who know about fashion law, experience the day in the life of startup businesses, as well as learn how to maximize on numbers, so as to generate sales that count.  Obviously, a great deal of college is what you make of it.  Through my choice, I was able to befriend lifelong friends of various majors who may possibly be future employees at my fashion house.  I know that if I need an accountant to keep a close eye on funds, as well as a marketing expert who can bring in models and actresses as the brand representative, I have a plethora of friends to pick from (happy emoji).

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In the end of the day, don’t get too bogged down when you have trouble achieving your dreams.  Not going down a traditional route to realize those dreams may actually be a blessing in disguise.  And don’t be afraid of asking questions or grabbing opportunities just because you’re scared of rejection.  You’re bound to get rejected, regardless of your career path.  It’s never too early to become acquainted to the bitter taste of rejection, so that you can truly understand the determination it takes to make things work.  While it would be nice to have a smooth sailing from the day you created your dream to the day it’s finally realized, that’s not how life works, unless you have a genie.

xoxo,

the girl who’s going to create a successful atelier like how the tortoise won the race

IMAGE CREDIT: Michael Hazzard Photography

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“You must excuse my gruff conduct,” the watchdog said, after they’d been driving for some time, “but you see it’s traditional for watchdogs to be ferocious.”

Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth (1961)

On a rare visit to Facebook, I came across an article, “26 Time Management Hacks I Wish I’d Known at 20” on Business Insider.  To be precise, it isn’t really an article, but just a list of screenshots sharing Étienne Garbugli’s SlideShare presentation, in which he creatively shared tips he wished he had known when he was younger.  These hacks range from how productive we actually are in a day, to how to maximize on communication in a busy day.

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As a person in my (early) 20s, I wouldn’t call myself a master at time management, though I would love to call myself that.  How can I call myself such, when procrastination has a “tendency” of becoming my best friend? 😅

Since I am the age that Garbugli’s targeting his presentation to, I want to share my list of tips that I wish I had known in my teens, going into high school.  Middle school was a breeze, where it didn’t matter if you procrastinated or not because the work load was so light and deadlines were always at the end of the year.  High school was an abrupt wakeup call because my middle school habits were no longer viable and my new school’s environment didn’t allow it.

In a matter of months, I was thrust into a quasi-college setting, where no one cared about where they were, but where they were going to be at the end of the four years and beyond.  Looking back, I regret those four years so much because I was so underprepared and now these effects are harming the future that I’m currently living in.

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Here are the time management hacks and other life hacks I wish I had known in my teen years:

  1. Four years may seem like a long time, but it really isn’t. High school is nothing like the things you’ve seen in every 90s-teen movie, and sadly, you probably won’t get to have those experiences.
  2. Make your digital calendar or planner your best friends, with obnoxious reminders because deadlines will always creep up on you, especially when you take multiple AP classes in a year, on top of your extracurricular activities.
  3. Instead of thinking about trying to find time to play games, think about how to cram in more sleep because. In college, you’ll regret your decision when you’re not in peak condition, after four years of abusing your youth.
  4. Truthfully, high school’s just part one of your undergrad years, while college’s part two. Basically, you’re in college for at least eight years, more if you decide to go to professional school too, so every grade counts.
  5. Try to plan your hangouts with friends around your extracurricular activities because it’s an easy way to kill multiple birds with one stone. You get to spend time with your friends, explore your mutual hobbies, save money, and write on your college applications that you were involved in various activities that you love/have grown to love.
  6. Join the sports teams that you were involved in and passionate about during your middle school days – soccer and dance are just two easy ways to get your daily workouts and it really pads your college apps.
  7. Office hours are amazing. It’s an easy way to befriend your teachers outside of the class(es) that you’re taking with them and practice your interpersonal skills with people older than you, a precursor to meeting hiring managers.  Also, you never know if they may end up being lifelong friends!
  8. Boys will come and go, so don’t worry about finding your true love in high school. After all, you want to marry a man, not a boy, right? 😉
  9. Read as much as you can because there are so many beautiful pieces out there. You won’t have enough time to enjoy them when you’re older, and reading is one of the keys to success.
  10. Schedule time away from technology, even if it seems counterintuitive to productivity. Technology’s a crucial part of society, but migraines are no one’s best friend.
  11. Whenever you have an idea, write it down. You never know when that idea can blossom into something great, so save it!
  12. Don’t give up and procrastinate when you don’t understand something; just work on something else. You may find yourself inspired to solve the problem you were stuck on while you do something else.
  13. Have a part time job so you can get work experience and cash. Surprisingly, it’s expensive to be a high schooler, especially in NYC and it’s embarrassing to ask your parents for money all the time.
  14. Don’t excuse missing out on opportunities on your personality. Everyone’s scared of rejection, and regardless of getting the opportunity or not, having a backbone’s invaluable.
  15. Try things on your own. Friends and family are safety blankets, but they also prevent you from realizing your true potential, so go out in the wild and create some unique memories.

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Honestly, I could go on and on about the things I wish I could have done right when I was a teenager, but it’s better to leave some things unsaid.  Life’s about growing from the mistakes you made, so if I had a solution for everything, I’ve defeated the purpose of living.

For a person who loves perfection, I know that we aren’t meant to be perfect.  Hence, we shouldn’t kill ourselves with stress trying to make everything right, then forgetting to live.  It’s important to focus on the small details, but don’t forget that they’re part of a bigger picture, and not every detail will show when you take a step back.

xoxo,

the girl who regrets her high school years, but hopes that they won’t matter when she’s older

IMAGE CREDIT: On Point with Tom Ashbrook

Fashion is a dream.  It’s difficult, and there are many aspects of fashion that are very difficult, but if you love it like I do, because I really have a passion, now, for fashion, it’s not easy, but nothing is easy in life.

Carolina Herrera, Venezuelan-American fashion designer (1939-present)

IMAGE CREDIT: PUIG

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When he died, all things soft and beautiful and bright would be buried with him.

Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles (2011)

I feel like everyone has spent a sleepless night scrolling through Buzzfeed, taking quizzes, watching videos, and reading lists.  One of these was Michelle Regna’s “28 Profoundly Beautiful Quotes About Life and Death,” a compilation of community suggested quotes.

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I noticed that the quotes Regna chose shared a similar theme – finding peace after death because death is but a step in life’s journey.  I have a problem with that because we don’t need to define death in such a way; we try to make sense of death in a positive way, so as to feel better about our mortality.  For some reason, humans have trouble reconciling with the fact that their time on earth is finite, when we get so frustrated at times and irrational numbers that have no finite solution.

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Why do we waste so much time thinking about our inevitable end when living’s already stressful?  Why should we put more stress on ourselves thinking about how it’ll all end?  Maybe it’s because of my age or because of my proactive personality, but I don’t understand why we’re so obsessed with thinking about death.

For example, when a person dies, we generally attend their funeral.  At their funeral, we always talk about how much we will miss them, how much they impacted our lives, etc.  Rarely do people talk about the deceased feelings because funerals have become perverted to a competition to see who loved the deceased the most.  Whoever has the largest funeral is almost like the winner of that disgusting competition.

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In a way, we don’t have our priorities straight.  We have a tunnel vision towards the end of the tunnel, a door that signifies death, and past it, a continuation of our supposed journey.  However, to reach that door, we have to walk towards it first.  We all seem to forget that fact; we’re so occupied about the life after death.

I know that I’m young and unexperienced in many things that one experiences in life, but I do know that living’s stressful, and thinking about death is just as stressful, so do yourself a favor and just think about what you need to do at this moment.

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As seen in my other late night musings, I’m no stranger to stress.  I get stressed out when I’m not stressed over something because my brain thinks that something isn’t right.  I’m not trying to say that you should all live anally like me, but we’re young.  We should be focused on realizing our dreams, and if you don’t have one, go out in the world and find something that ignites you.  Don’t rest until you find something that gets you going because nothing’s worse than thinking about death than to waste your time just sitting down and regretting about the things that could have been.

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I know that this may sound all over the place, but I hope there’s some semblance to a motivational speech.  Carpe diem and blah blah blah because there’s seven billion people on earth, and we should all have the chance to have our fifteen minutes of fame (hopefully the good kind of fame).  Also, this is scheduled for a Monday posting, which may seem a bit odd because I’m starting off the week serious, but we’ll be fine.  Sometimes we all need a dose of reality, right?

xoxo,

the girl who is too busy about living to think about death

IMAGE CREDIT: Mind Over Food