LCI Melbourne graphic and digital design student, Ruby Syme, shares a witty and insightful account into learning from home and remaining creative and connected, during these times.
If you were to tell me last year that I would be spending 2020 sat at a desk in my room, doing a design class via Teams and planning my one outing for later that day, I would have laughed at you.
Well, here we are halfway through the year in that reality and I’m definitely not laughing. Ok, ok, I shouldn’t be too dramatic, there have been a few giggles here and there, as a video stream freezes or a rogue pet knocks something over in the background.
Actually, there was a lot of laughing a week ago when I left my microphone on in class accidentally, only to shout “no stop you idiot!” at a bird that flew into my window. I’ve never seen my teacher look so shocked.
So yes, maybe I take my first few sentences back. I have been laughing (not quite as much or as loudly as usual) but in a time like this, I guess any laughter is pretty fantastic.
It has definitely been an adjustment, going from our Collingwood campus to full-time study at home. While it’s been anything but easy, it has been easier than I first anticipated. This is in no small part due to the amazing staff at LCI, with whom there’s been an unspoken understanding for the craziness us students are going through.
Little things like weekly check-ins and extensions given without us having to ask, have been some of the ways they’ve shown us “we’ve got your back”.
The other thing that’s been getting me through (asides from my 2pm coffee) is making my bed each morning. That’s right, I’ve become the sort of person that makes my bed every day. Now, no shade towards people who were like this before lockdown (in fact I have nothing but absolute admiration for your organised, lives together selves).
Before this year happened, I was of the mindset that there were more important things to be getting on within the day.
Now, it’s these little things like, a neat bed, a workout each morning, several coffees and an afternoon glass of wine that help get me through. In the absence of parties, concerts and other events to look forward to, I’ve had to find excitement in things I once considered mundane.
I’ve also found myself craving a routine, some semblance of normality to help mark my days and the passing of time. To help this, I’ve developed my own schedule, a combination of university classes, coffee breaks and reading or drawing time; which has helped me stay somewhat on track.
It’s not always easy staying focussed though, given the abundance of temptations at home and the fact the snacks are just in the next room.
With the camera off it’s all too easy to take an extended lunch break... but having a sister writing her honours thesis keeps me on track. The furious clacking of keys does wonders for guilting me into doing work. All jokes aside though, having someone else in the house who’s in the same ‘study headspace’ has made it easier to stay in the zone.
I’m glad too because it’s been a massive trimester of work – outside pressures non withstanding!
I’ve had three major projects – a book cover, a logo and label job and a water bottle design – these have kept me very busy. Keeping the creativity flowing for these has been a challenge at times, as my mental space is jam-packed with lockdown worries; but creating art has always been a release for me so the work is almost therapeutic in some ways.
While I’ll be relieved when it’s time to get off this crazy rollercoaster that is 2020, I know I’m extremely lucky to have been ‘stuck’ doing something I love day in day out during lockdown.
It’s a crazy time, but hopefully, if I keep up my routine of making my bed, drinking coffee, and remembering to laugh, I’ll be back sipping Proud Mary’s and sitting less than 1.5 metres away from my classmates before I know it!