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Senior Self-Care Semester

I’m (finally) in the home stretch of my academic career! It’s been a long journey, and I can’t wait to go start my own life outside the limitations of this medium-sized liberal arts school in the middle of nowhere. More importantly, I am so close to starting my career as a professional graphic designer, which I have been working toward since age nine.

Going into this semester, I took some time to consider how I wanted this final semester to play out. I’ll be working on my senior degree project (not to mention two other classes and my on-campus internship) for the next 13 weeks, and I wanted to make sure I was putting my best effort forward despite the stress of it all. I realize I’m at a pivotal point in my life and I want to make everything count. My design process is very efficient and very thorough, but often at the end of a project I am dissatisfied and feel like my design could be so much more; this final project should be different. My degree project will be something I present with pride and it should reflect only my very best and deepest efforts; I’m willing to put all of myself into it this semester.

On top of my heavy classes, I am also doing a ton of work on my portfolio, adding personal passion projects and reconsidering the pieces that I chose to include last semester. For the past three weeks, almost all of my free time has been devoted to designs, mockups, Behance projects, and process posts. It’s been exhausting mentally, but I am extremely motivated to continue bettering my work before I put myself in front of potential employers. Some nights I ache to sit back and watch Star Wars but I know my time is better invested in work right now.

Through all of this, though, I know it’s important to keep my mental health in a good place. Even just being in Oxford puts a strain on me, and throw in a busy schedule of classes, work, homework, and radio exec duties on top of that and it is a bit overwhelming to function. Having a good work-life balance is extremely important to me, and that’s a vital factor as I consider job offers in the near future. Although I’ve been working very hard all day every day, I consciously make sure to stop working around 9:30PM, shut off my computer, and do some yoga before heading to bed. Making time for myself beyond the computer screen is so rewarding and serves as a good reminder that life shouldn’t always be about work. Taking care of myself will only help, not hurt, my design work and thought process.

All that being said, at the end of the semester I’ll be excited to look back at everything I’ve accomplished in the last four years (especially in my last fifteen weeks!). Here’s to making it through my senior year in one piece — and without pulling any all-nighters!

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