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Being so fanatic and anxious about all big changes have made the idea of moving away far too much for me. So after a huge anxiety attack, I decided that I wouldn’t think of moving before it was actually relevant. I didn’t think of it being a big thing when I booked my one-way plane tickets. It was as if I had just taken a pill to prevent fear in general and the pill seems to be working still because I have not had a weeping or panic attack yet. Not even when I lost my wallet on my second day in England, which luckily appeared 2 weeks later, or when I have waved goodbye to Matt. It is as though this was just the complete right decision to make and that I have got luck with me even in my accidents.

I have always been good at building a nest. At an early age, I began to wish for things for when I once moved out. So making new base was no problem. Matt, me and my Norwegian roomie went to IKEA the day after I moved in and bought all the little things that were needed to make my otherwise colourful room neutral. White everywhere, of course! and then I decorated the room for the whole weekend, so when Matt went home I had already settled into my little new home.
Nothing in the room is allowed to be moved around and everything is screwed to either the floor or the wall. I have been one of the lucky ones in halls to have a cream coloured room, while others have blue, neon green-yellow or orange rooms. So all that had to be done was to get rid of the hideous blue flower curtains, the blue bulletin boards and the blue desk chair. I did it with white fabric, a staple and an iron.

The first day at university was like every other first day of school really. With the exception of everything was taught in English and we were called young designers instead of students. The school facilities are amazing and really also the location. 5 minutes by bike from my home and right next to a river, the mouth of the Thames. The teachers are all designers and work or have done, with their own designs besides lecturing which makes a special dynamism between us and them. The university is welcoming and helpful and you feel comfortable and at home on campus. Campus is divided into different areas, for example, my BA has an entire department for itself. Here all years are sharing the space. We are closest to the workshop with all the machines. Right now, we are sharing a studio with the 2nd year students, as the campus is being renovated, but otherwise, you are allowed everywhere. Even if you study graphic design, for example, you can always use the sewing machines the textile designers have in their studio. So everything is available to everyone and there is never a shortage of things because of it.

We are 45 people in my class, all of which have the exact same subjects and lessons. We get the same tasks and do both individual and teamwork. Some lessons are mandatory and for the rest of the time, it is self-chosen how much you will be at school as long as you meet the deadline. We have Design History every Monday from 10-12 and sketching/rendering sessions every Friday 10-14. Otherwise, we will work on the project we have been given. Our first project was to make gliders flying up to 30m. We had 1 week, in pairs, and we could only use steel wire, a soldering iron and household cling film. All the while we had our compulsory lessons. Now we are working on a new project where we will individually make a wood and MDF model of the DAB radio that one of our lecturers once designed, we have 1 month to build it. This project is for the purpose of learning the workshop and showing our properties in the final product. Even though it is individual, we are helping each other a lot!

I already have some close friends in class, but also in my roomies. Especially one I've come very close to, I have myself an extra sister in her. She bosses me around and I boss her around and she makes me feel safe. I have been so afraid to be alone without Matt but I've got her by my side here in England. I know I already have her right by my side.

I find it hard to sleep every day and in the morning I wake up sleepy and snooze my alarm 10 times or more. The Sissel I have been for so many years is not the same right now. Right now, I embrace it as it may change soon but I feel more relaxed than I did for a very long time. I have never before felt so relaxed in my everyday life and in things that happen around me.

 A kind of well-being has been created in being here and even with so many wonderful people around me.

Sissel Gram WarringaComment