by - 7:37:00 PM

Another major leave of absence and it is with good reason. We are entering our 5th and final week of Brand Challenge (Vega School of Brand Leadership). Possibly one of the best varsity experiences - it involves hard graft and lots fun, it challenges you to work in a group, work on a real client, break out of your comfort zone, apply what you have learnt, challenge what you think you know and forces you to take a leap of faith - in yourself and others. 

Best of all……. it makes you laugh - all the time!

Last year I made new, amazing friends who I am beyond grateful to have in my life. This year I have had the most dedicated, hard working, enthusiastic and hilarious group and I would not have changed a thing about this brand challenge or having them as my group members.

I experienced what it means to work in a team, like a real real real team. To have strategy and creative work side by side, to watch people stretch themselves, to have team members sit with the group and support them, even when their own tasks are complete, until the early hours of the morning. Nothing more exhausting and satisfying that leaving campus at 2am in the morning.  Nothing more bizarre than having a day when you do leave campus early because you haven't in so long. Our group hooked up a coffee machine, bar fridge and a variety of daily ritual that are a constant laugh. Our group chat is active 7 days a week, if it's not filled with work it's filled with banter.

I have not seen the inside of a gym properly in more than 5 weeks. I have eaten everything and anything, mainly chocolate and monks. I have laughed so hard it hurts, cried from exhaustion and laughed and cried at the same time. I have challenged myself in every possible way and I have loved every second of it. 

However, I have learnt I need to create more balance, more routine, and more skill in managing my time and my life. Find an exercise plan that is sustainable no matter how busy I am, prep lunch and dinners, make smart choices, make time for loved ones, for myself, for my work load, for a lot more yoga. Its all about juggling and I am hoping to figure it out and get the ball rolling soon

I am a sensitive soul. It is who I am and always will be. I believe it makes me a more loving empathetic person and I am learning that sensitive is not a negative word. Not everyone will like me, get on with me, agree with me etc etc. and that is perfectly fine. I have learnt that not everything is meant hurtfully, that people are passionate and heated, and express themselves differently which is an incredible thing.

I have learnt to listen. I am trying to listen more and really hear what people are saying.

I have learnt to let it go. There is no actual point in holding onto something to the point where it causes you some sort of distress. 

I have learnt some people really do come into your life for a reason or a season. Some serve a purpose and will stay a very long time. Others won't. It is not the end of the world. I have learnt to forgive and actually forget people who are fuelled by jealous, insecurity and competitiveness, because I don't want those kinds of people in my life and I don't want to waste a second on them.

I have learnt to appreciate more than ever the friends who stay true, who never leave and are always there. A phone call away, a hug away, a car cry away. Real friends understand the concept of life been busy and don't hold it against you. Stop fighting for the people who are not worth fighting for.

I have learnt that I can't control every aspect of my life, of who I am and where I am going. I have leant that I can work hard, do my best and give it all I have, but I cannot and will not let anything consume me. I know that I need to relax more, laugh more, feel less guilty, feel more alive and a lot more grateful.

I always find nearing the end of Brand Challenge that when I look back, its not just a learning experience at varsity, its a learning experience in life. I want to be more patient, kinder, less anxious, not as hard on myself and more understand. I want to cultivate the friendships I have and remind the incredible people in my life how truly lucky I am and I want to just remember every single day:

I have so much to be grateful for, so much abundance, love and care. I have clothes on my back, food in my stomach, a roof over my head. I have had the opportunity to get an incredible education, to study and further myself. I have people in my life who love me, for me, no matter how nuts I am. I have goals, dreams and aspirations. I am the person that can make things happen and I will.

But most importantly I will relax more, look on the bright side more, let go of the past and anything negative holding me back. I will be the person I am, but also the person who stops to look at the beautiful sunset and take in all its beauty and just breathe. My friend Kristi told me that when I find myself getting overwhelmed I need to stop, feel my feet firmly planted on the ground and take a deep breathe, feeling the air fill my lungs, feeling alive, present, here, now, focused and just breathe.

(Photo I took on Saturday evening at the Camps Bay tidal pool)

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