Well, where do I begin?
It's been just about 10 months since I last posted a journal entry. 2013 has been a... strange and tumultuous year, to say the least.
When we last left off, I had been accepted as a volunteer at an art gallery in downtown Vancouver, and was working toward going back to school to gain some more marketable graphic design training. I was also developing some great new friendships: seasidehedgehog, Genisay and mandy-kun, all of whom I met through my old friend rickcressen. Together, the five of us formed the Absconders (don't ask about the name-- that was Rick's idea ). It was quite obvious that things all around were changing-- in January, my best friend, who'd recently been diagnosed as bipolar, spent a month in Vermont with her new significant other. In April, he came out here, and we all had a fun evening together. I showed up that evening pretty aware that it marked a turning point in our relationship, and was probably going to be the last we saw of each other for a while. I was right.
A few weeks later, I finally began my training at BCIT. Because it was only a six month program and contained about two years worth of classes, the schedule was really intense. The main reason I haven't updated my journal until now is because, from April to September, my classes just sort of swallowed up my entire life. My volunteering at the gallery had to come to an end, and unfortunately it also meant disconnecting from all of my IRL friends, and even most of my online friends. Thankfully, I still had my family, and the Absconders-- I think I would have gone insane without them.
The program was split into two three month terms. The first term, I was juggling six classes a week. Between that, and having to build my work schedule out of class around the campus not always having computer labs open, I just didn't have any time for anything else. Totally worth it, though. I went into the course as probably one of the most experienced "artists", but even I got a lot out of the Photoshop and InDesign classes. I had another Colour Theory class-- this one geared more toward designers than traditional artists. My favorites that term, though, were Composition and Layout, and Graphics. The instructors in both of those courses were really awesome, and those were the two courses where I ended up doing most of my actual creative assignments that term. Aside from a few nervous breakdowns and week of really nasty illness which (of course) fell right as I was taking midterms, I was able to make it through the madness rather unscathed-- although, oddly, I've also been noticing my musical tastes shifting since then, to include a lot more '80s synthpop and soft rock.
I did get one week of holiday, back in July. I used it wisely, to run some essential errands, and to see friends I hadn't seen in months. By then, my best friend had moved across the border to Washington state to be with her boyfriend. My friend Genisay came up that week, too, and we went to Anime Evolution together. It was so fun going to another anime con finally! The two of us got tons of swag, and I took plenty of pictures. I've got one pic of Master Chief photobombing Jesus, and another of Gen flipping a table. XD
I took the last weekend of my break, just for myself, and I drove up into the mountains, pushing as far north as I could go in a single day. I stopped in Whistler, and then ultimately ended up in Pemberton. After being penned up for three months, the feeling of absolute freedom was just beautiful.
The rest of July, and August, and September, I was occupied with my term two courses. The schedule for term two was a bit more chill, but still not so much that I really had much breathing room. I had courses in Adobe Acrobat, typography, and colour management, as well as one to build my portfolio. Strategic Design for Business was by far the most useful course-- the instructor was the same one who had run the Comp. and Layout course in term one, and she spent the majority of the course giving us encouragement and invaluable resources for finding employment, as well as walking us through the steps of fully developing a design campaign strategy.
And how did I do? Well, I passed all my classes with flying colours-- a GPA in the lower 90s, which entitled me to a certificate with distinction. I now have TWO Canadian credentials to my name.
Unfortunately, my timing sort of sucked. My post-grad permit from Emily Carr has run its course, and I don't get another one just because I went to BCIT. When my current study permit runs out at the end of the year, Canada Immigration and Customs wants me out of the country. I've been consulting an immigration specialist to see if there's any recourse for me to legally stay here into January-- if I can get a company to hire me by then, or perhaps if I can get a visitor's permit to extend my job hunt by six months, I might be able to remain here. Otherwise, it looks like I'd be forced back into the States.
So October has been a bit of a scramble-- I've had SO many things on my list to cross off. A lot of them were things that fell by the wayside during my studies at BCIT; others were in preparation for a big job hunt. A couple weeks ago, I visited my friends Genisay and Rick in Oregon. And I'm thinking now, maybe it wouldn't be the end of the world if I had to find someplace to live in Washington state. I'd still be able to come visit my BC friends, and a lot of the things about Vancouver that I've come to dislike-- like the ubiquitous construction, or the traffic, or the high cost of living-- would instantly evaporate. At any rate, 2014 looks like it's got some major life changes in store for me.
Hopefully I don't put off writing about them for another ten months.