THE SEMESTER OFF | Valentina Duracinsky: THE SEMESTER OFF

August 31, 2013

THE SEMESTER OFF

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Oh, hello, hi there. Look at that pinky of mine – what the hell? I always do that when I'm holding a drink. It looks so weird... Today, I wanted to talk about my semester off. Yes, yes... If you've been reading since October, you'll know I took this last semester off. I thought this picture (taken at Candelaria) would go well with this post, as I look pretty vulnerable: naked face, hair up, not trying or pretending to be anything but myself... which is what I'm doing now – peeling off all the layers and showing you my soul.

In the fall of last year, I was anxious, beat, tired, blue, bored, you name it. One day in class – lightbulb – I thought: "why not take some time off!?" So after Christmas, I headed back home to my dad's apartment in Paris. I needed to think, to become even more of an introvert, to figure some stuff out. I wanted to become a better, happier version of myself.

Honestly, I am so happy I took some time off. I wrote some of my best songs yet, started drawing again, traveled loads, met some amazing people, and most surprisingly, lost almost ten pounds. Do you know how good it feels to look in the mirror and say "Huh, I look pretty damn good!"? It feels pretty fucking amazing, let me tell you. I'd never thought that until recently. I didn't know you didn't have to beat yourself up every time you glanced in the mirror.

I wanted to figure out who the f**k I am. I swear a lot in my head, and watching Dexter just makes me swear even more, so I apologize but I am a person who swears (I figured that out.) My thoughts are also never very clear, and the way I write probably shows how I jump from one thought to the next. It's not a problem for me. For the reader, it's another story. Sorry.

What a person wears says a lot about who they are (I think) so I needed to figure out what my personal style said about me. When you're reading blogs all the time, like me, sometimes you get sucked into this world of fashion, thinking you need more, more, more... Last year was a year of excess. I bought way too much of everything. When I told people how many dresses I owned, their eyes fell out and their heads exploded. During my semester off, I tried to rid myself of as much as possible. I'm going back to Smith tomorrow morning and I'm happy to report that I'll be taking less than usual. Though somehow, and I really can't figure out how, I have TONS of things in the cosmetics department, so I'll be sure to use up as much as possible this year. Why do we always buy so much? What is with bloggers writing monthly 'wishlists'? I realize I'm not perfect, and even though I wish to become a minimalist, it's oh so easy to crave something new.

Having a blog helps me realize what's important too. I'm more private than most bloggers I know, but the content I do post means a lot... and lately it's been all travel, fitness/health and minimalism. I do realize I talk a lot about minimalism, but that's what I'm going through right now. And the road to minimalism is not a short one. While I still think it's fun to dress nicely and post outfit pictures, this year, I'd rather focus on music, dance, art and friendship... I love having the blog, but it feels strange to write something when you know you're changing, and you don't know what you feel comfortable with anymore. One small example is, you will not see wishlists on this blog anymore. That much I know.

I'm okay with being a loner now. I know it, and I don't care anymore. That was a big step, believe it or not.

I'm so happy to be going back to Smith tomorrow. New beginnings are always exciting. I'm still majoring in Psychology and minoring in Education. I still actually plan on being a musician. I'm still freakishly excited about starting ballet. How the European inside me will live without alcohol, I don't know, but we'll figure it out. I truly hate the way American college kids drink. It's why I don't party. That, and the fact that I'm a loner. Still, I can't wait to make the most out of this year. Taking a semester off was definitely the right choice for me. I feel like I've grown, like I've lived. I'm now a hundred years old in my head.

If someone were to ask me if I recommend taking a semester off, well, I do, depending on who you are and what your plans are. I can't tell you the number of times I've wanted to PAUSE my life and just sleep for twenty straight hours. But you can't, so I always feel guilty for sleeping too much or wasting time. And there are always responsibilities... I still had many responsibilities during my time off, but they were mostly goals I set myself so I could go at whatever pace I needed, like the goal to be ok with sleeping in (you know, until 9:30am, let's not be drastic). In fact, I still wasn't able to pause anything but I had more time to figure out how to deal with, I don't know, life and stuff. My semester off felt a little like hitting the pause button.

You may not be able to see it from the photo above, but I am so happy and relaxed. Smith College, here I come, new and improved. Vx

13 comments:

Mary Andrikus said...

You're actually a kind of person that I really wanna get to know because you're open minded & you're different from the rest (in a good way). Travel really does make people think differently. And it's okay to be loner, so you will have some "me-time" to think about yourself :)
Well, welcome back to college life! Have fun & good luck! :)

Mary Andrikus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary Andrikus said...

You're actually a kind of person that I really wanna get to know because you're open minded & you're different from the rest (in a good way). Travel really does make people think differently. And it's okay to be loner, so you will have some "me-time" to think about yourself :)
Well, welcome back to college life! Have fun & good luck! :)

Mélodie Nicolle said...

It's such an inspiring post dear Valentina, makes me think a lot actually, and it's so nice that you're able to open up to us like this... I too I'm a bit of o loner but I always loved that part of my personality, and I'm cherishing it even! It makes the time spent with my friends and family even more precious.
Hope you'll have a wonderful new year, full of wisdom and change!
Much love
Melodie
http://sevenlivesandmore.blogspot.fr/

Ruth Reyes-Loiacano said...

I love everything about this post! And I can relate to everything your are expressing. Thank you for sharing your experience with us!

Kamilė said...

I'm really happy for you. I think you deserve to finally feel you always wanted to.

Aubrey @ The Daily Simple said...

I do that very same thing with my pinky too!

Time off really is the greatest because it not only lets us reflect without distraction but it lets us determine if what we are taking time off of is worth our while.

Hannah Gottlieb-Graham said...

This post is so honest! I totally respect the fact that you took time away from school to figure yourself out a bit, get in shape, and minimize not only your wardrobe, but your life! I'm all about clean lines and classic style so I definitely can relate to minimalism, and I also hate having an excessive amount of stuff. I hope this year at Smith is perfect for you!

Xo, Hannah

sweetsweetnoir.net

Anonymous said...

A human being is always changing and making his way through different decisions in life so I think you shouldn't think so hard and feel obligated not to deviate from previous posts you've written, just write down what you are in the exact moment. On other topic, you're look gorgeous!!!!!!(just take care not to lose too much cause you're already look so tiny:)
Much success Dear!

Emma said...

Great post..you're very brave for all you have achieved! I need to do something similar for myself.

I also see you love Ireland, we'd get on very well!

Emma xx

Lucy Aspray said...

This is a great post. Thanks for being honest with us. I couldn't agree more with the road to minimalism being hard, especially as the rest of the world seems to be chanting more, more, MORE. I'm so glad you are dropping the wish list. The posts I love most around the blogosphere are definitely those that focus on being thankful for what they already have, rather than talking about the next thing they are going to have.

You look fab. Really hope this semester holds everything you are hoping it to.

Peace, Lucy xo

Anonymous said...

Such an inspiring post.
I'm kind of list at the moment, but reading thins like this makes md hope there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Thank you.
Please stay happy.

thotlady said...

You look wonderful. Came over from another blog...I can't remember which one. Not important.

I'll be back.

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