Drawing is the oxygen I need to keep on. I'm not trying to sound dramatic. I started drawing when I was 5. It was hard to separate me from the pencil and the wall ever since. My mother enrolled me in my first drawing class and since then I've gone on drawing for so long that I literally don't know life without it.. except well, last year.
My freshman year at Duke was crippling. In a struggle to quickly adapt to the new environment and make new friends, I lost sight of the one thing that I was most passionate for. Drawing keeps me grounded, it keeps me focused, it relaxes me. I tried hard to study for my classes, I went out on the weekends, and I spent the rest of my free time with my friends. Despite all this, I wasn't happy. I felt lost that entire year. I came home that summer after the first year of "the best four years of my life" and cried. It wasn't that I didn't love Duke. I made friends that were absolute keepers - you know, the type of people you know are going to be at your wedding. But I was just so stressed and so tired. My self-esteem was at an all time low. I hadn't been performing as well as I'd hoped academically, and I struggled with coming to terms with the fact that University was hard and giving my all just wasn't enough. I felt invisible in the crowd, overshadowed, and my belief in my self slowly waned. I really sat myself down and asked myself, what was wrong? Why had I lost myself? Why was I so unhappy?
The answer was simple. I was disconnected from the one thing that I loved endlessly. A fish out of water can only survive for so long. I was so overwhelmed that I forgot how to breathe. I needed to breathe. People have different outlets to get away from the reality they sometimes feel suffocated in - whether that be dance, music, sports, or another activity. Drawing is my escape. The moment the headphones are in and the pencil is in hand, nothing but the creation in front of my eyes matters. Not a single care in the world. It's magical. Without art in my life, I lost sight of my identity. I also lost confidence in myself, considering drawing was the very thing that gave me something to be proud of myself for. The fire in me had burned out. I promised myself that I would refuel my passion, relight the flame, and that I would never make the same mistake I did again. I can't be without art. I can't give up the one thing that keeps me sane.
I made a conscious decision to get involved in Duke arts, and so far, it's been one hell of a semester. In a good way. No matter how stressed I am, how hectic my schedule is, how hard my classes are -- I'm happier. Much happier. I know that the grades I get don't define my value as a person, heck, not even my artworks define me, but it sure is a lot better to know that I'm doing what I love. Taking a drawing class this semester has affirmed my decision to continue with Duke arts. It's the perfect balance to "get away"from the stress of my other classes. I will definitely work hard to achieve a Visual Arts minor.