A time to reflect, part 2

Cambridge Girl Talk committee 

Following on from A time to reflect, this post continues with reflections by the other three committee members.

Alicia, co-events coordinator

This year has been big and busy, full of transitions and lessons and new experiences. Finally throwing myself into extracurriculars has been a major highlight of my year. Finding communities like Girl Talk has made university feel a lot more like home in the last few months of the year than it did in the first. Learning how to build a support network from scratch, and how to work hard without going crazy are two of the biggest lessons I have learnt this year, both of which came from looking outside of the library window and getting involved.

New experiences and new friendships have made this year one of growth and of going outside my comfort zone. Things have shifted and altered many times this last year, as they are bound to do. I’ve never been very good with change, but as I settle into the routine of university life and enter 2019 with a year’s worth of experience behind me I’m beginning to look forward to whatever changes the next year throws at me too.

Blanca, co-director and blog editor

This year was one filled with so much love and new adventures. Love flourished, new friendships solidified, I visited new countries and cultures, and I grew to know and be truer to myself even more after the confusing transition of school – gap year – freshers.

Leaping outside of a comfort zone has always been difficult for me, particularly since acknowledging my anxious tendency. In the past I would be brave in conventional senses, but I would often recline when more rare experiences presented themselves. This is something I still struggle with, and I look at the planning of any moment or period, such as my year abroad, with apprehension, whereupon I beat myself up for this lack of positivity and ingratitude for my privilege. Yet I am trying more than ever to see things with happiness, rather than dread, in their context rather than as an overwhelming collection.

I am trying to apply this to every moment, really wanting to make sure I think ahead less unless it is with excitement. The last term was interesting and amazing, but also difficult with many personal situations that did not let me fully breathe. In the holidays it has been hard to transition away to a state where I could relax completely, allowing myself time without guilt.

As our artist in residence, Anna, said in her reflection – every moment has its own context and should be rooted in it. I want to observe and acknowledge this, whether by creating, recording or simply slowing down and living!

Julia, blog sub-editor

I like to track time with music. I create playlists for all the months and weeks which pass, adding in the songs and pieces of music which I associate with them. Music can become a deeply sentimental thing, when one attaches enough memories and associations to it- when I press play on a particular playlist or song, I can close my eyes and imagine a younger version of myself listening to it, in whichever season or mood I once did.

Spotify only indulges this nostalgia, particularly their 2018 Wrapped playlists. DakhaBrakha’s Baby was on there and I remembered with particular vividness the white blanket of snow which muffled up the world, and how I walked through the rugby fields behind college when the light was fading into blueness and thistles were framed against the darkening sky. H.E.R’s Focus was next and immediately I thought of the transition between winter and summer, and the masses of white flowers all mixed up with one another, growing beside each road and melting into a rush of colour when I cycled past.

Then I found the songs which I would listen to walking down from the Barbican towards the river in the evening, the ones which made me think of the aches in the back of my neck and the UL’s dusty bookcases, the ones which I would listen to whilst looking at the Granta’s lights reflected in the water below, bubbles and currents crumpling up the little glitters of light.

The last one to come on was Aretha Franklin’s Amazing Grace. That was summer for me, the very hot evenings which I spent on my grandmother’s roof. Below me, there would have been walnut trees pressing their leaves into one another in the heavy atmosphere and I would have been looking out at the glowing horizon, counting the glimmers of trains, listening to their thunder as they crossed from one end of the horizon to another. My 2018 wasn’t governed, of course, by the music I decided to listen to, but to hear the songs which I matched up with my circumstances replayed helped me pick up all of these feelings and images, and pack them up in a box, to replay again once more, when the time was right.

If you would like to be involved in writing, creating, reflecting for Cambridge Girl Talk, please do get in touch with us.

(Featured image designed by Soli Rachwal, source: femmagazine)

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