And so, continuing the sketches from day one of the UC Academic Advising Conference at the end of last month…
The Keynote Speaker was Jenny Blake. Jenny is an author and career coach who used to work for Google before branching out on her own, travelling the country giving talks and signing her successful book “Life After College”. According to her website, http://jennyblake.me/, she loves helping smart people organize their brain, and it really shows. I’m not one to go for all the motivational speaker stuff that is so popular over here and elsewhere, but I must say that Jenny was extremely inspiring. “Is the life you’re living worth the price you’re paying for it?” This is a great questions for us all. I’m always wondering how to manage my life and all its busy-ness. I’ve had a ‘cluttered’ time the past few years, and even considered reining in stuff like my drawing all the time, as if that would help. Jenny talked a lot about ‘decluttering’, and then at one point she encouraged us all to do something we’ve always loved doing. I realized that in my case I was doing it right there and then – drawing!
I felt pretty positive after listening to her speech and my sketches over this conference showed it, . Here is Jenny with the sketches after her talk. Thanks for an excellent seminar!
After the keynote speech, it was time for the first afternoon breakout workshop, and I happened to attend one of those which sounded useful but was perhaps a little less up my alley. “Self-care Made Simple”, sketched below, was a popular workshop because while it had little to do with actual advising, it was offering ways to better manage our stressful lives and a lot of people, as they say, love that shit. I came in a few minutes after it had already started, and took one of the only spare seats, which was at the front. The whole place was silent, apparently in the middle of some period of quiet meditation. Ok, I thought, I’ll sit at the back, better view. The only sound in the room was my pencil case opening, the zip tearing through the silence, my pens scratching against the paper. From then, there was standing and stretching, walking about in a circle, there was some hugging (and another session next day also tried getting people to do this thing called hugging – yeah, no, I’m British), there was a lot of conversing (or “ventilation” as they called it) and of course there was “visualization”. They put on a tape which sounded like something from the Dharma Initiative, one of those self-hypnosis things, “Imagine you are on a sandy beach…become the sandy beach, imagine you are that sandy beach”, all that sort of stuff. I really fought hard to Jules Winfield it, “do I LOOK like a BEACH?”, but I didn’t need to break the spell as one lady (who is in the sketch) was asleep and snoring away. That made me smile. I don’t mean to mock the workshop, it was probably really great for almost everyone in the room and I met the presenters and they were very nice and I think they liked my sketch, but as I say, it wasn’t really my cup of tea. (A nice cup of tea is more my cup of tea.)
The final workshop of the day was very interesting and informative. “Helping and Supporting International Students” outlined (in admittedly technical terms with diagrams) the tribulations that are faced by students from other countries adjusting to degree programs in the U.S. I did really enjoy it and recognised a lot of the issues not only with my own experiences of international students at work, but also with my own experiences as someone living in a foreign country (and yes I do still see this as a foreign country – see above under ‘hugging’). There were some foreign students there sharing their experiences, and I sketched away. It’s funny sketching these sort of workshops because they are like a time-lapse photo, the lady speaking by the podium wasn’t there when the students were seated in a panel up front, and the blonde lady with the pink scarf stood to the left is the very same person sat to the right there, at a different moment. An important lesson in sketching however is that none of that matters, you are sketching an hour in history and all of those things were true at various moments. Also, you weren’t there so you don’t know any better (or care, probably).
Hope you liked the sketches! Check back for Day Two!