fbpx En Route #25 — PCA

En Route #25


Tunnel Vision

Ah, there’s nothing quite like a week of calm after a hectic one. Now that things have settled down and we’ve really gotten into the thick of the semester, each week of progress counts. After surviving last week’s marathon madness, this week was all about recuperation. With weeks till the end of the semester now firmly in the single digits, 5 until finals and 7 until graduation, I think I can speak for all seniors when I say the end is nigh. In order to stave off a freak out, I’ve begun to vanquish any illusions about what I can and can’t accomplish with the time we have left. It’s right about now we have to start reeling our idealistic goals back down to earth as things start to take solid shape.

All in all it’s been a rather smooth ride from Monday to Friday. Senior Studio is a bit less strenuous now that we’ve conquered most of the inside content, so now we’ll have all of April to get our books printed. It’s been a series of trade offs as Thesis begins to heat up and we continue to develop our visions for the final products. I’ve had to pull myself away from getting a bit too caught up in all the things I have to do that I don’t have time to actually do most of them. Tunnel vision is a real fear at this stage as graduation hovers in the distance and breathing can become difficult if you stare at your calendar for too long.

It’s also around this time that it can be easy to get so caught up with school work we forget to detach once in a while. This is my last semester in college, but also my last in Paris. So in order to keep finding new adventures, I’ve been on something of a hunt for the best pain au chocolat in Paris! Well, okay more like the best pain au chocolat near my apartment/school but you get the idea. It’s an excuse for me to get out of my room and explore, even if it’s just walking down a road I don’t usually go. In the 6th arrondissement we have a lot of options when it comes to bakeries but at the start of the year I’d zeroed in on one that I’ve since become a regular at. My French is still not amazing, but you really don’t need much to be friendly with the people at your bakery.

As I’ve explored different bakeries, it continues to shock me just how good even the most common pastries can be, hence my choice of pain au chocolat as a good measuring stick. While I still maintain a regular visit to my usual bakery for a quick sandwich or quiche, I’ve begun to look elsewhere for sweets when the mood strikes. Now that I’ve had a good few months under my belt, I think I can confidently recommend The Smiths Bakery at 12 Rue de Buci, 75006 Paris as my favorite place to grab a pain au chocolat these days. It’s the perfect mixture of soft sweet pastry and bittersweet chocolate. Their vintage decor is classic without being too kitsch and their selection is simple but features all my favorites! If you’re in the mood for something slightly fancier, I also absolutely love their tarte au citron, the meringue on top makes it sing.

Apart from my bakery explorations, I’ve also been enjoying some rather sweet moments getting to know the other people in the Communication Design department. Once you get to 4th year you can tend to only hang out with the people in your immediate friend circle, but what I love about taking electives is the chance to meet the younger students in your same major. My RISO class has introduced me to a lot of the new students and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know them better as we help each other with our projects and troubleshoot printing problems (a true bonding exercise in Com Design). I’ve also been introduced to some students outside of class through various teachers, having been asked to share my experience in my major or just college life in general. It’s slightly strange being asked to give advice to younger students, especially when I sometimes feel like I was just in their shoes. But once we start talking I’m reminded of just how much I’ve learned in the past 4 years and how my studies in school have shaped me both as a person and designer. I think back to the seniors I met when I was in Foundation year and how much I admired their confidence and approach to projects.

It’s starting to hit me that while my time at PCA is coming to a close, for others it’s just beginning. I’m definitely looking forward to my next chapter, but it also makes me want to pass on any help or reassurance I can. Their fears and worries about college remind me of how similar mine were and it’s a good lesson in how things look simpler in retrospect, but for those currently in it are very real. Wherever I feel like I’m not measuring up to some abstract idea of where I think I should be, whether in college or in life, I try to remember that this is my first time being 21 and it’s hard for everyone in some way. It’s easy to look back and count all the ways we could have done things better, but I think the more productive view is to be a little kinder to yourself, past and present. As long as you’re doing the best you can at any given time, you’ll be able to make something you can be proud of.

Wishing you all luck!

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