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Well friends, it is now official that I have graduated from University! Although my classes ended like 8 months ago, I finally had my ceremony this past week. What I didn’t realise before the ceremony, was just how important the actual commencement would be at bringing closure to this period in my life. Yes, I had technically finished University quite some time ago, but I hadn’t actually thought about it, celebrated it and acknowledged what I had accomplished.

In regards to a Bba in Marketing, there is a lot to be learned. I also obtained this Business degree in a foreign country, which posed a whole new series of challenges and ways in which I would change, adapt and grow. On top of all that, I successfully completed a goal that I commitment myself to over 4 years ago. As someone who can’t even commit to which party she will attend that evening, sticking to something for such a long period of time is potentially what I am most proud of.

At the start of my degree I didn’t really have any clue what I wanted to do with my life. What I did know was that I wanted to be far away from where I was comfortable, which is probably why I ended up in Thailand. I am not sure how it happened, but my youth came with a need to explore. As a teenager, the idea of being where I belonged wasn’t appealing. What I really wanted was adventure. I wanted to be somewhere that I didn’t understand, where I would feel uncomfortable and confused and where I would learn about the world that we are so unattached from in North America. As far as I was concerned, the weirder the situation the better.

I suppose I could have gone travelling, but that wasn’t really what I was after. I didn’t think that a few days, weeks or even months somewhere could bring me some of the awareness of another part of the world that I was after. So long story short and much to the shock of my parents, I went all out and enrolled in a 4 year degree in Thailand. In my defence, I had already spent 8 months there as a GAP student, so it wasn’t really all that random.

When I started studying I knew that I was into business because it was something that I spent a lot of time thinking about. I initially started in the International Business program, but after a few trimesters I pretty quickly realised that Marketing was where it’s at. During my 4 years of studying this division of business, my love for the industry continued to grow and I couldn’t wait to graduate before I did something about it. Therefore, in my last year of studying, I combined my love for fashion and marketing and transformed a dream I had into this blog, which you all now know as A Piece of Elise. Although fashion blogging is largely image based and about written content, it is also through personal branding, digital marketing and countless hours spent on public relations that a blog’s audience will grow. This along with a few other jobs meant that I was already putting my degree into practice, even before I had graduated.

And this brings us to the present. As a student one’s days are set for them, but now as a graduate it is time to make some decisions about what I want to do, where I want to be and how I want to go about my life. I arrived in Thailand with an urge to learn about the unknown and the foreign. Now, after several years here, I have grasped some aspects of what makes this country unique, but on a much larger scale, I have learned just how much I don’t know. Throughout my time here my opinions, thoughts and perceptions have changed immensely. It is almost laughable to think back on how I viewed my surroundings at the start, versus after 2 years and then how they have changed again now.

At this point it is impossible for me to describe what Thailand has taught me or how it has changed me (although I would like to get that in writing at some point in the future). For now, all I can really vocalise is that I have realised the world is so much more than I had ever imagined. I have barely seen any of it, but by spending so much time in this one foreign place, I have realised that things which are so subtle and deeply ingrained in our upbringing, that we couldn’t imagine them any differently, can actually be very different when your mind is opened to them.

What I have learned here in Thailand is that it is impossible not know something if you do not know you do not know it. I have realised that it is impossible to be unaware of something if you do not know you are unaware of it. Finally, I have accepted that it is impossible to be ignorant of something if you do not know you are ignorant.

I arrived in Thailand well aware that there were things I didn’t know and that I was ignorant, but what I have learned is that the lessons which matter most are the ones you couldn’t even imagine beforehand. It is this awareness of the total unknown that is the most valuable lesson you can obtain from extensive time abroad. It is something that is never ending, it is something that I am still very far from accomplishing and I doubt is something that can ever really be complete, but in actualitly it’s the process which matters most.

For this I have Thailand to thank, but more importantly I have my parents to thank for making it all possible (ha – sounding like an awards speech). Yes, I have been far away from them for quite some time, but without them I never would have had the opportunities that I have been fortunate enough to have.

As a new University graduate, it is time for me to make some decisions and I have decided to move back to Canada. This may come as a surprise to many of you, as I have not really shared this on APOE yet. However, in about 1 month, I will be returning to my hometown of Victoria and will be moving to Vancouver shortly after. With the completion of my business degree, the commitment I made to Thailand is complete and I am ready to spend some time with my family. It will be yet another interesting adventure to immerse myself in life back home and I may even find that I am much more “Thai” than I realise, but I am ready to be in Canada with my parents and my two sisters.

It is possible that a time will come when I am ready to rock the boat and confuse myself once again, at which point I will probably move to some other random country, but until then I am going to enjoy the comforts of home. In case you are wondering, I will be taking the blog with me (of course!). I will continue to share my adventures and outfits and I hope that you will stay along for the ride. Oh and duh, I plan to holiday in Thailand all the time.

Because this post is already really, ridiculously long, I am going to end it here. I would like to thank you all for sharing in this epic Bangkok adventure with me. I don’t want you to think of this as an ending, but more as the beginning of some exciting and fresh new blog content. I mean, just think of all the winter layering I will be able to put into my outfits!

At some point in October (I haven’t actually set the date yet), APOE will be moving to Canada!

PS. You may have already seen this on my Instagram and Facebook, but my mum was able to join me for graduation! We had a really great time and I am so grateful that she was able to be there. Isn’t she cute? <3

Also, scroll down to see my super random/awkward family photo, as well as my attempts at not being sweaty. However, it was like 40 degrees and I was wearing stockings, a pencil skirt, a bowtie and graduation robes, so it was pretty much the hottest day ever.

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