Pulling away from Waterloo yesterday afternoon, watching the London Eye slip away into the distance and the city centre melting into suburbs and finally endless fields of green, I let out a sigh. I've done it. I've got through my first term at LCF.
It hasn't been plain sailing; at one point when life in the capital just seemed too much it did cross my mind to reapply next year to a campus university in a quieter city. I am not one to quit, and hated the thoughts that were going on inside my head, but nonetheless the thoughts were very much there. But after 3 months in London I am now happier than ever. However excited I was to get home to my family for some rest and quiet over Christmas, it was hard saying goodbye to my flat and the new friends that feel like old friends. Although difficult at times, these have been the best 3 months of my life. And boy am I glad I stuck it out.
I write this from my bed in Dorset where all I can hear outside is the wind and the occasional bark of a dog. A car passing is rare, and the sound of sirens obselete. Right now I couldn't be further from my little flat in Hackney. Over the next few weeks I shall be recharging my batteries, making the most of time with family and friends and enjoying the comforts of home. After moving out it is the little things that I suddenly appreciate so much more: my double bed, a bath, the dishwasher, and a washing machine suddenly seem fabulous luxuries. For now at least, it is good to be home.
Sitting on the train yesterday the huge smile plastered across my face wasn't just because I was on my way home. This morning I woke up thinking I had dreamt yesterday. It was the most delicious feeling to realise that I hadn't.
Yesterday morning I had a meeting at Vogue House. The same Vogue House in Hanover Square where I head to when I am losing faith, the same Vogue House I have stood beneath countless times, imagining and wishing myself behind the doors, and the same Vogue House where my favourite magazine is produced. My meeting was with the managing editor whom I had sent my CV and a copy of 'Love Pink' and a letter asking (begging, unfortunately, was probably a more accurate description) for work experience.
A few weeks later I found myself sitting in the reception at Vogue, unable to believe my luck.
"You can go up to the fifth floor now Miss Page," said the jolly man on the reception, and then my red heels and I were walking into the lift. What do you wear to Vogue House? After trying on the entire contents of my wardrobe I ended up settling for my standard 'interview' outfit - the same dress and heels I wore to my university interviews and to London Fashion Week. I decided that in nerve-wracking situations it is sometimes best to stick to old friends.
My impressions of being behind the doors of Vogue were about as far removed from The Devil Wears Prada as it gets; everyone I met was lovely and made me feel completely at ease. One informal interview, one tour around the office and 20 minutes later and I was booked in for work experience at Vogue. Even now I can't quite believe it; all the way home I had such a huge smile on my face that I think I slightly frightened my fellow passengers. I didn't care. Work experience at Vogue definitely deserves one enormous smile in my opinion.
One slight catch - it isn't until July... 2012. With such huge numbers of applicants they are completely booked up until then, however I think this is actually a good thing. By 2012 I will be 20, I will have more experience under my belt and will be in a much better position to make the most of my time there. It is something in the distance to look forward to and work towards. A year and a half isn't all that long really, but it is enough time for me to work as hard as possible to be the best I can be once I am eventually to return behind the doors of my favourite magazine.
In the meantime the managing editor gave me lots of useful advice and the whole experience has spurred me on to work even harder and ignited the fire that the whole stress of London had dimmed slightly.
Right now however, Christmas is at the top of my list. We all need a break sometimes and right now this fashionista is putting her feet up. This afternoon I have spent baking, donning wooly tights, a big jumper and an apron instead of the dress and heels worn to Vogue House. Next comes decorating the Christmas tree with my family, and curling up in front of the fire eating Rose's chocolates and re-reading Harry Potter.
But rest-assured that come the New Year I will be heading back to London, inspired and determined to make 2011 count.