Category Archives: Aya

Notes From The 6 Train: Putting Your Passion into Practice

As the semester begins to draw to a close it’s a good time to reflect on the classes I’ve been taking this semester. Of the six classes I’ve been taking this semester there are three that I will highlight during the next few weeks.

The Art of Writing Poetry: This was my favorite class.I am a writer, so big surprise there. That was actually the exact reason that I choose this class. As a blogger and freelance writer, it’s easy for me to write for others and stop focusing on writing for myself. Writing is a healing mechanism for me. So I made a conscious effort to not let myself slide down the rabbit hole of not writing, and took a class that would encourage me to write. This class has provided me with writing assignments that have kept me engaged with the world around me, my experience and myself, throughout the entire semester. In addition to our homework, we had to record ten observations of out our surrounding world, statements that start with “I see,” or “I hear.”

My professor encourages us to chance takes with our words, cut out half the words in the poem and then rearrange the line order. Or she gives us two minute writing exercises. I appreciate being pushed to further develop my writing. Here are few examples of my observations:

(I hear) a train conductor swinging words like a baseball bat.Inflection up & down. The sixth, seventh, eight, last inning. Your stop.

(I feel) suspended in reality, hovering above hieroglyphics, moments.

(I see) six shades of myself. Bouncing off car mirrors, street corners & cement cracks, heading towards the same place.

Then she tells us to play with line breaks like this:

Six shades of
myself

Bouncing off car
mirrors, street

corners, golden
cracked, cement

towards the same
place.

And/Or remove half of the words

Shades of
myself

Bouncing off

golden
cracked
corners

The best part is that during our student/ teacher conference (yes, it is mandatory meeting) to go over your work and suggestions to grow as a writer. During my one on one I received helpful feedback and even talked to my professor, (who is a published write and continues to publish) about possible publishing. That’s why it’s so imperative to meet with you teachers that you connect with, they are a wealth of knowledge. So hopeful, I will be a published writer soon (wouldn’t that be exciting!)

I just want to point out that you don’t have to desert your passion(s) while in school. But it’s your responsibility to incorporate it your curriculum.

All things Color, Love, & Fashion,
Ayanna L.

Notes From The 6 Train: NYFOL!

I love lights. There’s a certain mystic energy that lights emit that I connect with. And I’m always a fan of festivals, I appreciate the togetherness that they bring. So what could be better than a combination of the two?

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The First Annual New York Festival of Lights (or NYFOL- New Yorkers love acronyms even if they are not helpful in deciphering what they are describing) in Dumbo! So this weekend a friend & I traveled down to Brooklyn to see what the hype was all about.

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Light inspired events let me know that the holiday season is officially upon us. The experience was a bit nostalgic for me because as a child I would visit the Festival of Tree every year with my girl scout troupe. I even went to the festival of lights at the Botanical Gardens once (in Atlanta, I’m not sure if that’s an event here in New York.)

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There were a number of light shows all three nights paired with music or poetry. There were a live performances. There was also a number of communal events for all to enjoy, take for the instance the heart filling station, where participants entered a tent and were submerged in love evoking images shown onto two of the walls of the tent. On the remaining walls were art pieces with similar messages.

Also, it’s always a pleasure to take part in the first of any event, (especially if it’s a free event, gotta get it before they start charging!) This event was successful, so I am sure that it will continue to happen for many years to come. I will be attendance for sure.

All things Color, Love, & Fashion,
Ayanna L.

Notes From The 6 Train: Open House 2k14

A few weeks ago was FIT’s annual Open House! The bloggers got to participate and spoke on the LIFE at FIT panel. This was my first Open House ever. When I applied to FIT I wasn’t able to the FIT Open House. So thanks to everyone who’s checking out our blog byway of Open House.

FIT tour guides!

FIT tour guides!

I appreciated the opportunity bloggers we’re always behind the screen. Though we get numbers on views, it can begin to feel like we’re writing into a void, especially when no one comments on our posts (so comment if you have a question or suggestion. we ALL love it!) It’s such a pleasure to connect with our audience in real time, in front of the screen. (That way you can see just how attractive and witty we all are in real life.)

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Having this opportunity to interact with prospective students reminded me of how nerve wracking this entire “life after (high) school,” rhetoric can be. Many of these worries and thoughts are similar to students preparing to graduate FIT. Many of us (shoutout to Sadie) can sympathize and relate to those questions that tend to bubble up, no matter how many deep breathing exercises we do. Questions such as what happens now?, am I making the right choice?, what if this isn’t the right choice?, and all the other questions that sprout in our minds when faced with uncertainty.

I dare say most are more nervous when graduating college because unless there is no orderly roadmap to success. No more checking boxes to register for classes and following syllabus to know that what you’re doing is going to get you exactly what you want. And that’s okay, in fact it’s as equally as exciting as it is nerve-racking. It means that another layer of possibilities has just been unfolded.

Look how Sadie is!

Look how Sadie is!

The good news, at least for the students at Open House, is that you are beginning to take control ownership of your life. By taking the time and exploring, researching, comparing and learning about what school, or maybe realizing that school is not in your plans right now,you have stepped into the driver’s seat of your destiny. That is something to be celebrated. As application season continues, remember that you are in control of your own destiny.

All things Color, Love, & Fashion,
Ayanna L.

Notes From The 6 Train: Quintessential Halloween Post

Last year I was stuck in class while the parade was going on and went afterwards because it was so cold outside. So as far as I’m concerned, that doesn’t count. So hooray for my first Halloween In NYC!

My Halloween ended up being much different than I had expected. It looked like this:

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as opposed to this:

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I’ve been working and training at an aerial and fitness dance studio in Chelsea the past four months. I attended my dance studio’s annual party an it was a blast! I got to see ghouls, goblins, ninjas & mermaids hanging, swinging and flying through the air. It was magical. It was beyond inspiring to see my peers, the people I work and train, performing so beautifully. It almost looked effortless, but because I know the amount of hard work and dedication that goes into any type of dance, especially aerials, I would be a fool to think that this feat was effortless.

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After the performances we all got together and jammed. In the midst of this jamfest, I looked around and realized just how fortunate I am to have entered into a whole new community or creative, passionate and driven people (much like students at FIT.) The longer I live in New York, the more obvious it becomes to me just how many opportunities there are to create the life you want. As always, I encourage students to go out in the city and explore! We live in a city of chance. After this reaffirmation, I continued to dance until the wee hours of the morning. Best Halloween I’ve had in a long time.

All things Color, Love, & Fashion,
Ayanna L.

Notes From the 6 Train: Hedwig & The Angry Inch

You can always tell when midterms or finals have arrived because a) the blog becomes un-characteristically barren or b) the few posts are information heavy and not about fun stuff. But, now that this time of the semester is over, we will all be back! Yay!

Hedwig & the Angry Inch Belasco Theatre

I want to talk about the incredible show I saw a few weeks ago. I got the pleasure of seeing Hedwig & The Angry Inch for 20 bucks, thanks to FIT and their student priced tickets. If you don’t know what this is, I’m sure you’ve been subjected to the one of a million posters that are posted throughout the MTA. This is, by far, one of the best perks of being a student in NYC. If you’ve been following the blog for a while you will remember that I got to see A Raisin In the Sun (starring Denzel Washington) last semester. Hedwig & The Angry Inch is a Tony award winning musical playing on Broadway, starring Michael C. Hall. Michael plays an East German transgendered singer whose the vocalist for a rock band. Everything about the show was phenomenal. The plot was fresh (what better time to have seen this then in October, which is LGBT month), the music ranged from rock ballads to nearly screamo, but every song was performed flawlessly. The set the musical was constantly changing and kept the audience engaged. Finally, the hair, makeup and outfits were spectacular.

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I really enjoy going to plays via FIT because I am usually sitting next to another FIT student, so I get to meet new people that I have something in common with. And we know meeting people organically, create the strongest relationships.

All things Color, Love, & Fashion,
Ayanna L.

Notes From the 6 Train: Let’s Get Low(line)

LOWLINE VIEW2 (Renderings of the park)

We’re not called the fashion institute if Technology for no reason. Within the last two weeks, I’ve gone to extremely engaging presentations about technology around the campus. The first was Disruptive Luxury about 3D printing. Sadie wrote a post about this that you should all check out. The second was about the Lowline. The Lowline, yes the name is inspired by the High Line, will be the world’d first underground park. The park is to be located in the Lower East Side, one-acre former Williamsburg Bridge Trolley Terminal, just below Delancey Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The site was opened in 1908 for trolley passengers, but has been unused since 1948 when trolley service was discontinued. The creators of this project want to reclaim this area and make it a public space again.

How is this even possible you may ask? The park would be lit by natural light collected around the city & then funneled into the park to mimic the going-ons of nature outside. This is revolutionary. For New York city, this is game changing. With the city being so crowded, having the ability to create more public space and harnessing all spaces, above ground (High Line) or below like the (Low Line) is an interesting concept that can possibly alter new architecture in New York. There are a number of cities who’ve traveled underground to find more space. Argentina, Chile, Canada, China and a number of other cities have created “underground cities,” but none have created an underground park.

How is this related to fashion? These guests weren’t random. The organizers and faculty at FIT are aware of how interconnected New York City is. Forward thinkers connect, no matter the industry. Plus, so many career opportunities will emerge from projects like this (or other start-ups). For example, as this project continues the Lowline will need people to help with advertising, marketing, and even interior design, because they intend to have events in the space when the park is closed. To have these events, they would need the space to be properly furnished and well put together, they may even need someone who knows textiles well, to know which fabrics will hold up in this type of environment without being damaged. Earlier this year they set up a test Lowline to see how possible this idea was, the park was only around for two weeks (see photo below). Next year another test park will be created for the duration of the entire year for all to enjoy.

static.squarespace (The two week park)

As inhabitants of New York we’re exposed to endless opportunities and it’s our job to see where and how our skills and talents fit in. Luckily, we attend a school that helps us in this department. Use them.

Here’s the link to the Lowline website if you want to learn more about the project: http://www.thelowline.org/

All things Color, Love, & Fashion,
Ayanna L.

Notes From The 6 Train: Matching Midterms!

It’s about that time… Midterms! Now is the perfect time to take advantage of the free benefits offered at the FIT Health Center. Midterms is the time to check in with yourself to make sure you’re staying healthy and sane during midterms.

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Acupuncture: I know this can seem a little scary due to the number of little needles pocking your body, but it’s not nearly as frightening as it seems. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, I’ve gone twice already and am always completely at peace, usually I just fall asleep. When I wake up the acupuncturist has some type of helpful commentary. The first time I went she immediately took note of the minor scoliosis located in lower part of my back. She said as a result my body is a little off center, with one of my legs being a shorter than the other (it’s okay you can laugh). Anyways, she’s really kind and always make sure that you’re at ease.

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Massage: this semester I had my very first FIT massage. The messuage was very respectful, clean and attentive to your body’s responses. She constantly checked in with me to make sure that nothing was painful. I was also very relaxed here as well (that’s the point, right?) It was particularly helpful for me because she often works with a number of athletes and dancers, and used to be a dancer herself so she knows the wear and tear that comes with it. As an aerialist who trains at least 4.5 hours weekly, having someone who is familiar with a dancer’s body was comforting.

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Nutritionist: I am more physically active than I have been in a long time. As a result, I decided get a general check up on my eating habits and make sure that my body is getting all the nutrients it needs to operate at the optimal level. The nutritionist listened to all dietary concerns (I’m a vegetarian concerned that recently I’ve been replacing meat with too much carbs) and had plenty of suggestions and take home information. Some of the sheets were how to give your body what it needs for really cheap (golden information for us college students). She even suggested to get some bloodwork done (also at FIT for cheap/free) to make sure that I have all of full of the necessary nutrients and vitamins.

As I’ve mentioned before, you don’t have to be wealthy to be taken care of. It’s up to each ourselves to make sure that we give our body and spirit what it needs!

All things Color, Love, & Fashion,
Ayanna L.

Notes From The 6 Train: Leadership Workshop!

I write this on the bus returning from Armank, New York, where the 40th annual FIT leadership workshop was held. I, along with about 35 other FIT student leaders, traveled to the woods to bond, get away from the city and eat good vegetarian food (well, at least that’s why I went), and of course to amp our leadership skills!

Exhibit A

Exhibit A

Honestly, this was the most I’ve ever talk to FIT students. Firstly, since we were the only people at the facility for 2 days we were forced to talk to each other fact. Additionally, I’m a commuter student so when I come on campus it’s do a job; attending class or a meeting, or studying. I find that other people experience this tunnel mind when they are on campus as well. Sometimes we need to be pulled out of comfort zone so that we are able to meet new people. That’s exactly what happened! I connected with a bunch of people that I never would have met otherwise.

Communal Gratiffi Board

Communal Gratiffi Board

Not only did I meet new people but I also learned a lot about myself. (Sounds very cliche, I know) but bear with me. I have had a number leadership trainings, so going on this retreat was a refresher of knowledge I’d acquired in the past. It also helped me see how much I’ve grown, and what I still need to work on. I also did get a break and enjoy some nature. It was beyond beautiful. I got to see the changing leaves and see some deer! Taking a break from the city is important to me, I know I need to be around nature to feel balanced.

This workshop is offered once in the fall ad again in the spring. It’s highly sought after, so whenever you see the posters around the school be sure to sign up immediately.

The attendees!

The attendees!

All things Color, Love, & Fashion,
Ayanna L.

Notes From The 6 Train: Connecting with Your Teachers

This past week I got to spend time with two of my old teachers. (Yay!) They were visiting from Atlanta to participate in the Bell Hook’s Scholar- In- Residence activities. Bell Hooks is an important figure in the feminist world. She’s written a number of consciousness shifting books after the intersection of blackness & feminism & patriarchy. She cowrote “Breaking Bread: Insurgent Black Intellectual Life” with Dr. Cornel West,who also partook in the dialogue the other day. If you aren’t familiar with their work, you should look them up.

Anyways, this isn’t about Bell Hooks or Cornel West (though they’re both incredibly insightful), but about the impact of having amazing teachers. Martha, (at my school we called our teachers by their first name) was my 7th & 8th grade teacher. She encouraged us to employ our critical thinking skills and created a class culture dedicated to us becoming leaders. Our class was governed by a class government, which as middle schoolers, made us feel powerful beyond belief. We even were able to travel to Washington, DC to lobby our state representative to not participate in the Iraq war.

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Oman, another teacher at my school, was never officially my teacher, but was so inviting and open that I would hang out in his room throughout high school. He’s an anti- racism and anti-patriarchy activist, who facilitated classroom discussions about just that. Both Martha and Oman would later team up and have a business to create change, becoming diversity consultants, for teachers.

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Besides these two teachers, I have been extremely lucky to have a number of other influential and important teachers, faculty and other mentors. Since my school spanned from kindergarten to high school, I’ve had constant people throughout majority of my life. Many of whom have offered their support for years and have helped in various ways, ranging from visiting their art studios to gain inspiration, to supporting me on a scholarship committee to secure funding to go abroad.

I’m a firm believer that you put out what you take in. If you make sure that the people you surround yourself with are all driven and are reaching towards smilier goals, then your entire team will be stronger for it.

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Talk to your teachers. Invite them out to coffee. Ask them questions. They want to help you, that’s why they’re teachers. Of course, not all professors will be as open as others, but if you connect with a particular teacher keep in contact. Their wealth of knowledge extends far beyond the pages of a textbook or the walls of classroom. Who knows, maybe the will be the one to help land your dream job or internship, or, at the very least, offer to past for your dinner whenever you go to visit (after you complete their class of course, you gotta work for that free meal)!

All things Color, Love, & Fashion,
Ayanna L.

Notes From The 6 Train: #ATLast

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During the finally weekend in September I took a mini break from and headed home for the Outkast show! Before I continue, there are a few things I must explain so you, the reader, are able to grasp why this was so transformative for me. I literally grew up listening to Outkast, the lullabies of my childhood. There’s something so gratifying about seeing the people of your town coming together for a shared experience. Andre 3000 & Big Boi permeated my youth as familiar figures in my life, reminiscent of boys from around my neighborhood. To me, they demonstrated the complexities of maturing in an city environment. Sometimes by sending out messages that sometimes seem conflicted, displaying the yearning to do right while simultaneously maintaining their ever coveted “manhood.”

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There was so much passion this weekend, overflowing from the center of Centennial Park, into the streets of Atlanta. It was impossible to escape. This irresistible sense of belonging sucked me. This was my tribe, I was home.

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As an out of state student, it’s can be easy to get sucked into this NY state of mind. I recognize just how important it is for me to stay connected to my hometown. Sometimes that means listening to some southern music, eating some southern food, or taking a weekend break to fly down South. New York is an amazing place to study, travel & live, but remembering your home & then bringing that flavor is makes you special! Don’t shy away from it!

All things Color, Love, & Fashion,
Ayanna L.