It's Been A Year
A year ago I hopped on a train and then a bus to New York, to interview for a spot at the London College of Fashion. In honor of its anniversary, I decided to share the story with you. Fair warning it’s a long but eventful story!
Back it up to over a year ago, September 2016. I was exploring the streets of London when I looked up and saw a building that read London College of Fashion. I thought to myself, “ this is where I should have gone to school.”
Okay now back to January 2017, after coming to the final decision that teaching was not for me, I didn’t know what the next step was. I knew I ultimately wanted to work in fashion and live in London but had very little idea how to make that dream a reality. I was reluctant to going back and getting another degree because I had just graduated from college and every fiber of my being was so done with the routine of school. But pursuing something I love was more important than giving up just because I was tired. I researched fashion schools in the U.S. but LCF was living in the back of my mind while pulling at my heartstrings. As the deadline for admissions was approaching, I convinced myself to at least complete the application. I had no fashion experience other than my insatiable love for the art form, my Instagram, and a few videos on my YouTube channel, so I was fully prepared to hear a “no but thanks for applying” or nothing at all.
Obviously I heard something back or I wouldn’t be writing this post. I received an e-mail, with information to set up a phone interview as well as dates to choose from for my in person interview in New York.
The problem was, I had just started a new job a couple months prior and felt that I couldn’t request time off to go and interview for a spot that could potentially require me to leave this new job, especially if I didn’t get in. So I had a couple days in between my shifts that just happen to be when I needed to be in New York and thought I could go up and come back without having to tell anyone why I was going.
I had it all planned, I was going to take a $15 bus to NJ where I’d stay with a lovely friend for a couple days, go to my interview and then take another bus back to VA in time to go see Beauty and the Beast with my best friend.
God has a sense of humor. Little did I know that it would be the snowiest week of the whole year, and my couple days turned into an entire week. But throughout that week I saw God’s humor and kindness in so many little things.
Starting with the bus ride to NJ. I was sat next to the window, thinking and praying about what this whole thing meant. I tried not to set too high of expectations and get too excited by telling myself that it wasn’t a big deal. If I didn’t get in nothing changed, but I was not prepared if I did get in because then everything changed.
As I was listening to a podcast about trusting in God and being willing to examine my motives and expectations I was also looking through Instagram when I saw this…
Everything will be fine. No matter what.
I stepped off of that bus onto another one, just in the nick of time. However, I needed bus fare and I didn’t have any cash. I asked if the driver would be willing to wait so I could use the ATM just outside the bus doors, but he wasn’t showing me any mercy. As I began to feel anxious and a bit embarrassed that I now had to get off the bus, a kind girl in brown boots, without saying a word, reached over to the driver and paid my bus fare.
Everything will be fine. No matter what.
It was so simple and some might say an insignificant act, but I saw God’s provision and peace through this unknown sister’s selflessness.
Speaking of a sister’s selflessness, my wonderful friend Jes and her family opened up their home to me for the week. The opportunity to learn more about my friend and experience her lifestyle and culture was something I will always cherish. She and her family are Muslims and I am a follower of Jesus, two worlds meeting and abiding in peace, love, respect, and cooperation. This is how it should be.
As for those who claim to love the same Jesus I do but don’t have love or even respect for others, especially those of a different religion, I pray that other people don’t take them as the truth. I pray that people will experience and come to know Jesus, or at the very least see Jesus through the love and grace that comes from peaceful relationships with those who know him.
Back to the story. The snow caused my interview to be rescheduled to the 17th instead of the 15th of March. This meant that we were essentially trapped in the house for a few days because snow is debilitating and a nightmare when you actually have things to do. Fortunately the two days before my interview we were able to get out of the house for a bit. The first trip was a visit to the mall, where I fulfilled two dreams. The first dream that was fulfilled, I personally styled my friend and helped her find clothes that made her feel as beautiful as she looks, and the second, I got to hold one of my dream Gucci bags for a decent amount of time. I didn’t want to be one of those girls and ask for a picture with it but I do have this:
The second day we got out of the house, the day before my interview, I wanted to make sure I knew where I was going and exactly how much time it would take to get to the We Work building, the place where I would have my interview. So we ventured into NYC.
Thankfully, the We Work building was just a few blocks ahead of the bus station. I stood there looking at it and the scenic area that enveloped the building, praying that my interview would go well and that God would give me some sort of clarity that I was doing the right thing.
I needed affirmation and assurance that I could do this and it was something worth pursuing. And then I looked up and cried:
For some reason I hadn’t noticed it at any point in the previous fifteen minutes or so we had been there, but I stood by a magical carousel covered in snow and cried because I got what I needed.
The next morning I took an uber instead of a bus, sat in a Pret across the street and enjoyed a peaceful breakfast before I took myself and cumbersome luggage into the inspiring building I had seen the day before. (Oh forgot to mention my bus home was scheduled for 45 minutes after my interview. Hence the luggage.)
The inside of the building felt enchanting. I knew it was a place where people were inspired to get things done and I felt lucky to be able to be a small part of it. Even if I was just on the outside looking in. Or on the inside looking in? You get it.
This was it.
Myself and two extremely kind, stylish, and intimidating British women got into an elevator (or lift), and went to an office that looked more like a well decorated apartment, where I handed over my laptop and my scarcely filled but chic accordion folder for them to determine if I had what it took to attend one of the top fashion schools in the world. No big deal right?
I felt oddly at ease, comfortable even. I could hear my videos playing from the other side of the wall and a muffled comment every now and then, but Instead of worrying myself over what I thought they were thinking, I took it all in. I felt unbelievably grateful that I was there and for the week I had, minus the snow. The only real concerns I had were:
1. If I get in, will I be abandoning my best friend? She was in one of the most difficult times of her life and had lost so much already. I didn’t want to add on top of it by telling her I’m moving to London. However if we’re being honest I needed her more than she needed me.
2. Will I make it to the bus stop in time?
3. Will I get back in time to see Beauty and the Beast with my best friend?
But before I could really even stress about those things, they called me back into the room and we discussed why I wanted to go, what I wanted to do, my creative thought process, etc. They told me about the program, asked a few more questions and then offered me a spot at the school. It still feels like it was a dream and I’m often at a loss as to why they chose me. My portfolio wasn’t even what they had asked for, but they were authentically interested in my abilities and I was thrilled.
Until I reached the bus stop, stood almost two hours in the snow for a bus ride back to my car to find out that my car keys were nowhere to be found, so I waited two hours in the rain for my best friend to pick me up from the train station, waited for a tow truck that almost killed my best friend by forcing her to jump up and straddle the parking booth, and then we drove at a speed that could shame a race car driver to my house just for an XL pizza that was stress eaten in five minutes.
I told you it was eventful.
After all of that, you may be wondering, “[i]f that was a year ago, Kaylyn why aren’t you in London at the school?”
Good question. The short answer is I couldn’t afford to pay for the tuition out of pocket and yes I searched high and low for any options but there weren’t any. I even deferred the acceptance to this upcoming fall so I could save a little more money. There was only one option through a credit union that allowed me to apply for a loan and if approved it would cost me $800 per month starting 45 days from that day. I currently work in retail, I don’t make enough for that to have been an option. I received many suggestions from people who love me as well as good advice in strict budgeting, but it wasn’t coming together for one reason or another.
Devastated and disappointed feel too small of words for how I felt. I didn’t realize how bad I wanted this until it was taken away. It was another moment where I felt shaken and like the floor had been ripped out from under me. I had to come to terms with what it meant to have to stay where I am and what does the next step look like towards achieving my goals of working in the fashion industry and one day living in London?
I’m still trying to figure that out.
All I know is that plans are inevitably changed, and I can either choose to be bitter and defeated or I can take things day by day by pursuing what I love, while finding peace and reassurance that my hope is in God. He’s proven Himself to be faithful even though He owes me nothing.
That isn't to say it hasn't been hard. It's been an incredibly painful healing process, but that is for another post.