dark academia in real life


If you’re on Pinterest or Tumblr, you have probably seen the “dark academia” aesthetic. I came across a few posts, and I realized that DA is something I’ve been a part of for my whole life. I’d like to explain with a list (because lists are just a part of this blog, and you know it).

  • Reading Alice in Wonderland, deciding I didn’t like the ending, and writing my own where Absolem convinces Hatter to jump through a portal and visit Alice instead
  • Filling notebooks with stickers, receipts, little scraps of pretty fabric or flowers, and any thought that pops into my head
  • Making a cup of tea or coffee when something doesn’t feel right
  • Always focusing better when it’s raining or gloomy outside
  • Loving long walks and picnics
  • Craving second-hand bookstores and thrift shops because I like to imagine the lives of the people who owned the things I purchase there
  • Keeping movie tickets, programs, concert bracelets, and railway cards in a lockbox to preserve the memories
  • A shelf of photo albums from my childhood
  • Late-night research about psychology, ancient architecture, or what it would be like to live in 18th-century London
  • Smiling at animals and calling them beautiful
  • Hearing “mystery of love” by Sufjan Stevens and realizing it’s an anthem for life
  • Planning anything and everything, down to the last detail, but always changing something someone else planned because it’s creative expression
  • My favorite color is dark forest/army green, and most of my room is denim, green, gray, and cozy brown
  • Giving each of my plants names, and some of them represent my friends, so if they aren’t doing well I check on the friend
  • Doing nothing on road trips but listening to classical music and staring out the window
  • Owning more jackets than any other item of clothing
  • Preferring to walk or bike rather than drive
  • Hating crowded places, but liking to watch crowds from a distance to see how other people interact
  • Keeping a frantic, giant mountain of different ideas in my notes app (but very well organized)
  • Hiding polaroids and small objects I find on nature walks in bags and jacket pockets, not finding them till later
  • Owning far too many pens, but organizing them by type… ordering refills of the ones I like
  • Insisting on visiting a city strip mall just so I can examine the Japanese paper in that one stationery store, holding a freshly-purchased notebook to my cheek because the pages are so soft
  • Learning better when I hear something out loud, rather than see or touch it
  • Spending hours staring out my window while clouds gather in the sky and a storm pours over the world
  • Watching the entire Harry Potter series every fall, making some of the foods they have in the Great Hall
  • Feeling guilty about keeping books I love because other people should read them, too
  • Highlighting quotes I love in “Looking for Alaska,” specifically the quote that says “NEVER USE A HIGHLIGHTER IN MY BOOKS!”

I’m going to stop here… but I think I’ll do a part 2 later because I really enjoyed making this list! Comment any dark academia things you do in your life and why you like it. 🙂

–ellynn ❤

student of life.


Learning can become tedious to any student, particularly in high school. Why? A high school student has minimal autonomy but growing maturity. They have interests that seem better than the classroom, and they aren’t paying to learn about biology or physics or art. They are placed, for four years, in a building filled with others who are also placed there, and it can become monotonous.

I’m not writing this to discourage parents from sending their children to high school — I’m writing it to emphasize a point. When forced to learn, we don’t like to learn. I’m a senior this year, which means I have a bit more choice in the matter of what I can study and with whom. I get a little more freedom to explore my passions.

I’m a firm believer in the phrase “student of life,” as I’m sure you can see by scrolling through a few of my posts (which I highly recommend you do). When I find myself uninspired, I usually try to learn something new! I like to uncover new ideas about lifestyles, skills, and passions.

Feeling like life is a bit mundane? Sometimes, what we need is a little perspective change. Pick up a book or listen to a podcast about a new way of living you’ve never tried. Try it out for a day or week or month. Even if you don’t stick with it, it’s a fun way to see how it affects you and why other people might do it.

Needing a challenge? There are so many exciting new things to try! See what sorts of new skills you can adopt. Pick something. I’ve tried knitting (in several forms), duct tape art, robotics, kickboxing . . . none of them worked for me, but I had fun trying them! And what’s more, trying new skills gave me a little background knowledge so that when I do run into someone who enjoys those certain activities, I have a little “Rolodex” of information ready.

Simply want inspiration? The internet is a beautiful place. You can find inspiration for your own passions on Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, YouTube, and so much more. You can create playlists of new music or look through curated blog posts to find the spark you’re searching for. What usually gets my creativity flowing is reading a bit, going outside, sipping a cup of tea, and sitting down to clear my head with a little meditation.

You see, being a student of life takes a lot of self-discipline. It can be boring to sift through things that don’t interest us, or trying something new can be difficult or inconvenient. That being said, there’s also something about “studying life” that is so much more rewarding than a classroom setting. It’s a taste of what’s out there: it’s a way to connect to new people, places, ideas, beliefs, and concepts.

I love school, and I’m going to pursue a mastery level education, but I’m encouraging you today to explore something out of your comfort zone. Google “lifestyle” and pick one to try. Or “skill” and do the same, for a little bit, at least. Embrace your Hermione Granger and read all the books! Happy studying.