What I see in vision boards


Greer Vermilye

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, vision boards have allowed me to lay out all types of aspirations.

By Defne Aslan

Recently, I reached the pinnacle of my high school career: I became a second-semester senior. Though I had anticipated this moment since first starting at Whitman as a freshman, I didn’t anticipate the feelings that would come with the last few months of high school; I felt an unsettling mixture of nostalgia, sadness and confusion about where the time went.

It’s challenging to keep track of everything I want to do in life. My list is currently topped by learning Arabic, getting over my fear of sharks and becoming a wildlife photographer.

When I first discovered vision boards, I felt that motivating myself through a collage of images representing my goals would have been more effective in elementary school rather than my senior year. However, laying out all of my bright aspirations was a welcome break from the overwhelming dullness brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Within a week, my bedroom walls were plastered with the most random of my goals, all glued together and decorated in vibrant colors. Whether it’s the street photography of New York City or a blue guitar that makes me want to rekindle my 10 year old self’s love of playing instruments, every time I walk into my room, I’m overwhelmed in the best way possible. Here are some reasons why I decided to start making vision boards.

Staying motivated

There has never been a better time for making vision boards than quarantine; being unable to freely spend time with friends and family is damaging for a number of students’ mental health. Crafting these vision boards has provided a small dose of motivation by reminding me of what I want my future to look like and how I can achieve it. For example, since I wasn’t able to visit many colleges due to the pandemic, making boards helped me understand what kind of a life I wanted in college and encouraged me to apply to the schools that would fit me the best.

Challenging my creativity 

Whether you see yourself continually changing your college major or are dead set on a fixed career path, we all have some idea of what we want our futures to look like. Regardless of how prepared you are for the next stage of your life, vision boards can make seemingly insignificant ideas feel larger than life; standing in front of a physical representation of your dreams can instill you with the notion that anything is possible. A few months ago, I bought several tubes of paint and a sketchpad. I used to avoid painting because I thought I was terrible at it, and even though I may not be the next Bob Ross, I realized that you don’t have to be extremely talented to enjoy what you do. From sketching abstract faces to swirling colorful paint together, all of the new techniques I’ve experimented with have taught me that I love learning new ways to be creative and finding inspiration in others’ artworks.

Pure enjoyment

Call me nostalgic — or a hoarder — but I have kept most of my school papers, second-grade Valentine’s Day letters and underwhelming report cards in a box that traveled with me when I moved to Bethesda from Turkey. I assume these vision boards will join my collection of academic memorabilia as a way to fondly look back on the past. It’s amusing to think about one day finding a board filled with my high school aspirations. I can’t wait to reflect on my adolescent mind 20 years from now. While the unpredictability of the future might seem bleak right for the right moment, vision boards have reminded me there is always something to look forward to.