Carpe diem.
Seize the day, boys.
Make your lives extraordinary.
- The Dead Poets Society

Academia as a whole is no doubt one of my favourite aesthetics. From a very young age, I can remember getting lost in libraries, hiding amongst the shelves, and just sitting quietly, surrounded by books. There was just something so calming about it; like I was absorbing knowledge straight from their pages, and I did it whenever I got the chance. It kickstarted my passion for learning, and the intense, insatiable curiosity that has lingered somewhere in the depths of my chest ever since.

In general, my style is a little all over the place, but can usually be narrowed down to two categories: vintage boho, and academic (with the occasional sporty chic look rearing its head every-so-often). Today, I wanted to explore the academic aesthetic a little more, specifically looking at Dark Academia and its lesser-known relation, Light Academia.

The brilliant thing about both of these versions of academia is that they can both be interpreted in different ways by different people; but at their core, they're about romanticising the curiosity that is inherent in seeking knowledge simply for the sake of knowledge.

Dark Academia

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I gave my heart to dark academia a very, very long time ago. It's sitting at your desk, writing furiously and smearing ink across the pages as you listen to the rain outside hitting your windowpane. It's laughing wildly in a smoky, candlelit room, wine in hand, as you and your friends discuss poetry and debate. It's giving in to your wildest indulgences, and your greatest pleasures, knowing that you'll gain something from them.

Dark academia taught me what it truly means to be hungry for knowledge. It taught me that dedication and hard work get you a long way, and that in the end you'll be rewarded with so much more than you started with. It's not necessarily a love for studying or schoolwork, but it is about an intense passion for learning, and indulgence, and a recognition that being a little pretentious is not always a bad thing.

Light Academia

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Known as the "emotional opposite" of dark academia, light academia is more focused on the things we do in the daylight hours, washed warm by the sun's golden rays, rather than in the nighttime and the rain. It's about a focus on all of the little things in life, taking joy in each and every single one of them.

To me, light academia is soft woollen jumpers and wire-rimmed glasses. It's sitting on the lawn in the sun, studying with your friends. It's stopping, when your arms are tired and your brain is fried, to take a walk amongst the greenery, and breathe in the fresh air. It's a ballad playing softly through your headphones as you sit on the bus home, watching the sun slowly set across the horizon, and thinking excitedly about a warm cup of tea and your comfortable, cosy bed.

So, what's the verdict?

I love both of these aesthetics with my whole being. There's very little else I've resonated with growing up, and as a student whose future career will be an academic one, I truly feel like it's the sort of thing that just takes my soul in its arms and feels right.

If you had to ask me to choose, however difficult that would be, I would have to go with dark academia, in the end. You may disagree with me, and that's absolutely your right. But I've always been a bit abrasive, never quite soft enough for the gentle tones of light academia, despite how much I wish I was. Dark academia has shown me a way that I can own my stubbornness, and my unyielding curiosity, and my will to do whatever it takes to get to where I want to be.

I'm at home in the rain, with a notebook, waiting for the clouds to clear and the stars to come out.

love always,
~ Brie x