Saturday, October 4, 2008

She "Iz" an island of calm

You might have seen her going for a walk in the Botanical Gardens or chatted to her on a hiking trip. You might have come across her in a tutorial in English, Geography, Geology, Philosophy or German or seen her bouncing to the beat of a live performance by 10 Points For The Dismount. You might have seen her in embroidered jeans, takkies and her Canterbury House hoodie or a flowing skirt, T-shirt and beaded slops. If you have seen Isabel “Izzy” Rawlins, you have seen a tall, confident 19-year-old who will readily greet you with wide blue eyes and an unassuming smile.

Tadasana – the mountain. A yoga position which symbolises the interconnection of body and mind.

Izzy is not used to talking about herself. She obliges, however, and soon her hands are gesticulating wildly to emphasise moments of her life story. Multi-coloured string bracelets which she wove herself catch your eye momentarily before you notice her black socks with grey skulls on them. The skulls become a blur as she becomes more passionate and swings her feet. Later as she explains details of her personality, she will start knitting her fingers through the scarf her mom crocheted. Izzy’s nature is by no means one-dimensional – she hides occasional volatility well – but it is the sense of calm and optimism which she exudes that is the most striking and admirable of her features; something which is uncommon in the life of a first-year.

Trikonasana – the triangle. Symbolises potential.

Having matriculated in 2006, Izzy left her home in Mtunzini (north of Durban) and spent the first half of the year travelling across Europe. She visited Wales, Paris, Rome, Vienna, Florence, London and Amsterdam. This taught her the level headedness she shows today. “I was so loskop at first,” she admits. “I didn’t write down addresses or phone numbers of the places I was supposed to be staying at and got lost once in London. What an ordeal.”

Bhujanasana. Symbolises transformation.

When Izzy first arrived at Rhodes, she found it difficult to adapt at first. “My mom wanted to do everything for me because she didn’t want me to do it alone, but I didn’t want that,” Izzy says. “When I go to a new place, I always want to be independent.” Homesickness wasn’t a problem then, but getting back into the ‘school’ routine was a source of frustration. “I became quite tense because it was a big change getting back into studying. My timetable is so full, with no free afternoons, and the pracs are the bane of my life.” Then she pauses. “But anyway...” She trails off – a prime example of the way Izzy refuses to dwell on negative thoughts. “I like being busy, I guess.” She also finds time to sketch, go on hikes with the Mountain Club, take part in inter-res sport, go to ballroom dancing classes and attend twice-weekly yoga sessions in town, as well as going out with friends to the Rat and Parrot and Yellow House.

Virabhadrasana – the warrior. Symbolises triumph.

With a hectic weekly schedule, Izzy finds time every morning to prepare for the day with yoga. “It’s so invigorating and it helps me to wake up,” she explains. “The breathing exercises centre you. Yoga releases endorphins and afterwards I feel this great tingly sensation in my body.” The yoga positions Izzy goes through every day tone the body but are also mentally empowering, helping her control the stresses of student life. She is not overcome by petty matters either. “I get angry when people when people are annoyed by small things, especially small things other people do. It’s just not important.” When she does get irritated with others, Izzy does not react to them. “I’m quite accepting of people so if I shout at them I always feel so bad afterwards, even if they deserved it. I also get angry with myself when small things annoy me.”

Balasana – the child. Symbolises unconditional love.

Balancing academic burdens, Rhodes society responsibilities and leisure time is a skill of Izzy’s that future first-years can only hope to achieve. The inspiration that Izzy offers is also evident to her peers. “What I like about her is that she’s positive all the time,” says Denashree Naidoo, a friend of Izzy’s. “And persistent.” “I’ve always done things for myself,” Izzy states. Her travelling and life at Rhodes has strengthened her independence. “Whatever I did, it was my own doing. And I’m really proud of that.”

Find out more about Izzy on her Facebook page.

1 comment:

izzy said...

thanks kitkat, that is a lovely piece of writing :)

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