One Year of Whiteboard Wisdom

With all things said and done, my first year of university turned out to be a lot of things… Challenging, eye-opening, exciting, infuriating, adventurous, and sometimes even a little bit educational. My worldviews have shifted, my daily routines have been overhauled, I’ve made connections that will last a lifetime, I’ve fallen in love with the West Coast, and ultimately, I think I’ve become more of myself.

Throughout it all, I’ve been very fortunate to have three amazing roommates, Megan, Maddie, and Maria, along for the journey, who have quickly become nothing short of family. In our cozy little Cluster townhouse on campus, fondly referred to as the ‘Granola Cluster,’ we consistently took advantage of our kitchen whiteboard as a place to document our current thoughts, wildest dreams, inside jokes, and words of wisdom.

Over the course of the year, the whiteboard regularly became filled with ideas, erased, and then filled again. Each time, the crowded board seemed to serve as a representative snapshot of the previous few weeks of our lives. Feeling a bit nostalgic at the time, I began taking photos of the board each time before we erased it, and eventually developed quite the collection.

In the photos below, I’m sure that you’ll notice quite a few reoccurring themes, which are an accurate representation of our regular household conversations… environmental activism, overthrowing capitalism, vegetables, tiny houses, the van life, etc. What else would first-year Environmental Studies and Biology students talk about late at night?! Please enjoy this little glimpse in to one year at the Granola Cluster.


  • Check out these great TED Talks: ‘The Power of Vulnerability,’ ‘The New American Dream,’ ’10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation,’ and ‘How to Start a Movement.’
  • “The world does not need more successful people. What the world desperately needs is healers, restorers, organic farmers, folk musicians, vegans, volunteers, and lovers of every kind.” (This quote was adapted from an article that I read for my first semester ES 200 course, called ‘What is Education For?’ by David Orr. I’d highly recommend giving it a read.)
  • A kind note from our next door neighbour, reminding us to “KEEP SHINING.”


  • Fun fact! 51% of millennials no longer support the system of capitalism.
  • Some good blogs to check out for inspirational ideas: The First Mess, Zero Waste Chef, Permaculture Apprentice, Minimalist Baker.
  • What’s wrong with the world? Consumerism, pursuit of economic growth, neoliberalism.
    Solutions? Meaningful relationships, minimalism, no-growth economy, peace & love & fresh air, eat vegetables.
  • Our top travel destinations: New Zealand, Indonesia, Iceland, the Yukon, California, Costa Rica, Papa New Guinea.


  • A little reminder… “It’s been 8 months since we were in high school.” (Woah.)
  • Some lovely doodles of nerdy Biology things including the Fibonacci sequence, a Golgi apparatus, ferns, and some kind of seaweed.
  • “Only when the last tree has been cut and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.”


  • Happy Birthday Megan! (We all turned 19 within a couple weeks of each other. Good times, good times.)
  • Some rad portraits of the four of us wearing sunglasses drawn by our friend, Riley.
  • Current sources of happiness: Chocolate, knitting, acoustic guitar, roasted veg, Friday.
  • A spectacular mountain landscape drawing by Maddie and Maria.


  • “Separateness is suffering; unity is freedom. Unite with yourself and the world.”
  • Hippie drawings of mushrooms and crystals, a nature mandala, vegetables, and a sunrise over the ocean.
  • Rough calculations of our rent for next year… Ahhh, the classic student house hunt.
  • “Instantaneous forgiveness.”
  • A great vegan pun: “Beet the system.” HA.


  • Just some friendly reminders… “Slow down, breathe deeply.” “Listen with presence.” “Remember your place.” “Live your truth.” “You have everything you need to thrive.” “Be the first to trust.”
  • “Welcome home, my lovelies!” (I was home alone over the spring reading week, taking an Environmental Studies course called Leadership Skills for Community Action. Meanwhile, my roommates were away travelling along the Oregon Coast!)
  • Some advice from one of my favorite professors: “Cultivate your personal ecology.” This is such a great way to essentially say ‘take care of yourself.’


  • Finally, just a beautiful, abstract drawing by Maddie, accompanied by the quote, “If you’re quiet enough, you will hear the flow of the universe. You will feel its rhythm. Go with this flow. Happiness lies ahead.”

Much love to Megan, Maddie, and Maria for being here by my side to share in the energy and excitement of what was truly a memorable year at the Granola Cluster. On that note, here’s to many more wonderful memories, authentic conversations and innovative ideas as our university journey continues in the years to come.

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2 Responses

  1. Megan says:

    Couldn’t help but notice you’re in the same room I will be in this year! Reading back through all these old posts has me incredibly excited for everything that’s coming up very soon – I am also double majoring in ES and geography. I’m connecting very deeply to a lot of what you have to say! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences, and see you at UVic soon!

    • Hannah Estabrook says:

      Thank you so much for reading & commenting! I’m glad that you can connect to some of my experiences & ideas. Exciting that you’ll be coming to UVic next year! If you’d like any advice/ insight about UVic, feel free to get in touch with me.