So, I know that thesis year is supposed to be difficult. I get that. It’s designed so that I can exit into the world with a working practice that can carry me into the future… But this is not what I expected. This year has been the most difficult year of my life.
Let me clarify that a bit. At the beginning of the semester, I was feeling really great. I was cleared to go into thesis after receiving a conditional pass at the end of last year. I had a pretty good idea of what I was going to be producing and how I was going to present it. I was ready for thesis critiques. Then my 15 year old dog got sick. Like really sick. Arthritis, massive tumors, the works. We had to make the difficult decision to have her put to sleep the week before critiques. My critique went about how you would expect it to. I reworked my practice accordingly and was ready to pick myself up and head down a more socially engaged practice than I had been doing with my zine.
Then… My wife got sick. She has a mood disorder and ended up in the hospital for a couple of weeks. If you’ve been following along with me so far, you know that we have two small children, ages 3 and 6. We also don’t have a very solid support system, so we are pretty much left on our own with raising them. My folks live in another state and my partner’s both work crazy hours. So, that left me with being primary caregiver for a stretch. Don’t get me wrong, I love nothing quite as much as I do spending copious amounts of time with my kids. Clearly, I have built my whole artistic life around being their dad. But, that meant that I had to miss a bunch of classes to be able to take care of them.
I reached out to the students with disabilities office to see what they recommended I should do, since this set of circumstances seemed pretty unique. They recommended that I reach out to my staff and faculty to keep them in the loop. I did. I can’t register with the disabilities office, because it’s not my illness. Everything seemed to be running smoothly for a time, but now that I’m trying to get everything in order to return to classes, I’m realizing that I will probably need to apply for incompletes in a couple of my classes. I’m just hoping that the sudden resistance that I’m getting from some isn’t going to stop me from succeeding.
I’m so close to the finish line at this point, that I really cannot accept failure. But, my team is struggling and I’m scared. I’m trying my best to keep fighting the good fight, but it’s increasingly hard. I really want this. I need this degree. It’s as much for my family as it is for me.