As the semester draws to an inexplicably rapid close and the tension of its final deadlines at last begins to dissipate, it seems like an appropriate time to reflect on another chapter’s completion and plan for the one still ahead. So here I present to you what I hope will serve as a fitting overview of and denouement to this semester, by course.

A moment of happiness and calm at the opening reception for my exhibition project, Mediating Bodies.

Nearing the semester’s end, a moment of happiness and calm at the opening reception for my exhibition project, Mediating Bodies.

Conceptual Strategies with Jeff Abell

I enrolled in this course initially because I knew that it was going to be a requirement for the incoming cohorts of MFA Interdisciplinary Arts & Media and Book & Paper students and was intrigued by the possibility to interface with a new set of faces. Now that we’ve had our last class meeting, I stand by that decision and logic. I truly did learn a lot from my peers in this environment, getting to observe different working methods and thought processes and even, on occasion, to make work in reaction to these differences. At the same time, I became aware of many points of conceptual overlap between my classmates and me and am now beginning to consider potentials for future collaboration. This course–and Jeff, certainly–broadened my thinking on making work and how that can be accomplished.

Body, Space, and Image with Adam Brooks and Cecil McDonald

I will recall this course as one that made me unbelievably inclined to talk through and about my work and the work of my peers. With the unwavering encouragement that Adam and Cecil provided, I  believe that a naturally dialogical class environment was established. Here, too, I had the opportunity to interact with students outside of my own cohort and–even further–outside of graduate study at Columbia. I was beyond impressed with the level of technical and conceptual rigor everyone’s work demonstrated in this class and can only credit that rigor to the corresponding amount of critical discussion had in the course.

Mediating Bodies Curatorial Independent Study with Fo Wilson and Matthew Shenoda

This curatorial project, which you may note now has a proper exhibition name, offered me a unique experience that I’m grateful to have had during my graduate studies–an experience that I feel mirrors the “real” world. That is to say, setting and managing my own goals, deadlines, and “deliverables” felt very much like the experience I had between my undergraduate and graduate studies working outside of academia. It was supremely gratifying to make something all my own given just a general framework of expectations. Here, I found a large measure of fulfillment in learning through doing, with the reassurance of having the support and confidence of Fo and Matthew.

Now to what lies ahead. Emily Schmidt, one of our Graduate Admissions Counselors here at Columbia, asked all of the Graduate Ambassadors recently for our new year’s resolutions. I responded by saying that I wanted to commit to being disciplined about working on my artistic practice daily and, while I still intend to hold to this goal, after what I’ve experienced and learned this semester I’d also like to commit to the “new year’s resolution” of continually challenging myself through new experiences, interactions, and ideas.

For now, reader, I wish you happy holidays and assure you that you can expect much, much more from me soon!