Don’t Panic, Get Your Work Done!

Don’t Panic, Get Your Work Done!

The MFA Thesis Exhibition installs in 5 weeks, and yeah, we’re trying to remember to take deep breaths.

T-Minus 5 weeks until the big installation of 11 MFA graduate students’ work. We have mock-ups to create, test prints to try, framing to order, hanging techniques to perfect, edits to make, tears to dry, coffee to drink…

There is a LOT happening, and all of it is truly exciting.

This year, the MFA Thesis Exhibition will be hosted at MANA Contemporary, just west of Chinatown here in Chicago. The opening is May 11th, and it runs until the 28th of May. I’ll be giving more info as the deadline creeps closer, but man… How did it come up so quickly? Wasn’t it just yesterday I was standing in my first critique, shaking like a leaf?

Now I’m getting ready to present my work with 10 other extremely talented and hard working peers. Funny how time flies.

We’re all working hard to pull this thing off while also applying for jobs, residencies, internships…It’s a crazy time. Nothing about this is easy. We are all very tired, crabby, hungry, and stressed. My hair is falling out in clumps.

But none of us would rather do anything else.

We worked our tails off these past 2-3 years. We cried, we bled (at least I did– X-ACTO knives at 4 a.m. are a bad idea, kids), we laughed and we made photographs. Sure, this is all very overwhelming and sometimes we feel like we’re going to be sick, but it’s going to be so worth it. This show is going to be kick-ass and rad and everything that the Columbia College Chicago Photography MFA program is: awesome.

In the meantime, we’re doing some editing.

And some hanging.

The good news is, despite how crazy stressed we all are, things are coming together for some of us. One of our graduating graduate students just received a residency in Alaska for the summer, and in the fall she’s doing a fully-funded project in Australia. I’m going to Asia for two months to complete a photo project, and another of us just got into a master’s program for business. Others have shows, some have been shortlisted for awards, and a few have jobs lined up.

When I was looking into graduate programs two years ago, I asked each program a very important question: What are alumni up to? Columbia College Chicago impressed me the most by having a list of names right off of the top of their heads, and a list of accomplishments for those alums. I was super impressed with the success rate of this school.

And now that I’m on my way out the door, I can see why. We work hard, and hard work always pays off.