Hello From the Other Side (of the Semester)

Hello From the Other Side (of the Semester)

Hi again, reader!

Summer has officially arrived, which is something I can finally say now that all of those lingering post-semester loose ends have been neatly tied. Grades posted, documentation of projects submitted, and final feedback given to my students, I can at last let out that first exhale of post-semester release and take in the first breath of summer.

A view of my final installation Yo Sola/Solo Yo from my Directed Graduate Projects course.

Finishing this semester was of particular significance for me, as it marked the completion of my first two years of graduate school, leaving only my thesis year ahead. Though I’ve mentioned that it’s cathartic to be done with these first two years, thesis year is really only a few months away and, in effect, ever-present in my mind.

Nonetheless, creatively, my semester ended on a high point for me. On presenting my final installation for my Directed Graduate Projects course, I received a great response and extremely productive feedback that I am now considering as I move forward in conceiving of what my thesis work will be at Columbia College Chicago.

I know that perhaps this doesn’t seem so exciting, to feel like you are prepared to continue working toward something rather than to have a finite idea of what that something is, but to me that has been part of the mutual challenge-joy dichotomy of pursuing an MFA. That is to say, figuring things out and fitting pieces together is half the fun.

While, naturally, there is a bit of anxiety accumulating around this point, it is alleviated by knowing that each semester I’ve successfully completed has prepared me for this. Being at the precipice of something rather than having already arrived isn’t discouraging at all when you feel so wholly, truly prepared for what lies ahead.

Aside from my ongoing preparation for thesis, my summer has already set off to an active engagement with the arts. Last weekend I served as an assistant educator at the Art Institute of Chicago’s Let’s Move Family Festival. Here, I worked with another teaching artist to engage museum visitors in an in-gallery art-making experience reflecting on the idea of personal journeys in conversation with the 1935 work Train Station by Walter Ellison.

This was a wonderful experience for me on so many levels, not the least of which is the great happiness it gives me to continue my relationship with the Art Institute of Chicago following my Museum Education internship with them last summer. I also saw this work’s connection to my own artistic practice and personal journey.

Finally, we arrive at the present and what I am doing in the next several days. I’ll preface this by saying that something else this semester and my experience as a whole at Columbia has taught me is that it’s important to practice self-care in order to positively shape your creative output. And so this week finds me back at home (in Atlanta), enjoying time with my family and friends before getting back to the business of making art after the restful holiday weekend!