It’s been rainy and windy in Chicago. In the past two days I’ve witnessed more umbrellas break than I can count. Today I stepped in a puddle and discovered my boots are no longer waterproof. But what does it all mean?! Basically that the seasons are changing, time marches on, I still haven’t figured out my Halloween costume, AND midterms are over. Also, it gets dark at 5 p.m. now.
Those of you on the edge of your seats can relax, my midterms were pretty uneventful this semester. It’s a rare occasion that I didn’t have a huge paper due or giant critique to prepare for. Both of those things are saved for the upcoming weeks. This semester has been about doing the work and trusting the process. Making, thinking, and seeing where things takes me (and then making some more).
Bonus confession: I keep sizable secret stash of chocolate in my studio.
One realization that I’ve had this semester is that my favorite part of grad school is the access it gives me. Access to both an inspiring community of makers and also to equipment that I never imagined I’d be able to work with. In my entrepreneurship class we have guest speakers each week that are each fascinating entrepreneurs in their own right. Each guest share’s their entrepreneurial journey and many insights they’ve learned along the way. Our ability to ask questions and get feedback from a variety of professionals has been invaluable. As I build my business in that class, I’m also working to develop a line of products. The prototyping and product development process is a thousand times easier with access to equipment like laser cutters and wide format digital fabric printers.
Bonus realization: Every morning the city streets smell like coffee and donuts.
My Mondays are spent on press. Columbia has an amazing letterpress studio. I come from a long line of printers but sadly my previous printing experience has been limited to the all-in-one-free-with-your-new-computer variety. Sure, I can scan and copy with the best of them but I’ve never really printed on a press. So I dedicated my Mondays to learning and getting comfortable in the letterpress studio. Most Mondays it’s pretty chill and there’s plenty of space to experiment. Each week, I come in with a project and leave with a stack of prints.
Bonus habit: Last month, I randomly rode in the first car on the train home from class. At first I thought someone was listening to their headphones really loud and then I realized it was the conductor singing. He had the most phenomenal voice, like he could win all talent shows ever. I took out my headphone and just listened. Ever since then I make it a point to ride in the first train car and listen.
I reread A Cyborg Manifesto this week for our class, The Body. This passage really stuck with me the past few days.
“The machine is not an it to be animated, worshipped and dominated. The machine is us, our processes, an aspect of our embodiment. We can be responsible for machines; they do not dominate or threaten us. We are responsible for boundaries; we are they.”
Donna Haraway, A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century
Bonus thought: If you want to get a taste of grad school read lots and lots of theory and then get so lost thinking about it that you forget you’re next in line for the self-checkout at the drug store.