Greetings for one last time in 2017, reader, this time from Georgia!
I am back home for just over a week to celebrate the holidays and relax with family and friends, trying to temporarily defer nagging thoughts of next semester’s thesis exhibition preparations. These thoughts, however, are very real ones as I consider everything that mounting my thesis work will entail.
This includes everything from carpentry to projection to video, so it’s easy to feel overwhelmed thinking about accomplishing it all in the next semester. However, having just completed and submitted my thesis paper, which just weeks ago seemed insurmountable, I know that I can relish this momentary break and resume thesis work in the new year.
To affirm this sentiment, I will share a passage from that very thesis paper reflecting on the experience of graduate school for me thus far:
“The Master of Fine Arts program in Interdisciplinary Arts and Media at Columbia College Chicago began for me at a point when I had been removed from artmaking in an academic environment for many years. Whether or not this affected my experience within the program, at this juncture, I feel would be a premature assessment. What I can say with certainty, however, is that the program has challenged me, often made me uncomfortable, and at once made me feel fully supported by a faculty and staff whom I can regard as advocates and proponents of my interests and success.
Strongly grounded in ‘traditional’ media before arriving in the program, its interdisciplinary and new media emphasis is what mutually drew me toward and terrified me of it. It represented what I saw as the way that contemporary art functioned in the present, but I questioned how I, rooted in the world of objecthood and materiality, would ever contend with the ‘new’ of new media. Again, at the risk of seeming taciturn, that is not something that I really think I have the answer to, still, but it is also something that this program has enabled me not to belabor, as I might have before.
I feel empowered, capable as a result of constantly, seemingly miraculously confronting and understanding technologies, practices, and modes of thought I had never before encountered. And though it feels anticlimactic to not somehow quantify my accomplishments to you here, I am comfortable in saying—quite resolutely—that this program has bolstered my confidence as an individual and prepared me to take on whatever lies ahead. And, indeed, ahead is where I look toward on closing this chapter in building my artistic practice…my thesis project, this last graduate work of mine marks my entry into the professional art world, a world that I am now equipped and elated to join.”
With this affirming thought, I leave you to continue enjoying this brief respite from thesis work, instead concentrating my attention now on eating in excess, spending quality time with loved ones, and fending off crowds to finish my holiday shopping (a feat in itself on a graduate student budget)!