Monday, September 12, 2011

How do you figure out you made a wrong decision?


As I am sitting here watching the news coverage of the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 tragedies, I am witness to the kaleidoscope of change our nation has gone through.  Watching the emotions of the people as the names of the victims were called was hard and I found myself crying with them.  I empathize with the people and their losses and the process of rebuilding their lives.  And not just people – our nation, the city of New York and even the geographic space where the twin towers were housed – all needed to figure out what their validity and purpose would be.  The rest of us, we had to figure out what to do about the massive hole in our hearts and the sense of despair that was so prevalent throughout our nation.

David Brinkley said today during the news coverage that we have to be constantly in a state of renewal of our values, of our institutions and of our securities.  What matters to us?  What do we believe in?  What makes us feel safe?

This summer I made a massive change to my life, as most of you know.  I quit the security of a job that pays really well, has better bonuses than I’ve ever had before and has a benefits plan to make most people jealous.  I was so sure that I wanted to leave a position that I was good at for the insecurity of no job and trust that my brain is adept enough to master the demands of going back to college full time. 

I am proud of myself for making such a radical change but I have to be prouder of myself to have the courage to make a change when I feel something is not working.  College is hard.  Classes are stressful.  Deadlines are plentiful and consequences are great for failure to meet them. There is no time for a down day.  There is no time for aches and pains and headaches and fibro fog. 

Then there are also the pressures of life outside the classroom.  There is not a possibility to have school be my job.  I won’t go into details but let’s just say the economy hasn’t been good to us and I will start a new job shortly.  My new teammates have already told me the pressure of this new job and the challenges we will be fighting.

So, my heart is heavy and my brain won’t turn off – much like it was immediately after 9/11 – as I ponder what is right for me. I am in that constant state of renewal David Brinkley talks about.  I know there will be people disappointed in me and I can’t help that.  Whatever I decide, I will be at peace.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Is There a Method to the Madness?

On the second day of 2-D Design class (Monday), our instructor Dr. Hightower, gave us an assignment due for the next class on Wednesday.  Homework isn't a bad thing and since it is an art class I thought that it would be fun.  As she described what was due, I swear that smoke started coming out of my ears because my brain went on overload!  The bottom line was that we had a total of 72 thumbnail sketches -- eight were to be 4" by 5" and to show the transition of one word to another (my words were empty to full) and the other 64 thumbnails were to be 2 3/8" x 3" rectangles, 3" x 3" squares, 3" equilateral triangles and 3" diameter circles.  Just drawing out the grids for the thumbnail sketches took me all night!  Not to mention that I actually had to put some creativity behind it too.  Oh and did I mention there was going to be a quiz too?

Word Transition Sketch - Empty to Full
Well, I didn't finish the optical illusion thumbnails but spent a lot of time working on the word transition sketches which weren't really conveying what I was thinking, yet.  When I got to class I felt like a horrible loser.  Here we are on the third day of class and I'm already slacking off.  When I got to class though, I wasn't the only one! My heart and spirit lifted and then I got another sign. 

sample photo shopped version
I traditionally like to sit in the back of the classroom.  As Dr. Hightower was going through each of the sketches done by my classmates, the clock kept ticking away.  By 6:10, she was no where close to my desk.  She stopped and told us what our next assignments were.  Those word sketches that we had done, now we were to take the one that worked the best and expand it into eight more 4" x 5" sketches and from 32 sketches that were done for the square and rectangle illusions, were were to reproduce the best ones that represented that illusion through cutting out shapes in black paper to put on white paper.  Thank goodness we had the weekend to do this.

In yesterday's class, we had to take the second set of sketches we did for the word transition and scan them into the computer.  You all know I'm a not-so-closeted computer geek so I was really excited to get to play with this.  Then we played in Photoshop!  I'm still playing but interesting and fun stuff!

So there does seem to be a method to the madness.  Dr. Hightower is teaching us to solve design issues in our art.  My takeaway from this process and from art in general is that I need to slow down and let my brain work the process.


Monday, August 29, 2011

I Don't Remember Drowning...

I don't remember feeling this over my head the first time I was a full-time college student!  I'm thankful that my ever watchful lifeguard, Andy was on duty yesterday as I was close to tears trying to keep my head above the water.
 I don't think I ever embraced studying then.  I was always working and trying to stay afloat financially.  Maybe I have just wiped it out of my memory but I don't actually remember doing homework.  By the time I was a junior, I adeptly managed for my assignments do double duty.  Either I tutored someone on the literature that we were reading or I wrote articles that I got paid for AND could turn in as writing assignments.  I don't remember studying for anything.  Either I got it or I didn't and more often than not, I got it.

I have five classes I am taking.  Yes, I realize that is a lot of classes!  Yesterday as I was making sure I had everything done for my classes today, I fully realized that five  classes -- 15 credit hours -- was a lot.  My almost-ready-for-AARP brain doesn't absorb so much.  I am more like oil cloth then I am cotton.

Time management is critical for me at this junction.  I can no longer meander through the days, especially when I start to work (which I expect to start something in September), and do the home work and reading and thinking when I feel the motivation.  Motivation will now have to live on a time table, most likely between 6pm and 11pm.

Maybe by week four, I'll have mastered the art of swimming, on a time-table, and someone will give me a cotton towel.
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