I’ll be honest and say that senior year of college is a very wild time. Not wild as in “party party!!”, although that definitely occurs, but moreso wildly introspective as in “Oh lord, what is my life becoming and how has it ended up here?” A solid portion of my time is spent blankly staring into the distance worrying how I’m going to convince employers that I’m worth paying and why people are already sending me bills as if I can afford them. I won’t even delve into the odd transitions occurring in the amounts of body of hair I’m growing in various places, and the fact that I’m pretty sure I’m starting to hear my joints creak.
Despite the emotional maelstrom I face on a daily basis balancing my academic and steadily decreasing social life, there are also many upsides to being at one of the more terrifying transitional stages in my life. I am proud to say that I will be channeling all of my re-emerging teen angst into completely original artworks next semester through an art independent study. An independent study allows students to explore any topic of their choosing in their desired discipline, with useful guidance from a faculty advisor. It’s not a formal class because there are no scheduled meeting times; students work on their semester-long project on their own time but still get credit for it. To some this sounds like it just gives me time to lounge around and leisurely paint poorly inspired abstract works and then try to convince people it is “My Art!!” Unfortunately, I’m neither an abstract artist nor able to justify squandering this opportunity to myself. Instead, I’ll be managing myself, setting and achieving my own deadlines while pushing my artistic expression and idea conceptualization. It’s a large responsibility, but as long as I can maintain the illusion that I’m a properly adjusting adult, I have no doubt that I’ll be able to create some stuff that, at the very least, I’ll find cool.
I’m always surprised at how much stress committing to decisions that force me to take risks and mature causes me. However, thanks to deep breathing and the power of blind optimism, almost anything is surmountable. Although the art classes I’m in this semester have dragged me through artist hell, a very anti-social and gloomy place, they’ve introduced me to many new artistic concepts and materials, building a larger base from which I can develop my own artistic style. It also helps to constantly remind myself that I get to combine all of the drawing techniques I’ve learned throughout my time at Conn, or, to my professor’s dismay, throw them all out the window if I want. I can develop a more personalized portfolio that won’t have the same boring painting of a bowl of fruit, which I did poorly, by the way. I am not exactly sure what direction this project will take on once I start and whether this will be an attempt to combine all of my interests, dive deeper into my psyche, or visually reflect on my time at Conn. While this indecision is definitely partially because I am a hugely indecisive person (working on that) it’s also because I appreciate the deviations from pre-made plans that happen in the creative process, and I’m excited to see what comes of it.