It has been a long time since I last updated, but I wasn't anticipating this semester to be more all-consuming than last. I was postponing a new blog entry until after I cam back from the Surface Design Association Conference, but I had such a rotten day and am currently so disillusioned by graduate school that I had to rant.
At the end of last year all I wanted to do was go to graduate school, and, don't get me wrong, I still do. I had to fight to validate my reasoning to go to school, especially my reasoning for staying at ECU. Now that I am in the system, however, there is just so much red-tape and hoop-jumping that it screws with you. For instance, try having your review process changed from twice throughout the course of your masterwork, to annually, for the joint purpose of making the school "look good" and because some slack ass students in the past have been unprepared and unable to compose a thesis in the past. Add on top of the annual review the fact that you have to present at a university wide research and creative achievement symposium your "research". Ironic, needless to say, since I was informed that the first year of graduate school was about experimentation: finding yourself in your work and the direction that you want it to go in. I have been so overwhelmed and disturbed by the looming necessity to conduct research and produce a corresponding body of work that there has been little time for experimentation.
And, oh yes, that whole "experimentation" idea is completely undermined when a graduate student has to have a concept for EVERYthing he or she does. So much for creating work to experiment just for the sheer purpose of experimenting.
Now, as an undergrad, one of the most annoying things was not being able to register for classes because of major restrictions, concentration restrictions, or because you were forced to take classes out of order in order to graduate on time. While some of those issues have subsided, one of the most frustrating aspects of grad school is the red tape you have to go through just to get into the classes you want to take. As it was put so nicely to me today: "bending over your elbow to get to your knee". Now, graduate students are required to take elective classes. I can live with that. However, your options for graduate level-electives are quite limited, so it is not uncommon for a graduate student to want to take an undergraduate level elective. No problem, right? Uh, no. As a graduate student yo have to verbally justify why you feel you should be permitted to take that class and how your work will be different. Well, here's the simple, overarching answer: I feel I should be permitted to take that class because there is no way that I am qualified to take a graduate level course in any other concentration area other than my own. There is no way that I can produce the same quality work in terms of technique in painting as a PAINTING graduate. There is no way that I am qualified to take a graduate level sculpture class because I have never used a welder in my life, and frankly, I am petrified to. I can't use the computer programs that AID and graphic design would require me to use. I'm by no means proficient in printmaking, illustration, metals or photography and I have no interest in taking a wood class because power tools and I don't mix. Art histories are no problem, but I have already taken most of them. I could take an Art Ed. course, but that is not going to happen because of past issues and I can't take a textiles course because, obviously, those don't count as electives. So that pretty much leaves all of three random graduate level classes to take as electives, and since I need four electives, well I guess I am going to have to take an undergrad course. As to how my work will be different than the undergrads in the same class, well, I can't answer that. I would hope that my work would be better, but frankly, I am entering that class with virtually the same skill set they are, and seeing how I am still a student myself, I could potentially produce some really awful pieces. Sometimes I really think the faculty and administration forget that fact: that I am still a student. I am still learning. I am NOT a professional. That's why I am in school.
*sigh* Am I disillusioned, yes. But everything in life is disillusioning at some time. It does help to rant.