And Beyond

I am officially no longer an art student. Eventually I will change my blog description, “my life at art school (and beyond),” but before I do I will write one last post about the beyond. AKA, Minneapolis and the University of Minnesota.

Mom and I arrived Saturday night and moved me into my apartment on Sunday. Since that afternoon, I’ve been more or less on my own in a new city. It has given me plenty of time to plan, reflect, panic, and repeat this process a shocking amount of times for having only been here a few days. Also I went to an art museum.

What I get asked about most often, however, is the planning, so I would like to take a second to update those of you who may be interested but haven’t had the chance to ask. My major is yet undeclared, but I anticipate a double major in English and German. I have registered for classes and will be taking German, Textual Analysis, and Human Evolution starting in September. I live in an apartment off campus and my roommates are neither the wild party animal nor the translucent shut-in type. So it’s off to a pretty good start, I’d say.

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However, none of this is set in stone. I decided today that I might want to be an archaeologist instead of whatever job you get with a German and an English degree. (Seriously though, what job do you get with that? Asking for a friend.) Tomorrow I’ll probably want to be a historian or a research psychologist or a cartographer, and that’s where the reflection comes in.

Mostly I consider the juxtaposition of who I was, who I am, and who I will be. I know you’re thinking it, and I agree that yes, I do need to get my head out of my own ass. But when everyone is asking for the information I just provided and I give it to them with no impression that any of that will remain true, it’s hard not to get caught up in this sort of thinking.

On the one hand, I have always enjoyed reading and writing, and more recently writing about reading. I know I’ve wanted to become fluent in a foreign language since I was young, and I have a better chance with German than anything else. I also remember how much I missed these things when I didn’t have them. But on the other hand, I went to an art museum today, alone and on purpose. One year ago I would rather have laid down in traffic, but now I actively seek out art museums because I think they’re fun. Of all the things that have happened to me since this year started, that is the one I anticipated the least. I don’t even know who I am anymore.

Now this is where the panic sets in. Despite being woefully under-qualified for the position, I am in charge of making my own life decisions. I don’t know what I’m doing. Yes, I’ve loved English since I could read and my experiences with German and Germany (and Germans) have played a significant role in shaping my life the last half decade, but what if it’s a phase? Or what if archaeology is the real me? I have a hard enough time committing to a restaurant for lunch, let alone a major or career path.

As luck would have it, though, going to the Weisman Art Museum today helped settle that panic and brought me back around to the planning and reflection stages. It did this in a number of ways. First of all, it reminded me of some constants in my life. Impressionism is stunning. Dada is stupid. I still don’t get contemporary art. The revisiting of these facts gave me some stability. And as I reflected on these truths, I remembered some truths in my own life. There are some constants– I know I will always love dogs, travel, and books. I will never love Taco John’s or country music.

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Fuck Dada.

I also saw several works by painter Marsden Hartley. The first ones I saw from earlier in his career were beautiful and impressionistic, but his later pieces showed influences of cubism and other modern techniques. It’s like looking at early Van Gogh or Mondrian works– they’re hardly recognizable as being by the same artist as their more well-known pieces.

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Maine Snowstorm, 1908

This analogy loses a little bit because I happen to personally prefer his earlier works, but the point is that Hartley’s art changed. His style and influences adapted, and as his career went on I have to assume he became more of who he truly was. And that’s the point, I think. I’m not the same person I was a year ago; I’m not even the same person I was yesterday. I won’t be the same person a year from now, let alone tomorrow. It is literally impossible to plan for the future. This is a lesson I learned earlier this year, but I needed to be reminded. And right now, I’m okay with that.

Check back later tonight when the panic will inevitably set in to complete the cycle.

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