Student Success Series: NSE

This past Monday, a friend and I attended one of the last available student success series presentations. (I mentioned in an earlier post that procrastination was an intrinsic flaw in my personality and that still remains true-unfortunately.) The woman giving the presentation actually started out by asking us, “How many of you are only here because it’s a requirement that you had forgotten about until now?” Almost the entire room raised their hands. 

NSE stands for National Student Exchange. This program allows students to experience a semester or a year at another university that (usually) has an excellent program relative to their major. Most of the universities involved are in the U.S, but there are a few in Puerto Rico and Canada. I knew programs like this existed prior to going to the presentation, but I’m glad I learned more about it. I’d love to study at another university, if only for a semester. 

I’m double majoring in Fine Arts and Art History- I’m looking into gallery or museum curating after graduate school, but I’d need some experience/internships. She explained how this was a great way to meet future employers and gain experience in the field you want to pursue  after school. Many students before me have already done this and landed jobs doing what they love! I know experience is looked for on almost any résumé and this program could improve my chances. 

While attending the other university, you pay Kent State tuition, all of your scholarships apply, and you pay in-state room and board costs. I’d have to review my options and talk to my parents before getting too invested in this, but it seems like a great program. 

A.L.I.C.E

My ALICE training course was in Schwartz and before going to this presentation, I had no idea where Schwartz was, so that was definitely a plus. ALICE training was fairly similar to the training I went through in high school.   However, this presentation went into its topic with more depth than the standard high school procedure. The presentation was pretty lengthy and the video made me slightly uncomfortable, but I understand its necessity. The person giving the presentation was very knowledgable and her being close in age to us (the students) made it more comfortable. 

I learned some cool things though!!

-a belt can be used to stop a door from opening from the outside

-you can jump from a building (3 stories or less) without serious injury 

-a pen and shoelace make a great tourniquet 

-tampons can be inserted into wounds to slow down blood loss

An Incomplete Manifesto for Growth -Bruce Mau

1. Allow events to change you. You have to be willing to grow. Growth is different from something that happens to you. You produce it. You live it. The prerequisites for growth: the openness to experience events and the willingness to be changed by them. 

The first on Bruce’s list and the first on mine- I feel this rule deep in my bones!! Naturally, humans are adverse to change. Adaptation is difficult and tiring, but I’d like to think my individual ability to adapt is better than that of the average person. The many, big changes I went through when I was younger, helped to shape me into who I am today. I’ve grown so much in so many different ways/aspects and I’m so thankful for that! I want to be as open as I possibly can and I want to experience as many different things as I can while I’m here on earth. When keeping an open mind, the outcome can only be positive. 

2. Love your experiments (as you would an ugly child). Joy is the engine of growth. Exploit the liberty in casting your work as beautiful experiments, iterations, attempts, trials, and errors. Take the long view and allow yourself the fun of failure every day. 

I often catch myself being overly critical of my work/skills. Hating yourself or your work (an extension of one’s self) is so tiring! I’d love to take Bruce’s advice and maybe calm down after a failure, instead of ripping it up, or gesso-ing it over. Failures serve as proof for your future improvements and they’re also perfectly natural! Failure is inevitable, but I’d rather try and fail then be too afraid to try in the first place. 

3. Drift. Allow yourself to wander aimlessly. Explore adjacencies. Lack judgement. Postpone criticism. 

I love experimenting with new mediums/tools/styles, even if the final product looks like shit. The lure of learning and trying new things is absolutely irresistible to me! Drifting through life- wandering everywhere  and questioning everything- it produces art. 

Response to the Museum 

Last week, both of the Friday FYE groups went to Rockwell Hall and toured the Kent State Fashion Museum. Over all it was a pretty interesting experience (I could have used some AC at the time though). We were given two handouts, one was a “scavenger hunt”, which forced us to actually look at the exhibits and understand the information given to us. The second hand out was more opinion based, which was a bit easier to fill out. We were asked to choose an artist and do some research. 

Unknowingly at the time, I chose to look into a Kent State Prefessor, Michael Loderstedt. He’s an artist from Cleveland who often works in printmaking and photography. His photograph, “The Frackpit”, caught my eye. I always admired skilled photographers. The ability to take a picture of something very ordinary and turn into something extraordinary or interesting takes a lot of skill. I still find trouble wrapping my mind around that. I’m probably not alone when I say it’s easy to get lost in an interesting photograph. “The Frackpit’s” fuchsia reflection is mesmerizing! 

  
Looking back, I guess it’s kind of strange that I chose to look into an artist who’s style and mediums are so different from my own. My insatiable curiosity peaks when I’m looking at interesting things. Although my concentration is in drawing/painting, I’d love to take a college level photography class. I’m planning on taking printmaking next semester and I’m so excited- I plan on experimenting with any medium I can get my hands on. 

  

Miscommunication

Last Friday, my FYE class participated in a little card game(s). The class was separated into 4 groups and each group was given a deck of cards and a set of rules. What we didn’t know was that each table was given a different set of rules (*gasp*). So my group spent the first 10 minutes deciphering the rules and working out the kinks of the game. After our first group’s games were over, the winner and the loser of each group were asked to switch tables and from then on we weren’t allowed to talk. You can probably guess what happened when we were asked to switch tables and start a new game with a different group of people.

Some people were confused, but didn’t mention it because they weren’t confident enough in their own rules from the previous game. Some people realized the rules might have been skewed, but continued to play along with whoever took control of the rules because they aren’t super competitive/didn’t care much. Some people were fairly certain of the rules from the previous game and assured the others of their own rules (non verbally of course).

I have this annoying personality quirk where I can’t accept being wrong/incorrect. So this was particularly difficult for me. I was getting irrationally frustrated at a silly card game simply because I knew I was right (according to my own rules) and I assumed my new group just didn’t read the rules correctly. I eventually caved and played by their rules because it’s hard to argue my case without being able to talk. I realized the rules were probably skewed about halfway through that second game and I was relieved.

Communication is very effective when used correctly; I can’t even imagine being a foreign exchange student in a country where I only speak a portion of the native language.

This exercise definitely brought my “know it all” complex down a few levels, which I really appreciate. I need to improve my communication skills in regard to keeping an open mind. I’m working on it, but, hey, we all have things we wish we could change about ourselves.

Challenges 

Personal 

I’ve run into a few challenges that have affected me personally- my roommate and I have gotten into a few arguments about the room. Most of which are noise/timing related, but we’ve come up with compromises here and there to work out any quirks. It’s an ongoing thing, but I’m pushing through. I think sleep is a big deal in college. How many hours is too many hours? And how many hours of sleep do I need to function normally?! Not sure, my sleep schedule is way out of whack (which I kind of anticipated), but I’m trying to get a handle on it. A messy sleep schedule usually means there’s some mismatched time management behind it. I’m trying to get stuff done during the week, so I’m not stressing on the weekends, but nothing is working out the way I want it to. I’d gladly take some time management tips.

Academic

Academically, I’m doing well in all of my classes except for drawing. (I have a C+) Which could pose a problem because I’m a drawing major?!!!??!!??! It’s kind of freaking me out. I finish my homework, follow instructions, and I’ve never missed a class. I’ve never drawn reaslistically from life before, just from images so maybe the fact that it’s new to me is throwing me off? I feel like my style isn’t what he wants, but I think I’m slowly gravitating towards what he’s looking for. I’m really hoping I can pull my grade up to an A before the end of the semester, because this is stressing me out.

Artistic

I decided to apply to the undergraduate art scholarship last week (the night before it was due, I’m really not kidding when I say I have a procrastination problem). So I took pictures of all my work, made the PowerPoint, exported it into a PDF, and then when it was time to upload the file- it was too big. I expected this, because it said something about it on the application. I tried to follow its steps on how to make the file smaller but I just couldn’t figure it out and before I knew it, the deadline was up. I spent hours putting together this slide show to end up with nothing. I’m hoping I can use it in another scholarship application. I’m really trying to make my own art outside of class, but it’s really difficult to find the time. Again, I welcome any time management tips.

Common Core

I think as artists, the idea of mandated, common core classes makes many of us shudder. Especially…math. *sigh* I’ve always despised math with my entire being! I hate math so much that if I took the energy I put into hating math and actually put it into studying for math then I probably wouldn’t be half bad at it. (Like that would ever happen) After this semester, I never have to look at math in a school setting ever again! That’s what’s pushing me to do well in math right now.

I knew I would have to take core classes in order to supplement my well-rounded college education. I actually look forward to having the ability or even the duty to learn about other things that aren’t art related. Don’t get me wrong- I love the art world and I want to learn as many things as possible about it, but my curiosity isn’t limited to art. I genuinely want to learn more about everything I find interesting. I’m taking an intro to sociology class this semester and I’m eating that stuff up! I love the thrill of learning new things and expanding my knowledge base. I wanted a higher eduation, not only for a degree, but for the oppurtunity to become more knowledgable.

  When math is out of the way, I plan on loading up my schedule with histories, sciences, philosophy, women studies, and any other intriguing course I would love to wrap my mind around. In the aspect of math, common core is a necessary evil. 

Lost in Translation 

Courtney drew/explained first and I followed. It was the classic house on a hill drawing. I think she did a pretty good job of explaining it- the pictures are very similar besides our drawing styles. The only thing I had trouble with was the placement of the windows and maybe some sizing issues. 

Top: Courtney 

Bottom: Me


I drew/explained next, and mine was definitely more complicated than Courtney’s. I don’t think I have a knack for explaining something while I’m doing it. I’m more of a prep, complete, and follow up kind of person. I started my own drawing with a profile of a squirrel. I neglected to mention to Courtney that my squirrel was standing up and also gigantic. From there I explained the squirrel was wearing a ski mask, but Courtney drew a hockey mask from that one horror movie on her squirrel (I probably should have clarified). Then I drew a large bag of money in the squirrels hands and when Courtney heard this, she realized my squirrel was a burglar (not a serial killer) and changed the mask. Then I asked her to draw a city scene in the back complete with a bank and police cruisers. I don’t think it ended up nearly as bad as it could have, but there’s definitely room for improvement.  

 
Top: Me

Bottom: Courtney 

This exercise was definitely more challenging than I thought it would be. Clear and thorough communication are a must if you’re trying to pull this exercise off perfectly. However, even the most careful of observers could run into problems with this activity because a lot of it is based off of interpretation and we all interpret things differently. 

  

What does “being successful” mean to me? 

Being only 18, my achievements are limited and relatively small. Then again, I don’t think success can be measured in physical achievements alone. I think there are a few common notions of success that most people have- “success is making a living by doing what you love”. Let’s put that statement into an equation: money + happiness = success! This equation is what many of the students at this university are striving for. Can you blame them? Not at all! It’s completely reasonable. 

I think that equation can be one formula for success, but I also think there are multiple formulas. These formulas vary depending on age, social status, desires, etc. To me, there are potentionally millions of formulas and many people will have similar ones. 

My own formula? I don’t have it quite figured out. I’m not sure really, about anything. So pinpointing something as peculiar and indivudual as my own idea of success is fairly pointless right now. It’s subject to change over and over again and it’s completely tentative. I’m only 18! I have no idea what I’m doing this week, let alone the years following graduation. 

I’m really avoiding this question, aren’t I? Okay, to be more specific, as of RIGHT NOW, my formula for being successful looks something like this: good grades + learning about interesting things + good relationships with the people I love + overall health + balancing hobbies and work = success!