Coming to a close

In Modern Art class, we just covered the political implications of Conceptual art, arguably an endpoint for the trajectory of the Western Classical art movement. (Art historians, please feel free to correct me—we have one class left in the semester, so I might not have the whole picture yet!) Speaking of endpoints, though, I’ve been thinking increasingly about the trajectory and endpoint of my University of Rochester experience. Four years of highly specific musical training, and now, a year of broader studies in art, visual and cultural studies, and marketing are coming to a close. I’ll be setting aside my trusty blue Mountain Equipment Co-op backpack early this May after five years of loyal service.

Although I have a number of final take-home essays to complete, I’m feeling pretty good about the end of the semester. (Fingers crossed…!) This semester in particular was kind of a whirlwind, and I have officially allotted myself one week of vegetative bliss after finals. Don’t even come looking for me—I’ll be buried behind a mountain of fashion magazines, used tea bags (for my puffy eyes, naturally), and Dove chocolate wrappers.

Actually, my week of bliss will take place in Canandaigua, NY, my absolutely favorite retreat in the Finger Lakes region. I’ve been taking family vacations there since freshman year, and the condo we rent literally overlooks the lake that time forgot. It is this peaceful refuge where you can just sit and watch the water and feel calm. Mmm…

But I digress—what I really wanted to speak to you about are two unrelated, but important, realizations. The first are the mentors I realized I’ve had this semester. Some of the most important things that I learned along the way have come from professors who challenged and encouraged me, and one TA in particular who absolutely inspired me. Some of these concepts were familiar to me, others were completely new: I learned about structuring a research paper, conducting interviews and market research, being an encouraging listener in the classroom, cultivating and asserting my own opinions in academic research, and, most recently, the necessity of not multitasking.

…Alright, not multitasking “to the greatest extent possible”…. Let me just throw it out there, though, that our brains were not meant to—and indeed, cannot—do our deepest, most insightful thinking while processing sensory information from multiple screens and devices. To the newest generation of thinkers and scholars reading this: I guarantee you that you will accomplish just as much and feel just as connected, and arguably a whole lot more fulfilled, if you complete one task at a time during the next four years of your lives. You put in the time, you earned your place here, and you deserve to fully experience what comes your way. May your college experience be an exploration and an incredible awakening!

Thanks for reading, good luck on your journeys, and, as they say in opera, toi toi!


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