Earlier today, I started a post about how I survive the many disasters that befall me. It was silly and fun. Now, I am writing a post that I wish I wasn’t writing.
I’ve decided to stop pushing for a final show. Despite our best efforts, we are still no where. The email we sent to the president of the university has gone unanswered. Dealing with this for almost 8 months has negatively impacted my health, schoolwork, and general outlook. When C and I started down this road, it was one paved with possibilities and amazing opportunities. We were so excited about our work, about what this meant for our program and school, and about having a chance to do exactly what we wanted. Now it is a burden. It is something that has only produced disappointment and conflicts. I do pottery because I love it. I wanted to do the final show because I wanted to show people the indelible connection between two of my favorite things- the humanities and ceramics. As much as I still want that, I also want to be able to have enough energy to do my schoolwork. As it stands now, I will be taking an incomplete in my summer ceramics course. I got sick and I simply did not have enough time to do everything and my work suffered. As a grad student, my main job is to study and learn and if I’m not doing that, I shouldn’t be in grad school.
Without a final show, I will probably end up photographing my work and turning that in with my written thesis. It’s certainly not as satisfying as a final show would be but at least I will have a direction. The start of the semester is only 19 days away and I have a lot of work to do before then. Trying to find a space for the final show sucked up all of my time and energy.
The work C and I are doing is good work. What we are doing is something that the director of our program has wanted for a long time, a connection between fine art and the humanities. We were offering the school a chance to break new ground and it would have made the Graduate Humanities program unique amongst others like it. The university is obviously not interested in supporting its students, in maintaining its relevancy, and in providing a rich educational experience. Yes, we still get to make art along with the other parts of the program, but the university has stymied us at every turn in trying to share that art and our work with the larger university community. We deserve so much more than what we have ended up with. As C put it, “We deserve to be cherished.” This is true. For a university to deny its students a chance to enrich their learning experience is unconscionable.
I will be writing a letter detailing C’s and my experience and sending it to the university’s board of trustees, the president, and anyone else I can think of. I’m sure it won’t make a difference in terms of our thesis. It will, however, provide C and I some closure. Perhaps, it will also find its way into the hands of someone who actually gives a damn and decides to hold the university accountable. Even without hope and faith in the university, I still have a morsel of faith that there is someone will agree that the university’s actions reflect poorly on all of higher education.