Greetings, I’m a Science Major. How do art?

I didn’t expect to feel so strange as soon as I walked through the door: so naive and babyish–like my presence was confusing and unexpected. I guess it would have been, since, until a couple semesters ago, I had spent the majority of my time around the science department.

This semester, I had decided to take the suggestion of a friend and enroll in Figure Drawing, an upper-division drawing class. I had finished the prerequisite, after all.

Monday evening of syllabus week, I hurried to class in the dark, looking forward to actually having an art class with friends. As it turns out, having friends in the room made it even more intimidating when the realization hit me that I had inserted myself into a class of upper-division art majors. Perhaps a little too audacious for comfort.

I wanted to be there. I want to learn to be able to tell stories well through both the written and visual arts. But still–what business did I have being there, griped a sinister voice in the back of my mind. Who was I to get involved in classes for people as talented and skilled as art majors? Was it even my place to have so naively decided to take this path?

Yet here I stand, announcing to the world little by little that I have determined to pursue writing and illustration when I could have played it safe and become a physical therapist. Even as competitive as the physical therapy programs are nowadays, that option was my comfort zone. 

As the professor explained the course and its requirements, the class drew a still life. I had gone through this earlier that afternoon in Drawing II, and I was determined to apply the advice I had received then to make round two better. After an hour or so, we took a break, getting up and roving around the drawing horses to look at each others’ work–an exercise I’m still uncomfortable with. I hoped no one looked at mine for too long. My sketch had improved, and I was mildly happy with it, but also very disappointed. The pieces of the other artists burst with life and expression and style. Mine felt quite a bit simpler and more rigid. A “good try.”

Mediocrity breathed uncomfortably down my neck. I have so much catching up to do…but I guess this also means I have a great deal of room to improve. “If your dreams don’t scare you…” right?

I have no doubts as to whether this was a mistake or not. I ask myself over and over again, “What am I doing?” but more as an effort of stress relief. Not that I’m actually having concrete second thoughts.

I already know I’m most insecure in art and writing classes, as those are the subjects I care most about. They are areas in which I most want the skills to evoke meaning and purpose from my work, and not to be overshadowed by crippling inadequacies.

I think about how much I will learn and improve this semester, and I am determined to plow through any amount of intimidation to get there. In theory, at least. I’ll take the waves as they come, and buckling down to receive them should grow at least a little easier with time.

I may be naive. I may be insane. But this is what I want.

And even in the midst of my insecurity, I feel good about this decision.

 

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