As my undergraduate life builds up to its end, many people have been asking me what it is I would like to do now – what the big next goal is. Little do they know what they are getting themselves into by asking that seemingly simple question, and those who have suffered a long response might as well have charged me for a service by simply listening to me talk mostly to myself.
So may I present my answer as a blog for a few of many reasons: so that I can work more of it out before answering, so that I can make my answer agreeable to a socially acceptable word limit, and possibly so that I can direct those who ask to this link and spend less time talking about myself in general.
What I really want to do is take a break away from working under academic pressures, not because I believe in the need to relax and do nothing after what felt like an intense course, but because I have been working under these similar academic pressures for five years now, and would like to see how other kinds of pressures influence my practise differently. I have been taking my studies seriously enough to drop my hobbies and other relaxations, because I thought that if I would produce or do something, then it should be productive enough to at least benefit my academic practise. Yet I am very much the kind of person that feeds off my environment to a point where anything can be productive – I take the same eyes and the same mind with me to a walk in the park, until inspiration results from something I could have even seen at the supermarket. My mind does not ‘switch-off’ or separate one part of my lifestyle from my art, so the kind of break I would like is one that will allow me to be productive under different circumstances and limitations I have not had the liberty to experience as of yet in this new and current stage of my life.
Academia has taught me so much, and as nourishing an experience as it has been, I have still had to work again and again in response to similar criteria; what will my work look like after a shift in these criteria? I will have more time, money, and skill to produce art that I have not seen from this current version of myself as of yet. I want to know how I will react and produce art under different circumstances.
Secondly, I would like to revisit my hobbies. I have missed them so much, only because feeling guilty about doing something that does not feed into the productivity of course work is not the same as doing it freely; it is not as liberating, nor as successful.
I want to dedicate more time to people. I would like to make it up to all my friends and family who have had more than their fair share of inviting me to places or events I was too busy to attend. It has been hard for people to understand how much I have preoccupied myself during scholastic semesters, and why I would make that choice in the first place, but I will not forget those who have accepted it as something I felt the need to do.
I would like to get back into exercise, healthy eating, travelling, and other ways of helping my body and mind unwind as I appreciate my surroundings and the natural energy they give me. These have always been my ways of recollecting myself, and having to drop them during the busy and broke months have made me feel like a different version of myself, a less confident one.
This one ties into a previous point, but I also want to help people. When writing my dissertation, I have emailed a number of artists asking them if I could kindly take up some of their time with an interview. They have been so willing and so nice to me. I have even had the pleasure of corresponding with a few over a number of emails in which we got to know more about each other and our musings on art and life. These things have made me happy, and I would like to give the time and help to other people who can benefit from what I have learnt so far.
I want to read most of the books I have shelved for later, and I want my mind to be preoccupied with new and different subjects. I also want to have the time to produce work I will hate and rip apart, and the time to run errands for those who have endlessly supported me through my studies. I want to have the time to create work I can give to people (to those who have asked and still wait for a piece of work – I haven’t forgotten you!).
To sum up, I would like to produce more work, continue to improve myself, make some money, produce some more work, be more available for others, feel less stressed and even have some time to feel a little bit bored, get to know more of myself and do this all within a year before taking up a masters. One thing I have learnt from my course which stands out is how to make a lot happen in a short amount of time. A year could be a good amount of time.