Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Relief

I am terrified of my Art History 340 professor. She is perhaps one of the most intimidating women I have ever met. Not only is she a mother of four, but she has a doctorate to boot. She has such an intensity when she teaches too. You can help but be as engulfed and obsessive about 19th century European art as she is.

Yesterday, I went into her office to talk about my research topic for the semester. I started out in love with the idea of Goya's Black Paintings. But they lost their charm after a few days. I was lost, floundering in the great abyss of the art world that is 19th century Europe. Do I choose something patriotic and Davidian? Or more Romantic? But what about realism, and impressionism and post-impressionism? Should I go the French route, or back to my German routes? To Fauv or not to Fauv?

It was overwhelming. I emailed her asking for help and an appointment to meet and chat. The response was blunt, basically telling me to get my act together. I gulped one big sheepish shrug on reading that email, and tried to nail down a topic. This professor is one of my new found idols, I can't disappoint!

As I sat down in the hallway outside her office today, I tried to stifle the worried feeling growing in the pit of my stomach. It was like that feeling you get in elementary school when your teacher sends a note home, and you don't know what it says, but you're terrified you've done something wrong. I ran my hands over my eyes dozens of times, hoping to rub the sleep from them enough not to look too incompetent in front of her. And then, I went in to her office...

I told her my new topic of choice, and hopefully, I've come up with a brilliant gem. I'm going to research the political undertones of Caspar David Friedrich's Cross in the Mountains. And I think she thought it was pretty good!

Grad School was also another topic I wanted to discuss. I have this growing fear that I'm not intelligent enough to get in. Luckily, those fears were assuaged. And those monsters of doubt that creep in from the corners of my mind and whisper that I'm not good enough to teach someday were swiftly pushed aside. Thankfully, BYU focuses more on the overall career of the applicant, not just their scholarship. Of course grades are important she said, but it's also important to make it to your professor's office hours to talk with them, so you have someone to advocate for you when your application is up for review... If only there were more hours in the day! I wish I could sit for hours chatting with my professors. But alas....

Anyway, new goal! Try to befriend more professors! and maybe one day i'll make it to grad school.

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