Sunday, August 30, 2009

ProSeminar Round-Up

I'm pretty sure that graduate school is going to be one of the best experiences of my life.

It's exactly what I've been craving my entire college career - a rigorous program focused heavily on writing and analytical skills. Not to mention, all I deal with is fashion and culture. I've learned more about Czech fashion in the 1960s in one week than I did my entire time in Prague. Why? Because I had the person with the resources pushing me to do so.

Everyone else feels overwhelmed, or if not overwhelmed, over tired. I don't know what it is - it could be the fact that I don't have a job and basically do nothing all day - but I feel energized when class is over. I take each assignment with pride and glee, and it pays off. I got an A- on my first assignment, which I was expecting a lot worse. The Dean even read my paper, not entirely sure why (Professor French* said he was "helping her grade papers" but that mine was the only one...) but it was pretty cool that he saw a piece of my work.

Monday starts actual classes. I purchased a netbook for the ease of being able to take notes, finish papers and cruising the internet on my downtime without lugging around my $1400 macbook. I look forward to the days ahead and the welcome work load they will bring.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

First day has come and gone...

I got through orientation and first day of ProSeminar. I know I have my work cut out for me, but I also know that the people I share my classes with aren't total geniuses who know what they are doing either. Most of the people in my class don't know why they are in the program, which I was a little surprised at. I thought that was the point of going to grad school, because you knew what you wanted to do? Anyway, most of them want to be conservators which I think is pretty cool. Textile conservation is definitely an interest of mine but I don't think I'd be able to make it my life's work. We'll see, I guess.

There are so many perks to being a Grad student at FIT. We get access to basically every library ever imagined not only in NY, but across the world. This includes research facilities at museums and archives as well. We also get free goodies like lockers, lab coats, and invitations to galas (I think I'll be going to one at the NYPL soon...). Not to mention, we have one of the highest post-graduate success rates and institutions practically beg for us as interns. The Museum at FIT is run almost entirely by alumni because of that reason. I thought I'd be screwed careerwise, but it turns out, I'm gonna all right.

There is also a fridge, microwave and couches in the Graduate lounge. Needless to say, my locker will become my second home.

We have a slew of assignments due, oh, tomorrow, which have only been clarified as of yesterday, go figure. But as I research them I am discovering that this really is my calling. I am usually a fast paper writer because my skills are pretty good, and it helps so much when you are discussing a topic you actually enjoy. Not to mention I have to give two presentations about a visual and literary source relating to my topic. Bing and Bang, already covered. This has been an easier process than I thought it would be.

I'm also surprised with how much prior knowledge I have coming into this program. We were discussing accession, handling and photographing techniques and I knew most of the information and processes. I really did learn a lot from the Charleston Museum during my internship - props, J Hiester!

The next hardest thing is the bibliography. But I think we're going to cover that more later.

So all in all, the first day jitters have gone away. My commute is fine, I need to purchase a netbook so I'm not lugging my laptop around all too often, and I discovered a Subway around the block from campus that will get to know me very quickly. Aside from actually living in the city, this graduate thing is pretty perfect.

I can't wait until classes actually START!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Pre-1st Day Jitters

And so, it's here, I've reached the turning point. I made it through the summer in one piece and had a great one at that, experiencing so much and meeting so many new people. It's a summer I'll never forget, but I have no time to reminisce about it.

Tomorrow, I start Grad school.

I'm about halfway through my readings, and I think I'll be all right as the students organize and pick which readings they get to lead. That way, I don't have to feel so bad about not finishing, as I do better when the information is presented to me in such a guided fashion. The things I'm REALLY scared about are the assignments for the coming week - a few papers, presentations and a 5 page bibliography, all due on according dates.

I'm not worried about that so much as my actual topic. I had the unfortunate luck to receive the topic email while I was away, without internet access. My topic in mind was slip dresses of the 1990s - I'm interested in recent fashion history (being that I've lived through it) and figured that FIT's collections would provide ample amounts of information regarding the subject based on their designer collection alone.

30 minutes later I am shot down, for a couple of reasons. 1) Apparently, recent history is not really "history" because it hasn't been analyzed yet (isn't that my job though?), so it's best to veer away from anything post-1995. 2) The topic was too specific in its own right. I was then bombarded with a slew of analytical questions regarding the slip dress as a whole, its origins, derivatives, couldn't this be this and that be thats, etc. Don't get me wrong, I'm not pissed at my professor. If anything, it was a great reality check in the sense that, for lack of better words, fuck - I have my work cut out for me.

So I emailed her with the possibility of Clothing under Communism during certain decades of choice, being that it seemed like she wanted a broader field of study. She hasn't replied back, but I don't expect her to. We're all meeting up tomorrow at 3:30pm and I'm sure any questions or clarifications I need will be answered. I'm sure I'm not the only newb as well.

It's so crazy. In a way, I'm glad I didn't have a break between camp ending and this beginning, because I'm going straight into something exciting once more. In another sense however, it would have been nice to have like a week or five days in between - my home life is totally nuts and nothing is organized. It's so overwhelming, I'm even procrastinating right now.

I am excited to be in the city for a prolonged period of time however. I hope to get a job on campus at the library, and a possible internship is in the mix. I'll talk more about that later.

So yes, I'm nervous, excited, curious, prepared and unprepared all at the same time. I have no idea what to expect, I haven't had time for this to sink in and I'm mentally exhausted from all of the worrying and frustration that led up to my acceptance, I just want to start and keep moving.

I just hope I have what it takes.