Fourth Year So Far

October has come to a close. What have I done with the past two months? The question – an ambitious one – remains unanswered. In my last post I wrote rather resolutely about plunging into the profound depths of academia never to resurface again until mid-December. While I kept to my plan for a week or two, the dangerously mild autumn weather (when has it ever been twenty degrees in October!?) led me blissfully astray and I found myself making excuses to go play in the park under the guise of “doing readings” – which is ridiculous because most of my readings are online and bringing my laptop to the park seems silly. And now that it’s actually cold and everything is grey I can’t seem to conjure up the motivation to do any schoolwork anyway. Add reading week into that equation and you’ve got a recipe for sleeping in until 2pm (what happened to being productive this week?).

Nonetheless, fourth year has been kind to me. But maybe after three years of memorising those cursed slides that’s exactly what it’s supposed to be. Fourth year means that lectures have been replaced with seminars. Instead of spending an entire class making notes from a professor’s monologue, we – the students – generate discussion based on class topics and readings. Fourth year means that classes are very small. Lecture theatres are a thing of the past; now I can count my classmates on two hands. Fourth year means no midterms and no final exams. I know I’ve already mentioned these advantages, but it feels so good! Most importantly, fourth year means the freedom to research whatever we want. In each of my art history seminars, the professor has given vague instructions to “research anything” – related to the course topic, of course – for the final project. At first, this left me feeling clueless and disoriented, but I soon found myself thinking about what it really is that captivates me and how I could turn that into something academic. For example, I am researching unicorns for my Topics in Medieval Art and Architecture course. Well, the imagery of unicorns. In what other programme could I possibly research unicorns??

In any case, November is looking formidable. Class presentations are looming. The essay-clock is ticking. What I do have to look forward to is an early start to the holidays in December; for the first time in my university career I am not finishing exams on December 23rd. Until then I will keep balancing school with artsy goings-on in the city.

Have you been to the NAC recently? Distract yourself with theatre, dance, and music.

Check out Candice Breitz’s Him + Her or Wallpaper at the National Gallery.

Visit La Petite Mort Gallery for an upcoming event.

Stop by the Enriched Bread Artists studio this weekend for Open Studio 21.