JULIA SERRA | OPINION EDITOR
When I was in high school, I started taking art classes. and my love for painting was rekindled. I found satisfaction in it. I would spend hours positioned in front of easels and pads of watercolor paper in my poorly lit basement. I also practiced drawing, but I would always get caught in the tediousness of graphite. I found great freedom in the feeling of brushstrokes on canvas. The work I produced wasn’t great and I was never able to rise above mediocrity, but I found joy in the process of creating. I wasn’t looking to create pieces to hang above my sofa; I was looking to get lost in my own creativity.
I considered going to art school or pursuing a career as an art teacher. I went through a good part of my high school career convinced that this was the only path I could possibly take. In theory, I should have been excited about these prospects, but instead the thought of attending art school filled me with dread. I toured a handful of these schools, all with long lists of impressive opportunities and accomplishments, but I could never imagine myself creating anything like the work that was on the walls. I could never see myself functioning in the student studio space. I later discovered that I was passionate about art, but not in the way that an art school would want me to be. In most art programs, I got the sense that I would be expected to create quality work. And while I too wanted to create quality work and improve my skill as an artist, my goals were drastically different than what I would have needed to be successful in that environment.
I chose to attend St. Norbert College and pursue a career as an English teacher. I am still thrilled that this is the path I chose to take. As much as I love art, I can’t imagine feeling more passionate about any other career choice. When I made this decision, I wistfully committed to the upkeep of my artistic habits. I imagined myself stretching by the Fox River and practicing watercolors in my dorm room. I promised my high school art teachers that I wouldn’t fall out of practice. Much to their dismay, I went through the first few weeks of college and realized that I hadn’t picked up my sketchbook yet. Those few weeks turned into months, and now here I am two years later, still neglecting what once was such a big part of my life. Somehow I got caught up in the whirlwind that college life can become and I ended up pushing something that had once been meaningful to me out of my life.
I bought a new sketchbook a few days ago. I’m starting to realize that if I don’t make an effort, I will lose a grip on my passions. I had an old one that was only half full, but having my old sketches only reminded me how many of my skills I have lost. My new sketchbook was a symbol of new beginnings. It’s time for me to step out of a storm of to-dos and responsibilities (if only for a few minutes each day) and find myself in the process of creating.