Graduate Portfolio Day 2015
Last Sunday, the 8th I spent the day in Chicago interviewing with different graduate schools, learning about their individual programs and trying to glean as much as I could from them about the application process. I've done this a couple of times in the past, it's nice because it's always good to get a critique from someone in the field, and it gives you a nice reminder that you need to have thick skin in the world of the arts.
I interviewed with a couple of schools, and had some mixed results. The first school I interviewed with, I wasn't truly interested in, but I always mess up my first interview (something I've learned from the last couple portfolio days I went to) so I made sure to head for a table with a short line, so I could get a feel for the situation and to basically get acclimated to interviewing again. The interview was a disaster, which is kind of what I was expecting but it still sucked, I still held onto that small glimmer of hope, almost a David Sedaris type of hope that someone would pick up my portfolio and hail me as the second renaissance, that they would be grateful to be given the chance to look at my work, that they would throw open the coffers of their university and just throw money at me for just the experience of gazing on my work. It was instead two people stumbling through processes and techniques, ideas and concepts with no clear path or end in sight, I imagine it's similar to waking up in a different country and trying to figure out how to describe what you need in some form of intelligible language and flailing hand gestures. Only to end up in a bathroom when where you needed to go was market.
This happens to me every first interview because I'm nervous and I fumble through my explanations, I also try to use the biggest fanciest words possible with hopes of impressing and at the same time disguising my nervousness, which if you have every been on the other side of the table, you can see through it instantly. So a total mess, but as we talked and as we deciphered each other's true meanings and messages I began to interpret and understand he was giving me some actual good advice and giving me the information that I was actually after, he gave me the impression that this program would not be a good fit for me, and that I would be working against what I was interested in, in a way the interview was a small glimpse of what my time in the program would look like. I would eventually get to the point where I could stumble through and complete the degree but I think struggling against it the entire time. It was a cool realization, and if I'm being honest took me about 2 days to learn this.
So the search continues and I also had a lot of really amazing interviews as well, ones that left me feeling like I am finally ready for an MFA, which means I only have to ask a couple more times for those letters of recommendations
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Allen TenBusschen has thoughts every now and again and wants to share them with you.