Things I dream about doing… after grad school

I have dedicated a lot of this blog’s bandwidth to rambling about grad school. Not a whole lot, but far more than I had originally intended. Summer has really opened my eyes to the glory of not being in school– in addition to revealing that everyone you know gets married in their mid- to late-20s– and I cannot believe that I ever used to get angsty about feeling bored.

My hate-love-hate relationship with grad school is kind of like my relationship with this meme.
(Source)

My relationship with grad school is best described as hate-love-hate– you know, kind of like West-Northwest, which is when you’re headed in a more Westward-ly direction than a simple 45 degree-Northwest– because, while I love learning new things and feeling like I am benefiting my career, I cannot even begin to express how stressful school can be some weeks. It’s not necessarily the copious amount of reading and writing– I’m actually pretty fond of the writing (shocking, I know– I only post on my blog every other day)– that gets to me so much as the classroom experience.

I’ve got 13 days until I’m back in school. One of my upcoming classes meets for seven hours a week. Seven. Two hours on Mondays and five hours on Wednesdays. All of my other classes– in the past and next semester– meet for 2.5 hours a week. Granted, the five-hour sessions are field-trip oriented, but still: seven hours for one class.

I’ve thought a lot about what my life is going to be like next summer, which is hopefully when I’ll be done with my Master’s degree. I don’t want to revert back to my pre-grad school ways– sitting on the couch all night playing Tiny Wings or Angry Birds, reading the news off of CNN.com like there is no tomorrow– because there is no denying that grad school has changed me. I can’t imagine being lazy after this experience. However, as much as I actually enjoy reading scholarly material now (seriously, I kind of do), there are other things I would like to do with my time as well.

How awesome would this be?? It’s like “Great Wave”-meets Chuck Close-meets afghans!
“WBK Great Wave” by WorkByKnight in WBK Granny Squares

Crochet a blanket.

I’ve been saying that I want to make a blanket for years now, and every attempt I have made has ended shortly after commencing. But next summer, I want to take another stab at it and actually finish something. An afghan, a bed runner, a baby blanket– anything. Ideally I would like to make at least two so that I can donate one or more. My biggest challenge is maintaining enthusiasm in what I’m working on: I like small projects because I can get through more of them while culminating a variety of yarns and skills. Maybe if I make an afghan with different takes on the granny square it’ll keep me interested. I have also been thinking about crocheting a bunch of flowers from my 100 Flowers to Knit & Crochet book and make something of a wall installation of it in my home. So many options! Along a similar vein…

Crochet even more stuff to donate!

It greatly pains me that I am not able to reach my goal of 10 hats this summer. I suppose 6 is better than none, but I was looking forward to making two child-sized hats, as all of the ones I have made are for babies and toddlers. Next summer I hope to make at least 10 hats, along with some scarves, 1+ blankets, and some amigurumi toys.

Learn how to needle felt (wet or dry).

I actually already have some experience in this area, as one of the conservation projects I worked on (many moons ago) was a wool dress that was riddled with holes due to insect activity. I remember at that time that I said to myself I would likely never do that again, as it was tedious and frustrating. However, I have seen some truly beautiful needle felted stuff, and since I am already a bit of a fiber person, I would love to try it again. It seems to be a little more flexible in terms of artistic creativity, and I have an idea for a hat (a cherry blossom tree hat!) that I would like to make that would be a combination of needle felting and crochet.

Actually maintain a regular work-out regimen.

I either want to invest in a used Elliptical or join a gym or class of some sort. I wish that Gold’s Gym would make its way to Denver, as they have Cardio Cinema (aka the best invention EVER). Finding time to exercise this summer has literally been the hardest thing for me to do. I actually feel guilty when I work out anymore because I feel like I should be reading, and I can’t read while I exercise because I need to take notes. For a while I rode the stationary bike while crocheting, but I continued to feel overwhelming guilt for not reading. I’ve pretty much had to resort to restraining myself from eating much of anything (which hasn’t been hard, since it has been so hot this summer) and try to appease my guilt by taking the occasional walk. I really should just stop coming up with excuses and take at least 30 minutes out of my day to get some exercise. Next semester I am going to have an hour break between two of my classes, which isn’t enough time to get through a lot of reading, so I might as well go to the gym. I don’t even want to think about the damage I have done to my body with all of the sitting (with poor posture, no less, as I tend to hunch while I sit on the couch reading).

Mutts Shelter Stories: Karma by Patrick McDonnell
(Source)

Volunteer at a no-kill cat shelter.

I love cats (and dogs!) and care very deeply about finding strays homes. My two cats– Willow, who has not been on this blog yet, belongs to my mom– were both shelter kittens. That one commercial with Sarah McLachlan– you know the one I’m talking about– makes me cry every single time. One of my ultimate dreams is to buy a ranch in Wyoming and build a no-kill shelter/resort, but for the time being, I could content myself with volunteering at one, such as the Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue. I couldn’t handle working at a regular shelter: I would cry all the time and eventually become an animal hoarder because I would want to save them all.

Have a normal work schedule.

As terrible as this may sound to some in these tough economic times, this one shouldn’t be too hard to accomplish. Having graduated in 2008 into one of the crappiest job markets in recent history, I have been remarkably lucky in finding work in the arts (even though I had to give up my original art conservation ambitions because of said market, but I’m not complaining anymore). My current job, which I love and am obsessed with, has been gracious enough to let me go for my Master’s degree while working part-time. Before 2011, I was either working multiple jobs or full-time contracts, so it will be nice to have just one full-time job (or if not full-time, then at least 24 hours a week).

Take a Great American South/West road trip.

I thought about doing this back in 2010 when my contract at the History Museum was up (and before I thought I would be going to grad school on the East Coast for art conservation). However, when I created a budget for how much a two-week trip would cost, I ultimately couldn’t justify it to myself. But now that it seems pretty certain that I will still have steady work upon graduation, I am starting to think about it again. I haven’t seen much of the West or Southwest, not even the Grand Canyon. I would like to see it, as well as Mesa Verde, Moab, Santa Fe, the Black Canyon…

Untitled (Gravity), 2005

Make art again.

This kind of ties in to crocheting and especially needle felting, but I would love to get back into making art again, particularly photography and printmaking. And not just digital photography– REAL photography. As in I want a dark room so I can develop and print my own black and white photos. This may be asking for too much right now, as I am nowhere near being able to afford a house, but someday. And as for printmaking, my professor used to tell us about this place called Red Delicious, which is a gallery/studio for amateur printmakers. I particularly liked using linoleum plates as well as lithography, though I don’t think lithography is offered.

Read… for fun!

Believe it or not, I was not much of a reader back in the day. I read the news religiously, but for whatever reason, I was not a regular bookworm. Because I will have spent money and A LOT of time on getting an MA, I feel like I should put my degree to some sort of use, even though it won’t have much of an effect on my career path for quite some time (like I said, I really like my current job, and while it is in the arts, it doesn’t really utilize my art history-linked critical thinking skills). I like to think that I will keep on reading art historical material, though preferably not at the break-neck speed I have been forced into because of school.

And finally: Visit museums and galleries more often, damn it.

Because my history of museum and gallery hopping is absolutely pathetic for an (art) history/museum studies person.

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One thought on “Things I dream about doing… after grad school

  1. They all sound like worthy activities, especially reading! I am 5 days shy of grad school and I feel like I want to go to the library and check out 5 books just for the heck of it. I want to go on a binge! šŸ™‚
    It’s awesome to hear you love your job. Gives me hope when I’m done in 2 years.

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