Yesterday I passed a friend in Columbus Circle and she asked me if I'd heard back from any of the MFA programs I applied to. That's all anybody asks me these days. A month ago, out of the blue, my days were suddenly punctuated by periodic moments of crushing dread. I would find myself sitting and staring at the calendar on my desk at work for as many as five minutes, my breathing shallow and my heart rate elevated. I didn't expect to hear back from the schools until the final week in March and, as such, that week became the subject of much fatalistic obsession. My own personal emotional time sink.
Shortly after submitting my applications I read "How to Be a Graphic Designer without Losing Your Soul" by Adrian Shaughnessy. Unlike similar graphic design how-to books, Shaugnessy's advice is an invaluable resource with a lot of useful information on how to get a job with or without any professional experience. While I was putting the finishing touches on my application package, my mind was elsewhere, wrapped up in admittedly lame day dreams of 12 hour work days at large design firms, doing everything that was asked of me and soaking up as much knowledge as I could. The fantasy of the (albeit creative) work-a-day world was a defensive mechanism. In applying for school as a self-described outsider, I was less and less sure that my gamble would pay off. I would temporarily assuage my fears by scrolling through my portfolio slides online or catching a glimpse of the extra DVD portfolio cases stacked on my window sill. But those moments would pass and the insecurity would come roaring back in. I kicked myself for ever letting on what I was planning, for ever telling anyone I knew that I'd applied, for laying bare the intensity of my desire to matriculate to friends over dinner.
Work was a realistic option. I wouldn't get into school but I'd get to save $60,000+ and I'd get to avoid the overly romanticized bohemian lifestyle of the impoverished, newly-married grad student. Save your ramen and drippy, Chianti bottle candles. I'd get a job and keep my book and dunny habit. It was a safer choice. I was more secure.
It was also fucking bullshit. Yesterday I got into Parsons The New School For Design and the California College of Arts.
Two down, two to go, fingers crossed. It now seems likely that I'll be in New York for the next five years. It is also assured that in six months I'll be a student again. When I grow up, I'm gonna be a graphic designer.
Or an astronaut fireman.