So I'm getting asked about this a lot. So here in a nutshell. :)
I have the opportunity to go back to school for free, and really, since there's no work for me here, it would be foolish not to. In fact, I feel a little sheepish that I didn't get off my butt and do so a couple of years ago. Oh well.
After a long battle of quibbling what to take (english? Graphic arts? Try to get an engineering degree? Music? Art? Library Science?), I decided on Art. I think I want the tools to be the artist that I think I can be. There's so much inside that I haven't been able to express. I remember it being that way with music too, and after a year or so of constant playing, how I could play most anything I could hear in my mind, how liberating that felt. I want the same experience for art.
Art for now, consists of one long class of drawing. Knowing the pencil, the paper, the charcoal and so on. Learning contour lines and how to use your eye, to see. Learning perspective. It's a little hard for me, I haven't drawn in years, mostly I've been very focused on digital art and painting. Really simply drawing has been a reawakening. I love it.
And of course there are other classes. I am taking a music history class. Which, frankly, is kicking my ass. I'll be lucky to get a B+ in it. Though, I enjoy it a great deal, I am learning all sorts of things.From early greek music to Gregorian chants, and now we're moving into Medieval music. Thankfully. Since, really, the mass and all the divine offices and all that stuff is a lot to take in for a heathen like me. It has given me however, a new revelation on music and religion and how it was used, how important it's been to all religions, how elevated cultures have considered it, and how sad it is that we tend to think of it as 'extra' somehow, frivolous, unnecessary, to the point where it's not even really taught or utilized in schools anymore.
The class is alot to take in, and it's really my trial by fire for learning to be a student again. 4 papers, 1 final research paper of 8-10 pages. 4 listening assignments, daily quizzes and so on. It's a lot of work.
Then there's Writing. Writing is not English, don't mistake them. I know I initially did, and expected a lot of "diagram this sentence' sort of thing. This is learning to be yourself, to see the world through your eye, to find your voice and put it on paper. And yes, it is as touchy feely as all that.
There are no quizzes, no tests. We do write and turn in papers, and he does expect us to know how to spell and use proper grammar, but what he's really grading on, is our ability to express ourselves. It's one of those classes that I think it would be hard to fail, and I can see that most of the 18 year olds in my class (yep, my fellow freshman, heh) don't take it very seriously. They think, "Easy Pass" for the most part, and "omg, this old man is a kook".
And he is. But in this really fantastic way. Oh sure, he rambles a little and tells the same stories more than once, but he's got amazing stories and he's done a lot of things and it's a shame these kids don't appreciate him. Me and the other CE student (she's my age too), we both just love this old guy. I hear he teaches a creative writing class too and I want to take that one as well. I enjoy this class so much it makes me wonder if I shouldn't minor in English. I have a feeling I'd regret it, and I think I might try for a minor in Graphic arts besides, but I know I'll be taking more writing classes.
Then, there's mythology. And the teacher for this class (or should I be calling these folks professors?) is simply wonderful. From the fact that she's got silver hair (you know, like emmylou harris) to her real understanding on just what these myths represented to their various societies, I love her class.
She even lays an equal brush to the Judeo-Christian myths, same as the others, and I know she's Lutheran, but it seems she's able to reconcile faith and fact without any trouble. In fact, this school is a Franciscan University and yes, there are still nuns running around. It seems that most of my teachers are fairly religious, but in this really groovy...I don't know how to put it, progressive way? One that feels as if knowledge and science, logic and so on doesn't have to fall aside for faith?
So, it's been a great experience so far. I've learned things, and I suppose, that's the point, right? I'm still a little intimidated by the process, the work, worrying about getting good grades, but a lot of that is just this apprehension of not knowing what's going to happen. I suspect next semester I'll be much less so.