Tuesday, 14 October 2014

First Day Nerves

Week/Day 1-2:

View from Piccadilly Station #1 of 3
I have been an MA student at MMU for almost 3 weeks now. As I am part-time however, this means I have only actually been there 2 full days so far… so please take that into consideration. This, my first post, will be a little bit of background, first impressions, alongside a sense of terror and hope for the future.
I am making the viewing of this blog by invitation only as I am mortified by my 'progress' so far and do not want the world to know, and as an invited reader, I am hoping you will empathise with me, know what to expect if embarking on your own MA or if you are also studying an MA; a) find out there's someone who feels how you do or b) feel superior because you don't!
I don't wish this to be a negative account but somehow I fear it may be, so let us get that out of the way first…

   I don't think I can do it
   I am not intelligent enough
   I am stupid
   I don't understand the titles of the lectures never mind the content
   I spend longer on the VLE looking for the room I am supposed to be in rather than doing any actual work
   I can't use intellectual language
   My conceptual thinking is ridiculous and everyone can see I am a fraud
   I hate collaboration
   I go bright red every time I speak/ask a question (what is THAT all about?!)
   I WORK FULL TIME TOO, how did I ever think I would be able to manage?
   I thought I would be embroidering!

On the plus side...

   I do believe my practical work will look amazing and I am excited to start a new sketchbook

So, why did I apply in the first place? The college I work for is aiming for university status, encouraging staff to get their MA's, MRes', PHDs etc. and were asking for applications for staff development funding. The day before the deadline I decided to take a chance, apply for an MA in a subject I REALLY wanted to study while I could, rather than apply for one that was wholly theoretical, learning by distance and lots and lots of writing. I thought I was really lucky when my employers said 'yes', they would pay my fees. It made me feel good, worthy, that they were willing to invest in me, extremely excited to be going back to Manchester, to learn how to use new machinery/technology, gain new skills I could pass on, SPECIALISE more, get better at my practice… It could also mean I would be able to teach on an MA in the future and/or work in another university if the need arose, with a proper university lecturer salary.
And so, I got accepted and I started, the main worry being would I manage to get my own locker and would I have time to get a strong coffee at student prices, on arrival, before my first lecture. Then the bad things happened; I was nervous, a little, of course, but I found the room, great. Now, I am renowned for being 'not sociable', I am not sure why, maybe it's because I am not sociable. Or gregarious. Or interested in many people (note 'many' not 'none'). I did ok. I LIKED some people, fantastic. BUT, there was a lot of talk of collaboration, fine, maybe we would discover (and choose) a likeminded person over coffee break and share skills with that person… a small project, running alongside the main one, perhaps attending a lecture or two and spending the rest of the day in the studio and workshops? Errr no. Put in groups to do what seemed/seems a very large task, taking up most of the time available and making me as a part timer feel guilty for being unable to put in equal time and effort. I did try, I really did, but so far it's not working out that well. Not least because I can't find out how to become an administrator on our blog without being invited… anyway, this is it… www.anticipatingchange.blog.com
In the end I resorted to commenting. With short comments.

The good thing is that I have the chance (at weekends) to do a wonderful collection of new work, where people might  hopefully say, 'How did she DO that?', 'wow, that's gorgeous!' and 'I've NEVER seen anything like that before!'
In conclusion of this first post I will say, it's early days and I am reserving full and unexpurgated judgement until at least week 5. Note use of a big word.

Escalator - Piccadilly Station
'2 Fingers' - Crane


  1. A strange phenomenon (also a big word!) - the idea of doing/achieving something is so exciting and takes us out of our comfort zone. The reality is so different. I love the idea of holidays and to look forward to them but not the actual holiday itself somehow, bit like Christmas it is all in the anticipation perhaps. Self doubt is the worst thing ever. I am sure in a few weeks you will be immersed in a new body of work and feel you are doing the right thing. Jayne

    1. Thanks for the comment Jayne, you're right... And let's hope I get over myself, just try my best and see what happens! At least I'm giving it a go... :-)

  2. I did smile to myself at your list of negatives, and strangely only one positive. Hope that the emphasis changes as you progress. Look forward to seeing your sketchbook.

  3. It would be nice! ... I'll do sone work and put it up :-)