(A brief, introductory note: please forgive the sudden theme change! It breaks my heart that the WordPress theme I’ve been using for the past four years is apparently “retiring,” forcing me to switch to some weird replacement to accompany my blog for the rest of its digital life. O beautiful theme of my youth, how I miss you!)
(& one more note: this is the second in a series of Orphan Black-esque post titles that feature vaguely relevant museum lingo. Fun facts!)
The trees are blooming, the veritable Alps of Massachusetts from this winter are but a distant memory, and the release of the newest Of Monsters and Men album is inching steadily closer–it’s almost summer!
Naturally, this means that classes have just finished at the college where I work. Even after spending two semesters in that strange no-longer-a-student state of existence, I still can’t help entering into “finals week” with a kind of automatic nervous anticipation. As the semester closes, classes end, and students start packing up, I’ve been conditioned to expect something to happen: like endless papers, exams, final presentations, and so forth (or, in my case particularly, hiding somewhere near Beebe Lake with a book to avoid the anarchy of Slope Day). Yet, for me, the conclusion of the 2014-2015 school year happened so quickly and quietly–one day college classes are popping in and out of the museum, examining everything from Nasca pots to European prints…and then they’re not. It’s that simple.
As you may or may not know, this is my penultimate Sarr Above the Busy Humming post for the foreseeable future. My one-year mission as an alumna blogger was to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, and to boldly go where no Keely had gone before while reporting back about the transition from collegiate to professional life. It’s been an amazing, meaningful, challenging, frustrating, and stunning experience–but man, it’s hard to believe that it’s all gone by so quickly!
Today, two days after classes ended, I went to Mass MOCA (for the uninitiated, it’s a phenomenal contemporary art museum in North Adams, MA) for the second time since I moved to the area. When I first visited (and blogged about my trip!), I went along as one of the leaders of an orientation program for incoming students sponsored by my museum, and it was a little bit of a bizarre experience (and not just because of the wild variety of nontraditional installations).
On the one hand, I felt accomplished for helping my colleagues plan the program (my first real one at the museum!), and proud of myself for successfully keeping tabs on the whereabouts of thirty first-years; on the other, Orientation meant that the school year was about to begin, and I wasn’t sure what expect for the months ahead. My job has so much to do with student engagement–but what if I couldn’t, for whatever reason, make a good impression on the students? What if I mysteriously forgot everything about art ever during my first student educator training session and was forced to stare at the ceiling while trying to remember what line and color were?
I wanted to go back to Mass MOCA to check out new shows and re-experience my old favorites (the Sol Lewitt retrospective and Mark Dion’s The Octagon Room, naturally)–and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. I was inconsolable when I saw that Darren Waterston’s thrillingly ruined, re-interpreted Whistler room Filthy Lucre was gone, but Lee Boroson’s alien otherworld of Plastic Fantastic comforted me immensely.
Still, when I went back upstairs and let myself get lost in the spectrums and curves of the LeWitt murals, I kept looking around the corner, hoping some kind of impossible time-slip would let me catch a glimpse of my past-self anxiously counting freshmen while snapping iPhone photos of the colors around her. This spring, I didn’t have a big exam or a final paper or anything to definitively say Your first year is over!, but I did get a second pilgrimage to one of the first, strange places I visited before my job began in earnest, so I think I’m good on the closure front.
And, seriously, that’s so much more enjoyable than an exam.
P.S. I was serious about that “penultimate post” comment: there’s really only one more instalment of this blog left (before I move on, perhaps, to other pockets of the web…)!
This is a little early, but if you’ve been following Sarr Above for quite some time, I’m so grateful that you took the time to read my eccentric ramblings– and please check back next month for the official ‘reflecting-on-all-of-my-time-at-Cornell-and-also-this-blog’ essay that you may (or may not) have been waiting for!