Sunday, January 27, 2008
It's possible, Part 2
While I’m on the subject of defying the naysayers (see last blog entry), here’s another experience that I hope you find inspiring.
At age 32, I had a dream of earning a master of fine arts degree in painting. I spent three full-time post-baccalaureate semesters at the Massachusetts College of Art to prepare a portfolio of works to include in my graduate school application. I worked hard in my studio, knowing that I was racing against time. I had saved enough money to live on for three semesters. Once that time was up, if I wasn’t accepted to graduate school, I would have to return to my former job of full-time office work.
After three semesters, at the college’s end-of-semester critique, the department chair looked at my portfolio (examples above) and told me I would NEVER get in to graduate school with this work.
His negative comment struck me like a blow to the gut. Even though he didn’t know me from Adam, he sounded so sure in his pronouncement that I would fail. I felt my dream had been demolished.
Trying to recover myself, I asked him to tell me what specifically about these paintings was lacking. He was unable or unwilling to articulate further.
However, I DID apply to graduate school. Although my confidence was deeply shaken, I figured I might as well as least TRY. It was either that or go back to answering telephones and taking shorthand.
As it turned out, I WAS accepted, and two years later, I graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a master’s degree in fine art (with a grade point average of 3.88).
Last year, I was accepted into a juried show in Lowell, Mass., and my entry was hung alongside a painting by the department chair from Mass. Art. I thought that was an interesting postscript to this story!
Never, I repeat, NEVER, let someone tell you that you can’t do something.