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En Route #24


There and Back Again

Hello and welcome back from Spring Break! Oh boy, this has been one crazy week. As anyone who’s lived in Paris for an extended amount of time will likely tell you, sometimes you have to leave Paris to remind yourself why you love it. To accomplish this, a friend and I skipped to St Pancras via the Eurostar, figuring a week of tourism would help us blow off some steam post-midterms and revive our weary souls. It was just what we needed. The last few times I’ve been to London I was either there for a day or in a daze due to a lack of sleep (I do not recommend experiencing any city like that).

This time I was fully conscious and raring to go. We hunkered down in Earl’s Court, kicking off each day with a leisurely morning routine of sleeping till 11. It took us a day or two to get our sea legs, but towards the end of the week we brought things to a boil. Markets, museums, (budget friendly and not so budget friendly) restaurants, shopping, sight-seeing, a ballet at the Royal Opera House, we did it all. Then each night, we’d drag ourselves back home on the tube, which my friend heartily agreed doesn’t hold a candle to the Paris metro, and get in our pjs to watch Netflix. Long story short, it was bliss and while I no longer think I could live in London (rush hour in Covent Garden has scarred me for life), it was nice to explore and really get to know a new city. I definitely want to go back, for the Indian food alone.

Once we pulled back into Gare du Nord on Sunday morning, I was ready to be home. I rode my much cherished line 4 back to my apartment and got reacquainted with my bed. Monday tossed us right back into the thick of things and reminded us that we’ve had our fun and now it was time to get serious. The final stretch and now we’ll settle into the semester in earnest. It was About *Design* Week here at PCA, meaning there was something really interesting to hear about each day. I particularly enjoyed a talk on AI which both calmed my fears about being replaced by robots and got me closer to considering AI as a helpful tool rather than an artistic adversary (but I’ve seen the Matrix too many times to be completely at ease).

This week was a whirlwind as I caught up on work and acquainted myself with each class. Thesis was particularly thrilling as I’ve finally found my stride and can make real progress with the project, a relief to both my professor and I. I’ve found that I’m feeling much more solid with my projects after Midterms and I was really happy with the feedback I’d received. It’s always interesting to hear from your professor’s perspective and can confirm your own feelings as well as provide a wake-up call when needed. Now that we’re hurtling towards Graduation at breakneck speed, my peers and I are doing our best not to get whiplash as we brave these last two months.

Along with it being my busiest week yet, I also had the first Terra Foundation meeting to look forward to. Presenting my artistic practice to a room of French Art History Masters students is actually just as intimidating as it sounds, but it turned out to be a really nice time. We got to talk to the students and answer some of their questions about our work as well as introduce the research topics we’re working on. The second meeting is next week and I find myself really looking forward to getting to know them better as I dig further into the research portion of the project. The older you get the more you realize college is just one big juggling act, and the more things you’re hoping to keep in the air the more time and space you need to give them. It’s supposed to be hard, most of us have never done this before, but that just makes it all the more rewarding when we get to give our arms a well deserved rest.

I’m hoping things calm down this weekend enough for me to get some chunks of work done so I can keep a firm grip on my sanity this next week, knowing the closer we get to Finals it becomes a tenuous hold at best. I am determined to claim at least a day or two of complete freedom each week where I have no obligations to anyone but my homework and email inbox. Knowing what you need to properly function is an essential part of being a 4th year student, and the sooner you figure it out the better you’ll feel around this time. We’re still a ways to go before G-day, but making sure you’re getting the rest you need is essential to making it to the finish line.

Hang in there!

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