fbpx En Route #30 — PCA

En Route #30


Finish Line

Let’s all take a deep breath and exhale. Finals are over. Congratulations, we survived. This past week has been a mixture of sweet relief and bittersweet goodbyes as we seniors say farewell to more than just our classes but also to school itself. Gosh, it’s hard to even wrap my mind around. This morning I’ll be attending the final class of my college career and I don’t think it’s fully sunk in. 4 years, 48 months, 1,460 days. That’s how long I’ve been a college student. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Before I get teary eyed, let’s start at the beginning. According to my Google calendar, this would appear to be one of my lighter weeks. Two free days, classes as usual, and only one extracurricular meeting to boot. However, anyone who caught a glimpse of me on campus furiously printing on the RISO, or frantically running from art store to art store in search of red staples knows different. In a nutshell, it’s been a long week, but ultimately a good one.

First up on the Senior Farewell Tour was Senior Studio II. I won’t lie, this one wasn’t terribly sad. We showed off our finished thesis books in all their glory, and pretty much just worked on our senior presentations for the rest of class. This will likely be the only class I ever take that didn’t feel like a class at all as it consisted of just me and my friend (the only other person graduating in Communication Design). Above all I will miss the luxury of the 2:1 student to teacher ratio and getting to have fun every Monday morning with some of my favorite people at PCA. Oh gosh wait this is getting a little sad. Let’s move on.

Next up was Project Management, admittedly this class didn’t get a lot of column inches here but was probably one of the most practically useful classes I’ve taken. Business structures and tax brackets probably doesn’t sound like fun to most art students, but I really appreciate how the professor really encouraged us to put our own personal touches to what could have been cut and dry assignments. We even got to present our work to a guest critique from Pratt which was a special treat for the graduating seniors. Since the class took place later than usual (and is online), being able to log off at 11pm and just go right to bed did feel rather nice.

Tuesday came with the last Senior Thesis class, which like Senior Studio wasn’t too sad. Fellow seniors will know that unlike most of our peers who can spend the next few days relaxing before their final critiques, we will be gearing up for our last hurdle, Thesis Defense (but more on that later). We showed our progress, discussed what we needed to produce between now and next week, then called it a day. I’ll be seeing most everyone next week, so no tears were shed as we wrapped up our last class. Graphics in RISO was probably the most jubilant as our professor planned a little party complete with food, drink, and memory card game mayhem! It was impossible to feel sad as everyone in the class gathered to celebrate the end of class with a smile.

In contrast to the beginning of the week, the middle did a good job of reminding me that school wasn’t over just yet. I had a good bit of work to get done before a final Thesis check-up on Thursday so it was time to play catch up and put in some hours of concentrated labor. By the time Thursday did come around, I was firmly ready to close all my Adobe programs and slip into a state of hibernation. I think we, as college students, sometimes forget how easy it is for us to turn nocturnal at this time of year. I could feel my neighbors ire as I cranked up my Taylor Swift playlist and threw down magazine spreads on InDesign at 3am. Having to wake up and get to school the next morning was enough to make me question this whole higher education thing. Of course I did manage to sneak in dinner with a friend, and we downed some onion soup and swapped critique horror stories, a favorite pastime at art school akin to telling ghost stories over the campfire.

Now at the end of the week, I can say that finals did indeed live up to the name. In all honesty, I’m drained. Done. Cooked through. It does take a lot of the sadness out of it for me as it’s hard to find the energy to mope when all I want to do is lay on my couch without moving for a couple of weeks. The only reason I continue to keep a grip on consciousness is this: Final Critique. Oh yes, just when you think you’re done, they pull you back in. Before we pop champagne bottles and gracefully exit stage left, we are tasked with one final curtain call. Unlike other critiques, this one is for all the marbles and does indeed affect our grades. The next few days will make us earn our cap and gown as we practice, rehearse, and prepare our final presentations as PCA seniors. I take comfort in the fact that only a few short days stand between us and freedom, and I’m throwing in every last bit of energy to make it count.

Wish us luck!

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