The Best of Both Worlds
Before even the start of this essay, I am contemptuous of it. Not because I have a particular disdain for writing or expressing my thoughts on the whole—of course not—but for the sole reason that I am limited. I am limited intellectually because I am allotted only 500 words (which I never happened to feel was an adequate amount of space to convey even one idea). I am limited artistically due to the required professional and readable font and layout that is expected. And I am limited personally, because I have yet to cultivate a voice that would produce the perfect impression within the confines of this paper. But as I write this scalding criticism of an essay I have yet to start, I feel the need to ask myself: why in the world do I to feel this way? The answer, quite unfortunately, is because of the very education that has allowed me to do it.
So far in my academically dominated life, I have had ample experience in both the liberal and fine arts disciplines. I spent the first part of my higher education in an intensely academic preparatory school, where I earned my diploma after a rigorous (and slightly torturous) four years. On the heels of high school, I quickly enrolled in a fine arts college (applying the August before my senior year), where I spent two years freely wandering and expressing myself. While both experiences had their pros and cons, I could not help but feel imbalanced every step of the way. Very often, I was scornful of each school, believing they were not offering me proper instruction and that, somehow, neither of these situations actually fulfilled any of my needs. It was unfortunate, but the unequivocal truth of the matter.
In high school, logic ruled and strict boundaries were set; my opinions were often degraded and I had absolutely no connection to my peers. I was in this incredible mental state of restrained pandemonium at that school, the odd sensation of feeling rebellious and submissive at the same time. Combined with the bubbling hormones commonly associated with adolescence, it was an arduous time to say the least. But, I would not trade it in for another experience, because what I learned there I could not learn anywhere else. Though it pains me to say it, my basic skills of reasoning and logic were nurtured in a way that will never leave me, and I am a better person for it. Still, the scars inflicted will never heal, and I will always resent it.
Art school was the flip side of the coin. Free and bohemian, I have no objections saying that it was a much more enjoyable experience. I was inspired regularly, built relationships, and produced some of the best work I ever had. But, as a school, it was so disorganized and topsy-turvy I encountered too many frustrating problems: professors had no skill in the art of teaching, grades were late, paperwork had to be repeatedly filled out; it was a mess. Not to mention the overall subjective nature of art; how can someone possibly put a letter grade on that?
To achieve this proper balance, I have found it necessary to pursue a sort of mélange of an education, combining the two spheres of thought into a tightly packed five years. Aside from the ambitious thought of obtaining two degrees simultaneously, the notion of a BA/BFA program lends itself to the idea that for the first time in my life, I would have achieved this proper balance. It would hopefully seem, anyway. Do I want to spend another five years in school? Yes. And no. Regardless of the Hamlet-esque indecisiveness, I am secure in the fact that there is to be absolutely no other venue for me to learn and blossom in the manner that I personally need. I will always be indecisive about my future, (and my present, for that matter) and I will always want the whole plate if I were ever to feel satisfied.
Whether it’s self-righteous, pathetic, or brilliant, this is the path I have chosen to follow. Despite the cynical tone of this essay, I am charmed by the notion of studying two major disciplines concurrently, and I expect I will do better at the New School than any of the previous institutions. Certainly this is speculation, but given my past it seems only logical that the two halves I accomplished will eventually culminate in a whole.
I seem to have gone over the suggested limit by…three hundred and seventy-eight words. Sorry.