Salt of the Earth

I took my Spring 2018 semester off for mental health reasons after an overwhelming Fall semester. During these months I felt very disconnected from my environment, from other people, and from myself. Taking a break from school was terrifying, because it forced me to do something I never experienced before – I was no longer a full time student.  Instead of going to classes, I attended therapy sessions twice a week. Instead of focusing on my academics, I focused on fostering my personal growth. I find both of these objectives to be difficult in different ways. Whereas I had previously agonized over the Big Question (i.e. the meaning of life, my Earthly purpose, etc.), I listed off the things that added meaning to my life and incorporated them as much as possible into my regular routine. I decided that expressing myself and creating are pretty high on the list. Art has allowed me to explore myself, as well as the inner workings of other people.

I returned back to Geneseo with a different mindset and with different goals. selected courses that wouldn’t overwhelm me in addition to courses I would enjoy. I was also able to be apart of an off-campus art group that has motivated me to continue blocking off time in my schedule for creating. The presence of art on campus is disappointing, however I was fortunate enough to find like-minded peers who felt similarly and wanted more representation in the school. We were able to invent our own space to express, create, and share.

When I added this course to my schedule, I genuinely had no idea what I was getting myself into. From the course syllabus, I assumed the class was more of an internship where we would be helping Steve Prince with his projects. While I was not entirely mistaken, I did not expect to be able to continue my “super cool self-reflective journey” through a Geneseo class. As a Psychology major, I am able to learn about the state of the mind and society in the classes for my degree. In the first 2 weeks of this course, I have already reflected on myself, the state of the world, art, and the Geneseo community.

After our first class I was still unsure of what this course would hold for me. It wasn’t until we met with Steve in the Kinetic Gallery that I began to put together what this course could mean for me. Working in the “Urban Garden” felt like I was making a difference in Geneseo. Steve had created a safe space for students to create, express, and share stories on campus – using nothing but paper, charcoal, and vague instructions. Being able to  see the progress of the garden over the week in addition to talking to students that contributed was such an enlightening and heartwarming experience. This may sound cheesy and played out to death, but I felt closer to the Geneseo community than I ever had before. During the exhibit reception, Steve asked “if we were the salt of the earth, or just around for flavor?”. I want to keep creating and I am more motivated to keep sharing my art – I don’t want to just “exist”, I want to live and I want to make a difference. I want to share my own experiences and I want to keep listening to others’ experiences and learn from them.

The readings and discussions in class solidified that this class will expand upon my “disciplinary training”, but I now have expectations for this class to help me along my lil’ personal journey as well as help me further my understandings of life in general.

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