Musings of an Overworked College Student

The other day I was chatting with a good friend, and I mentioned canvasandcrumepts. “You have a blog?” he asked. “Of course,” I said. “I post about it on Facebook all the time. I’m always going to museums and galleries and writing about what I see! How did you not know that?” So I pulled up the website to show him, and what I saw was absolutely devastating.

The date of my last post.

September 24th.

I almost cried. It’s November 12th. It’s ridiculous that I haven’t been able to sit down and write about any of the art I’ve been learning about in class, or the precious few visits I have been able to spare to the MFA. What is even more ridiculous is that I didn’t notice how much time has gone by. The past two months have been a whirl of classes, extra curricular activities, and full days spent at my favorite campus food spot (Tamper!! Shameless plug!!) doing… you guessed it… more work.

Somehow in these busy two months I have been able to still keep life beautiful. Here’s how:

1.Every class I am taking, I love. I am writing two research papers, one on the Cult of Relics in the Byzantine Empire, and the other on TJ Clark, the famous art historian. I even like my math class this year (it’s in writing now, Dad. Can’t deny it). It doesn’t feel so bad to be in the library at one am if I’m pouring over an interesting book.

2.Every activity I am involved with, I love. I helped plan a party for the Tufts University Art Gallery on Halloween that had over 450 guests. We decorated the gallery to look like a haunted forbidden forest, complete with a butcher-paper tree and a decrepit old sign pointing to the different exhibits, hell, and MIDTERMS. Working at the gallery during the day has also been incredibly rewarding. Ever since the Shahzia Sikander exhibit, Parallax, was written up in the Boston Globe, we have had tons of visitors eager to talk about art. I never know what kind of discussion I am going to get into when a stranger walks through the glass gallery doors. I am also super busy as executive editor of the Tufts Art Journal, Medium. Reading the research of my peers has been refreshing and eye-opening. I can’t wait to share the link to Medium with you all… it will be finished in several weeks! As an events coordinator for Arts Hause, I organized a mixed media night a couple weeks ago. A bunch of students came to make art out of glass vases, wooden boxes, and found objects from Goodwill. Even more fun than making art yourself is making art with other people. It was easily one of the best nights of the year. Aside from my visual art endeavors, my participation in sketch comedy, campus TV, vocal performance and dance here at Tufts take up an extraordinary amount of time. But, these activities add a different flavor of art to my daily life. It’s wonderful to go to sleep at night feeling like I’ve exercised so many different artistic limbs.

3.Sometimes I skip class. Every once in a while, this is the move. Last week I had a meltdown. Instead of going to math where there was an 85% chance I would have sobbed mid-proof, my best friend and I ordered Indian food and watched Sesame Street. Highly recommend.

4.Take our your headphones, and take the long way to class. I’ve recently started leaving my house ten minutes earlier than I need to, leaving my headphones at home, and just taking in the autumn on my way to class. I like to walk down the steps in the middle of the Prez Lawn. With each day, the trees become more and more bare and campus starts to look more and more like a creepy Tim Burton movie. (That’s a good thing!) Take in nature when you can. It’s not always about your destination, but the ~journey~.

5.Spend a lot of money on good food (sometimes). There is nothing I like more than making homework more enjoyable by eating at the same time. I’m big on omelets and quinoa bowls. Do you. Venturing outside the dining hall reminds you that there are real people in the world with real jobs who do real things and are not between the ages of 18 and 23. It’s refreshing.

6.Don’t cram for tests, cram for rewards. What I mean is, don’t cram right before the deadline. Cram three days before the deadline. Then, the next day, go to the MFA! I find I am more motivated to really focus if I have the promise of a lazy day of perusing art ahead of me. No time for a day at the MFA? An hour on the prez lawn will do the trick. Or a chocolate chip cranberry cookie. Whatever reminds you that outside the death trap of midterms, life is truly beautiful.

7.SEEK OUT ART IN UNEXPECTED PLACES! This is my favorite thing about, well, life. Art exists outside of institutions. You can find it in the form of public art. Think: murals. At Tufts, you can find it in several buildings’ lobbies, like the new building on 357 Boston Ave. I have found it in my friends’ artwork who take art classes at Tufts. It’s in the fashion choices of your friends, the open mic at the Rez, the free concerts at Distler. It’s on instagram, it’s in the Tufts Gallery and it’s in the Canon. The Observer. For non-Tufts readers, go out and find the equivalent of these spaces and publications where you’re from. I promise art is there if you look for it.

8.Remember, people are the makers of things, and they’re beautiful too. Saturday I’m going to a concert: Pigeons Playing Ping Pong at the Middle East Downstairs. I’m going with two good friends to see incredible live music. A few weeks ago I went over to my friend’s house before a frat party. We were all dressed and awkwardly ready at nine pm. So we watercolored for two hours on her bed. I had more fun doing that than actually going to the party,

So what’s the takeaway? Over-extend yourself until you’re involved in seven- that’s right, seven- extra curriculars in addition to 4.5 classes? No! Surround yourself with people you love, in places you love, doing things you love. Then, those seven extra curriculars don’t feel “extra” at all. They’re part of a day that make you wonderfully, unequivocally, happy.

Until next time! (Aka tomorrow because I have a lot of time to make up for)

xoxo, Chloe ❤

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