E > P

When I first read the name and description of this compulsory unit I was enrolled into, I was less than thrilled.

“Creative Process” — a class that aims to “build awareness of a reliable and thorough creative process” within students. Sound boring to you? No? Well it did to me.

I wasn’t particularly sure what to expect when I stepped into this class apart from the fact that it would be theory based. All my other subjects this trimester are very practical and hands on – Introduction to 3D, Traditional Animation, and Production Art. This was the class that I expected to be mostly fluff.

The first class was confusing – we were given an introduction to the topic and then an assignment brief that seemed vague and complicated. I don’t think anyone really had any idea what we were supposed to be submitting until a few weeks in.

So with a fast approaching deadline, I spent the majority of this week creating a presentation for my peers and teacher that I hope they’d understand.

You see, this assignment is one of three. The overall brief is to propose a creative project around the subject of “enthusiast to professional”. The first phase is composed of undertaking some research and looking into a “hunch” for your project, then presenting it in front of everyone else.

I won’t speak much more about my assignment because I don’t want to make it the main focus of this post – rather I thought I’d use it as a way to reflect a little.

I’m no stranger to tertiary study. I’ve complete a bunch of short courses and discontinued a 4 year double degree course that I decided to go right out of high school. Despite feeling a little older than most of my peers, so far I am thoroughly enjoying my classes and the atmosphere of the institution. The teachers and SRC do a great job of helping the first years and they try their hardest to make everyone feel comfortable.

I’m doing my best to stay on top of assignments and homework and admit that although there could be improvement, I’m doing better than expected. Earning a Bachelor’s degree (albeit I’m still in the “diploma” stage of the course) is vastly different from studying for any other sort of qualification certificate (I’ve done a cert II, cert III and cert IV) here in Sydney. The workload is far heavier and things are much more formal. My previously aforementioned attempt at a degree did not end well six years ago due to the overwhelming sense of stress and anxiety I was feeling as a result of attending university. I couldn’t keep up with the workload no matter how much I studied, and for the first time in my life I was failing classes. I also apparently took too many subjects. I wish someone had told me that earlier.

Maybe I had forgotten how that all felt when I enrolled into my current course, but I was mildly surprised at how much work was required of me for each class. I guess they don’t call it “full time study” for nothing. So far I’m still coping relatively well, but have found that time has become a lot more precious to me.

I mentioned that the assignment I worked on this past week required research. Our teacher wanted us to do two types: primary (firsthand) and secondary research into professionals working in the creative industry. I didn’t particularly enjoy this task, but it wasn’t the worst. In fact, I can say that despite my initial impression of this class, I’ve been given a lot of insight and advice into “transitioning from an enthusiast to a professional”, which I believe is how most people would define their dream job – making a career out of something they enjoy. I’ve found two pieces of wisdom that have stuck with me since first coming across them – not only in relation to the brief, but just good advice in general. To summarise:

  1. Don’t be afraid to show anyone your work.
  2. It’s okay to not be able to “do it all”.

Simple, but something I definitely needed to hear.

Making the decision to enroll into a creative course was difficult. I initially contacted the school to ask a question I couldn’t find the answer to on their website. They replied with a phone call and then an interview to come in the week after. “Bring your portfolio”, they said. The only problem? I didn’t have one.

The idea of having a portfolio makes me uncomfortable. It’s a body of work that’s supposed to showcase your skills and past projects – something you should be proud showing off to a potential employer or client. But what if you don’t have any work your proud of?

I consider myself someone who loves to make things, but if I’m honest, I am almost never content with anything that I make. Photos I’ve taken, things I’ve drawn, videos I’ve made – I can always see all the flaws of every thing that I create. And as a result, I’m afraid to show these things to people in fear that they’ll see what I see. It comes in varying degrees depending on what it is – I am less anxious about posting photos online than I am about posting drawings online (even if I’m not very good at either), and I am comfortable writing online (like right now) but extremely uncomfortable promoting anything I’ve made, online.

And so attending a creative school – there is a lot of drawing involved, and times where it’s necessary to show those drawing to others. This is one of the struggles I’m learning to overcome right now. It’s just so hard to show people my work! But I know that if I never do, I’m hindering my own growth and development, big time!

Undertaking full time study has also taken out a huge chunk of my time. I’ve given up financial stability, proper sleep, and part of my social life to make room for homework and assignments, while still being able to take breaks and focus on my ministry and hobbies.

The internal fight for me right now is trying to be content with what I’m doing and figuring out my priorities. I have to believe that all the missed social outings, being dear with money, and early mornings are worth my time. If I don’t believe that, then it becomes very hard to function properly.

Part of this includes my struggle with choosing what passion projects to work on in my spare time. I have a never ending list of thing I want to do, and it seems that every time I cross out one item, three more pop up. It’s painful because there are so many things on that list that have been there for years and years but have never come to fruition. It’s also a struggle because I can’t seem to decide on just one hobby. Between writing on this blog, photography, d&d, drawing, and making pretty videos, I’ve never been able to stick to “just one” for very long. I know there isn’t a rule that says I have to, but working out a good balance of the five that allows me to be consistent in any of them has been impossible so far.

This is particularly frustrating to me because I believe that consistency is one of the keys to growth, and without consistency in any of these things, I can’t feel myself improving in any of them. Despite knowing this, I can’t bring myself to choose only one or two hobbies – and even if I did, shouldn’t I then be using that time to work instead?

It’s all a huge mess in my head, and now I think about it, I think my room is a manifestation of what’s going on in there. Unfinished projects hidden in every corner, supplies for crafts I’ve never started – all these things taking up the precious space I have. Yet I am unwilling to let go.

You may have noticed my regular blog posts are much shorter nowadays – usually some photos and not much else. This is because while I do have the desire to post something more meaningful, I just don’t always have the means for it. I’m sacrificing some quality for consistency. It doesn’t satisfy me, but maybe that’s the solution to my problem? Either way, something needs to be lost if I want to keep up, and that’s okay.

— Deborah

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