Sunday, April 26, 2009

Student Showcase: The Last Four Sessions

Each year Peace College hosts a full day to celebrate the academic achievements of her students. Lunch is served on the lawn while there is music, dancing, and, for the past four years, sunny and warm weather. The four sessions I attended while at Student Showcase this year were also sessions that I was a part of in one way or another. Because of my academic love triangle with English and Graphic Design, I spent most of last Thursday running up and down stairs between the two academic departments, twice having to go to one late because of the one before bleeding over in time.

The first of the four sessions I attended was the Peace College Prism reading in the Main Parlor. I was the Design Editor for both last years and this years Prism. The Prism is Peace College's literary magazine and it's fascinating to look back on past magazines and see the different interpretations of the text. Unfortunately, Student Showcase is also the day that Dr. Duncan, the overseer of the Prism from the English department loses eight years of his life stressing over the Prism's last minute arrival. Of course they did as they always do and amongst a packed room, a panting pug, and an assortment of sugary edibles, people read aloud their poetry. Showcase always gives a great sense of worth for all the hard work that is put in throughout the school year. Seeing the Prism in its final form is perhaps the most tangible result of my endless hours pouring over the screen and my dorm room floor piecing together a fifty page magazine by hand. The second and perhaps most exciting part of my day's presentations was beginning upstairs as the reading began to get going on the Prism, so I slipped out the door with my parents close behind and made my way back upstairs.

Because I'm a lunatic when it comes to preparedness, my Graphic Design portfolio was meticulously laid out prior to me going downstairs for the Prism reading. People had been pouring in and out of the room so I quickly rearranged my disheveled work and tried to look as presentable as possible despite my skyrocketed anxiety attack being brought on by back to back presentations. My portfolio consisted mostly the things that I am also including in my digital portfolio online with a few additions. Most people gravitated to my book that I created a couple of years back, Homage to my Body. I feel like i'm starting to see a trend in what things of mine people see as exceptional and it has inspired me to make more books that I have had lying dormant in the back of my creative toolbox for the past few years. Other pieces that I included that were of interest were business cards, including my own, a packaging project for The Body Shop rereleasing a certain scent of soap, a completely number based calendar that I painted by hand and then worked with in Illustrator, a CD package, postcards, invitations, and several over ubiquitous designer type projects. I also managed to include in my portfolio presentation the newest Prism from downstairs, an exciting start to the session. Of course as luck would have it, my time overlapped yet again and I was as carefully as one can stuffing my portfolio into my laptop bag and running back downstairs.

I got to the door and Dr. Laskowski was looking over a presentation. I was obviously late. My parents and I among other stragglers stood patiently outside the door shifting our weight from one foot to another waiting for the presentation to end so we could make our not-so-sneak-attack into the classroom. Once the presentation was over and the low thunder of clapping erupted, the outsiders made their way in and found a nice cozy place in the corner of the classroom. Feeling like a herded animal mashed behind a classroom full of people and chairs, I tried to imagine in my head more space around me, and it was impossible to free myself of my claustrophobic tendencies. Five or six presentations later, I bolted to the front of the room and was glad to be free and capable of ranging in my domain of five cubic feet. I wasn't nervous about presenting, although I was pissed I forgot to mention Nell Gwyn and not long after my suave throw-down of the Seventeenth Century whore, the session was over. Time to head back upstairs.

The last session that I was part of was thankfully low-key. Upstairs in the gallery space hung several of my paintings and some other projects, including a photomontage that I created several years back in Drawing [it's a permanent installation]. Everything was looking good there and I eavesdropped on a few people talking about how awesome my paintings were before heading down to the Wellness Center to see the new work hung from the Advanced Graphic Design Studio class. Upon arriving I was bombarded with people that I knew, since I often spend mornings lounging around in the Wellness Center more frequently than a hypochondriac. The new work was strong and it was fascinating to see how differently the approach of the newer class toward wellness was than our class a year ago at Showcase. Some of my old art was still hanging so I went and paid homage to myself and felt good about yet another permanent installation and then as things began to wind down, walked my parents back to their car.

As the hot sun was blown across my back and through my hair in a mild yet beachy breeze, I took a few moments to reflect that my time at Peace was coming to an end, and that before long I would walk onto the stage on graduation day a student and leave it a graduate. I've just gotten a part time design job for the summer so that uneasy feeling of being asked "What are you doing after you graduate?" won't be so hard to swallow anymore. I'm still looking for more opportunities though and strangely enough, it seems like several will be coming from Peace College. This is as much a testimony as it is a plug; Peace College has been life-giving and life-changing. I can hardly imagine the summer is beginning so soon.

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