Making it and the ‘real world’

I’m going to be entering the ‘real world’ soon. It’s full of sharks and scary things like world hunger and poverty. It’s one week to go till I finish university and I leave the safe hand of education that’s been my Lollypop Lady for the last twenty years.

On a less funny note, It’s needless to say that I am entering an unfriendly environment to pursue the career in the arts. Today we elected a Tory government that will no doubt strip the art budget and eradicate the importance of creativity from school curriculums and universities. Certainly there has never been a more difficult and uncertain time for a art student to graduate.

I think every student, particularly an art student in their last few days is full of panic and fear as deadlines draw closer, time runs out and there seems to an increasing glaze over my class mates eyes. They’re listening to my conversations, but secretly in the back of their mind they’re thinking, ‘I need to get this printed’ and ‘shit, I haven’t bought a 19 inch LCD TV, oh what about wall mounts, what screws do I need…..?’

There is no judgement of course, stress levels are high and no-one’s getting enough sleep anymore. As well as the pressure of getting mass amounts of work done, every art student has these extra tick boxes to worry about, mid life crisis seems to come twenty years earlier during the last week of term.

My top fears all going on in my head at once are:

  1. I need to finish the work on time otherwise I’m not graduating.
  2. Followed by, this work has to be the best thing I’ve ever done otherwise my entire uni course wasn’t worth it.
  3. As well as, it needs to have my individual style and voice like no-one else in the world (oh shit, someone else is doing the same project as me.)
  4. Plus, I really don’t want to move back with my parents. Where am I going to live?
  5. Will I ever share a studio with my uni friends again? / Will I ever be in a studio again that’s not my bedroom?
  6. While thinking, it would be really nice to have a job thats not at a Tesco Extra store.
  7. And contemplating, are my tutors going to dump me for the new even cooler younger fresher students after I’ve graduated? (Yes they will, you’re just a number!)
  8. Avoiding bank statements in the post and thinking, how am I going to pay off my overdraft? But I need to buy a TV, wood and a nails to build this bloody show that the university should have paid for # where did my £9,000 go? Nobody seems to know…
  9. I need more sleep.
  10. Was it all worth it?

I suppose for me in particular I’m someone who likes balance and likes to be in control of my time (I’m a Libra). This last week has been exciting as well as crazily chaotic. I’ve opened up my own private show one week before my final university deadline. Insane! Yes! It’s not my fault though, because the General Election is this week and this seemed like the prime opportunity to set up a Pop-Up Poll Booth with my political caricatures.

Undeniable it’s gone very well. Not many third years get their own private show and have Sky News show up and interview you about it. This may sound really great and successful, but all I seem to want is more, and every time I seem to get my foot in the door of the art world it’s slammed in my face.

It’s the term ‘making it’ that seems to be my constant barrier. Every show, every glimpse of success runs cold and nothing seems to happen. The future seems like a void of nothingness, I’m waiting for my big bang but the universe waited a billion years, so I’m not expecting much.

That seems to be a repetitive problem for most art students. They’ll graduate, they wont make it and they’ll pursue a career elsewhere. What’s going to make me any different? I don’t know, but since I’m doing this blog every month you’ll be hearing about my failures or maybe my rise to fame as an illustrator.

Me and Sophie joked that this blog would be really funny if it ended with, “I thought I was going to make it… I didn’t.” Oh well, at least we can all have a good laugh about the problems and obstacles I’m going to encounter. Ha Ha Ha.

(Secretly crying inside….)

Making it and the 'real world'

Holly Macdonald is a political agony aunt for Kollektiv Gallery.

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