Thursday, February 4, 2010

My classes

For the past three semesters I've been in school, I've fucking hated it. My college education began at an isty-bitsy school in the heart of Manhattan. It's a liberal arts college that used to be an all-girls catholic high school. You know, nuns, priests, body and blood of christ, the whole Roman Catholic nine yards. You'd figure a place with that backround would be able to deliver a quality education. My Writ101 class was based on a contemporary novel: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Yup. I spent an entire semester analyzing Harry Potter. Me, the girl whose senior Advanced Placement World Literature readings included Waiting For Godot, The Metamorphosis, Crime & Punishment, Hamlet, and Tess of the D'Urbervilles, was subjected to critically analyzing Harry Potter. I love Harry and will re-read those books once every year, but honestly I would rather shoot my own brains out than try to pretend that Harry Potter is good enough to be analyzed at a college level. I quit that school and went to high school two, as they like to call it in my town, which is the county college nearby. I went into my Saturday morning classes hung over every single Saturday, managed to help my Art History professor teach his own class (because he had no fucking clue how to do it), and completed not a single one of my Foundation Drawing assignments and pulled an A. A brief respite from that insanity in Little Cayman, and then back to county college for another semester of not trying. I didn't hand in one single assignment and got straight B's. Imagine the frustration I've been dealing with, please? To go from doing nothing but school all day every day to twidling my thumbs in college really grates on a person's brains.

Thank you God for this study abroad! The school I am at now is actually going to be challenging. I'd have thought it challenging in high school at the height of my educational OCD. I think I may actually be intimidated. It's probably because I'm taking mostly studio classes, for the first time structured classes where I'm actually going to have to learn something. I definitely like the feeling.

I start class on Monday afternoons at 3 (which is excellent so I can travel or party on weekends). I have Intermediate Painting in the Raffaelo painting room, which, guess what, used to be the bedroom of a prince. Absurd. It lasts until 8:30 at night and I'm required to stay til the very last minute. We're expected to finish drawings and paintings that are assigned during class and we actually have homework. Not only do we have to paint at home but we've also got writing assignments. IN ADDITION TO THE READINGS WE HAVE EACH WEEK! Call me crazy but thats impressive. My professor is this really strange looking Italian woman with kind of a snooty attitude. "I'm the director of the art program here so anything you ever need you should come to me immidiately" she said with her thick Italian accent in the smallest voice ever. She hovered over my shoulder the entire first half of our intro exams, required of all students in advanced art classes. I realized upon reflection that this was probably her dumb idea. What if a student really sucks at art but passed Foundation level and just really loved to draw? We had to first sketch an item in the room with charcoal and for the second part paint the object. I spent twenty minutes looking at various shapes and sizes of different bottles and ugly boxes, a few lamps and candles, and a mortar and pestle?, before striking gold with a plastic lily. I love drawing with charcoal and I'll go ahead and admit that my drawing was totally the best in the class. I started my painting with the professor STILL at my shoulder right before our half hour break. The good thing is these classes are structured into two sessions. One with our instructor and another with a Teachers Assistant. I went out and got pizza with a girl from class at Ti Amo next door. Pizza by the slice is a rarity in this country and I was overjoyed to find it so close to my school. Our teachers assistant was there after our break and not the professor. He also hovered at my shoulder but instead of just watching me work gave me advice and joked with me about my lily painting which had become a half Georgia O'Keefe half Jackson Pollock that reflected my anger. I had been getting irritated at the painting because I was given only black, white, yellow, half dried out blue, and pink acrylic paint made for children's projects (i.e. finger painting) to mix colors with. We joked together even though he could barely speak English and I love him. In my brain I'm having a whirlwind romance with him that is not only Italian and romantic but also illegal.

Tuesdays start at 12 with Italian class. I hate this class because it's all review of things I know already. My dumpy little professor (whose lipstick is terrible) teaches the class dreadfully slow; basically this class makes me miserable. It's the only one reminiscient of the other shitty college classes I've had. Whatever, I can deal with this one annoying class because I'll learn Italian on the streets. My second class is Intermediate Drawing at 3 which again lasts until 8:30 and again insists on my presence until that exact time. My professor in this class is much cooler than my Painting professor. For our first class she walked us to the store that will sell us our art supplies and scored us all a 15% discount (which will also apply for the other supplies I'm buying for my other classes. Hell yes!). Our entrance exam for this class was to choose between the busts of a man or a woman and draw it. I chose the woman. Big mistake. I suck at drawing portraits, especially when I am meant to draw them in a limited time. By the end of the first half of class I was ready to run up to the stupid sculpture and kick it over. I went to Ti Amo again during break with another friend I had made and went back to class feeling a little better. My contentment turned to pure delight when I discovered that my T.A. for this class was the same guy as in Painting. We joked again about my drawing, which was shitty and we both knew it. He gave me some tips to make it look halfway decent and hung around with me pretty much the whole time. I love him.

Wednesdays are my favorite. I start my day at 12 for Travel Writing. This class is already my favorite class. Travel writing is what I want to do, if you couldn't figure that out already by the blog and references to becoming a journalist. The professor is this cute little lady with an outstanding sense of humor and an extensive knowledge of the history of Florence and Italy. Her class is going to be the most fun, I can already tell. Her class requires curiosity and the amount I have is certainly enough to stack up. Our first assignment is to write about a phenomenon we've experienced since we've been in Florence. I'm definitely going to blog about the subject I choose after I had in my paper. After her class I ventured with a friend for some lunch and had a seriously refreshing meal. We went to a hole in the wall joint called The Oil Shoppe. They specialize in greasy, nasty, delicious sandwiches complimented by french fries. Praise the good Lord for a place whose menu includes french fries! I'm from New Jersey; grease is integral to my blood circulation and my stomach has a difficult time processing food that hasn't already been processed with chemical terribleness. Eating a sandwich from The Oil Shoppe gave me that gross feeling that lingers with you all night and into the next day and is a feeling you need to love when you live on the Jersey Shore. The best part is it's only 5 Euro for a sandwich and fries and includes a bottle of water. I'll be frequenting this place. When I got to my second class, Foundation Sculpture, at 3 p.m. I was feeling wonderfully foul. I sat down in the ceramic lab before the other students and who should walk in but my T.A.? Guess what? He's my professor for this class. God, I love him. We had an intro to the course and were given out intro exam, which was drawing objects from around the class to show all their dimensions. Mine was the best again, for sure. Even better, I think, than the drawings of some super-seasoned sculpture professionals. Their sculptures will beat mine any day, for sure, but my drawings were kind of sweet. I didn't go to Ti Amo during break because I was still so full from lunch but instead hung around with my future husband and finished up my drawings. I met my T.A., who turned out to be my Drawning professor, and got to go home early.

I had my second Italian session on Thursday at 12 which sucked exactly as much as on Tuesday but still managed to come at 1:30 feeling really great about this semester. Not only do I start classes at 12 every day, which theoretically means I could go out every single night in this place, but I met my soul mate, spent a solid 15 hours making and learning art, and am taking a class that will potentially help to skyrocket me into my future career. Yeah, it's safe to say this is going to be my best semester ever.

Arrivederci, for now.
Love, Gabby

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