Well, my first semester at Queen’s University in the Master of Art Conservation program is finally wrapping up. I will be handing in my last assignment very soon. Then I get to breathe a great sigh of relief and give a toast to myself for a semester well completed.
I feel like I started off pretty out of my element, but I know that I’ve grown leaps and bounds from when I started in September. Reflecting on my semester now, this is what I wish I would have been able to tell myself in September:
- When you are feeling overwhelmed, just stop and breathe, there is lots of time, and you do not need to figure everything out at this exact moment.
- Don’t wait for someone to tell you what to do. You will be expected to do your homework and you need to come prepared to lab with a plan for yourself each time.
- There really isn’t a “right” and “wrong” way of doing things. There are more “generally accepted procedures” and you get to decide what is right and wrong for your object keeping in mind modern conservation principles.
- Rely on your classmates, they will be your lifeline and your greatest support.
- Take more time to care for yourself.
- This is likely the hardest semester you will have to get through, five classes is a very full schedule (also you will have lots more work on top of these 5 classes if you add in writing your SSHRC proposal). Just get through the semester the best you can, next semester there will only be three classes, so your life will find balance again.
- Don’t beat yourself up if your photo-documentation isn’t perfect in the beginning, you’ll be a pro by the end of the semester.
- Trust yourself and your ideas, your unique perspective will be rewarded.
- Be patient. Things will get easier.