The holidays have come and gone and we are back in the wood shop six days a week. Recalibrating my sensitivity and patience to the demands of the program has been challenging but I’m starting to feel capable again. It’s probably important to learn to work through the hard days. The time off provided an opportunity to reflect on what I have experienced and accomplished in four short months, the skills I’ve learned and projects completed that I am truly proud of.
Most of us have finished and presented our first major project to the class, before our winter show next week. Presentations are a nice way to make sense of what you’ve been working on for so long, and into which you’ve invested so much of yourself. The second years and even the faculty present projects they’ve recently completed – providing inspiration and reminding us that even they continue to face and overcome challenges.
Many of us presenting for the first time felt compelled to confess our mistakes before they were discovered by the discerning eyes of our classmates – though any shortcomings always seem to disappear in the beauty of the whole. It can be hard to have perspective so soon after the first project is completed but the encouraging tone of supportive comments and questions from classmates make the rawness and vulnerability of the moment easy to get through. The second year students, in their role as mentors, ask insightful questions and reassure the presenter; they seem so at ease emphasizing what we have succeeded in accomplishing. I suppose being in our shoes is still fresh in their minds. We’re very lucky to have them around for woodworking help, but more importantly, to absorb and be influenced by their personal strengths. They are each mature, responsible and compassionate – a pleasure to learn from. And for myself, who has a hard time fitting in and expressing my thoughts, I hope to one day connect with people the way they are able to.