How Do I Learn to Stop Worrying and Love Art School?
March 19, 2013 4:18 PM   Subscribe

Due to a mix of laziness, depression, social anxiety and loneliness, I'm not doing too great in school. I really need to get it together, and I just don't know how to do it. I feel tapped out at the end of the day and I'm tired of it. I like art, but going to school for it just isn't very fulfilling. I'm thinking I just need to get through it and I'll be okay, but how do I develop the work ethic that my classmates have?

I would google study skills or something, but I don't do notes or scantrons, my classes are all Photoshop and Illustrator, graphite and bristol board, that kind of thing. I spend about 30 hours a week in class, and between Monday and Friday I pretty much spend most of my time before, between and after classes working on homework projects, or procrastinating on them. I wake up and have homework. I have homework between classes. I get home and have homework. I regularly come to class without homework, or worse, don't go to class because I'm ashamed that I didn't finish it. Every time I go to class, I see my classmates with their homework, and many of these people have the same course load that I do. I just don't get it. I don't understand how they attend every class and are able to have their homework done.

I'm in therapy at the college. They've prescribed me Zoloft, which is keeping my day to day mood up, but that doesn't really help my work ethic. When I see the therapist (not the psychiatrist), it seems like our sessions mostly consist of me explaining my frustrations and her explaining why my thoughts are silly. Yeah, I know I have a lot of distorted thoughts about social anxiety, about the quality of my work, and so on. I know, but can you maybe help me? Trying to troubleshoot CBT in the moment in my day to day life is an exhausting mental effort for me, and I usually feel like I'm not capable of it, even though in therapy sessions I can understand why my thoughts are distorted.

I just feel so goddamn lonely. I get home at the end of the day, and I stare at the blank photoshop file or the blank piece of paper and I know, well, I can work on this, but I'm going to be alone until I get back to school, and even then I just feel alone in a crowd. I can't focus on my schoolwork, I feel this intense need to be around people. I do have friends, but none of them are actually in school, they go to work and hang out with each other a lot, and I feel like I'm working harder than they are and yet I'm just alone. I don't understand why they can have a rich social life, and they can have partners, and I can be in school and feel like I don't deserve love. I'm not that weird.

I have been reaching out and getting involved in clubs, actually I just joined one with a lot of friendly people, but they're only active every couple weeks. I'm so tired of going home at the end of the night, often 10pm, and just flopping down on my couch at home. I have roommates who are friendly enough, but they keep to themselves. I know I want to interact with people more, but I don't even know what it would look like to have the level of interaction I want. It's really hard for me to give a shit about art in an academic sense when I just think that maybe I don't want to spend my life holed up in my bedroom, carefully drawing something, completely alone. Maybe I should have picked a major that would involve social interaction more, because more and more, art just seems like the most isolating lonely thing ever. I decided on this because I wanted to get more involved in the local art gallery scene, to meet people, have a skill that I could use to interact with people, and it seems like since I came to college I become more and more isolated. I'm fucking sick and tired of it.

I have a hard time with procrastination and perfectionism. I often sit down to start a project, and when I first start and haven't really shaped up a good project yet, it's like my brain is screaming at me, "No, don't put the pencil there, that's horrible! Oh look at that, that's a horrible circle! That doesn't look like a person at all! Look at that, more evidence of how much you suck! Just stop! Are you really going to show people this piece of crap? God, just stop. Stop! This is shit! You suck! Who do you think you're fooling? You're just playing at being an artist, this is bullshit! Everyone will see what a dilettante you are! Are you really going to put this up on the wall for critique? God, you suck, you have no idea what you're doing!" I had a project last semester that I just couldn't start, because every time I tried to put the pencil to paper, within 90 seconds I was contemplating suicide. I tried for like, 5 hours. Sit down, can't do it, get up, have a smoke, sit down, can't do it, check my email, try to do it again, can't do it. I started crying twice. I failed that class.

The thing is, when I actually do my homework, it's pretty good! It's comparable to everyone else's, and every once and a while, it's even one of the best. I go through this process almost every single time I do a homework project, unless it's something really easy. I start the assignment, feel really frustrated and confused, question whether I should even be pursuing art, and eventually I muddle through, feel like what I'm doing is complete crap, and then lo and behold, I come to school, and everyone else has done something of a similar skill level. Once I get myself to actually come to class and show my work, it turns out I actually feel somewhat proud of it. So why can't I just get past all this perfectionistic thinking?? It's getting to the point where I feel like maybe dropping out of school is a good thing, maybe I'll get some temp job in an office or something, because I cannot put myself through the ringer like this anymore. I'm so tired of torturing myself every single time I try to put pencil to paper or mouse to Illustrator. This used to be fun, before I started school. I know these are distorted thoughts, but I always feel so ridiculously unprepared every time I try to start something.

I feel like I'm not even myself, like I'm trying to manage myself like a sim whose "social" meter is completely empty. Please, how do I cope with not being able to have as much social interaction as I want, and how do I get past all this perfectionistic thinking and just get down to work?
posted by malapropist to Human Relations (23 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
It's getting to the point where I feel like maybe dropping out of school is a good thing, maybe I'll get some temp job in an office or something, because I cannot put myself through the ringer like this anymore. I'm so tired of torturing myself every single time I try to put pencil to paper or mouse to Illustrator. This used to be fun, before I started school.

I think you are now in a scenario where your issues of perfectionism, avoidance, and time management have finally been forced. They are in your face and you cannot escape from them anymore. To me this is your chance to finally break through those issues. I think if you drop out of school, you will just live within the box these issues create for you for a long time to come. Because you will arrange your life so that you are never forced to confront them like this.

About your need to be around people, does the instructor make the class email list public? (Or maybe there is a tool for you to send class emails on Blackboard or similar?) If so, you can write an email to your class suggesting the formation of a study group, or just looking for one study buddy. You suggest a time for the group to meet and a location. (School computer lab? Campus coffee shop?). If you are too intimidated to do this you can talk to the instructor and ask if they would be willing to help you set up a study group. You can also see Student Services to see if you can get a free tutor. Even if you can *learn* the material fine by yourself, the tutor can help you get your wheels in motion to start working on it.
posted by cairdeas at 4:35 PM on March 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


When I see the therapist (not the psychiatrist), it seems like our sessions mostly consist of me explaining my frustrations and her explaining why my thoughts are silly.

If this is an accurate description of your therapist-patient relationship, it's time for a new therapist. You should come out of therapy feeling better than that.
posted by xingcat at 4:36 PM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


A lot of this sounds familiar. I don't know whether you can do this with your particular type of work and class schedule, but the only way I got through my dissertation was to write it in coffee shops and diners that were willing to let me hang out all afternoon for the price of a few coffees. Having other humans around, even if I wasn't talking to them every moment, made the process endurable enough to get through.

And then also bracket out a piece of every week that is a no-go zone for work, so you're allowed to spend it on fun and socializing without guilt.
posted by shattersock at 4:37 PM on March 19, 2013


So I had this project one summer. I got a grant for it, even. But as soon as I got started on it my perfectionist tendencies kicked in, and I COULD NOT do the project. I just couldn't. And I was totally, totally miserable every minute that I was trying to force myself to do it.

At the end of the summer I still didn't have anything, but I was out of time. I had failed. And you know what? I'm so glad that I decided to give them back their money, rather than keep it and kill myself over this stupid project.

It sounds like you're in a similar spot between a rock and a hard place. I feel for you, so so much, but I don't know how to make your workload better, or more manageable. I couldn't do it. But that was the lesson that I needed to learn. It might also be the one that you need to learn.

And please, don't feel alone. You aren't alone. Realize that loneliness, while debilitating, is still just a feeling.
posted by tooloudinhere at 4:52 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is there a computer lab you can work at, instead of home? A drawing/painting studio? Working out in public would be less isolating and more motivating. Also, whenever the assignment lends itself to it, invite a classmate to collaborate with you. Invite classmates to go see art in galleries with you.
posted by xo at 4:52 PM on March 19, 2013


Study/drawing groups were the only time I saw my friends during art school. Going down to the coffee-shop and squeezing into a booth with laptops and headphones is really good socializing. You take breaks and keep each other on task.
If you want to continue in the art world after school, things will be exactly the same except no one will be making you work, so deal with this stuff now. The best advice I got (from a teacher who liked to give out huge, impossible to finish assignments) : everyone makes 1000 bad paintings before they make a good one, and you might as well start getting them out of the way now.
Also, probably get a different therapist.
posted by velebita at 5:07 PM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Maybe I should have picked a major that would involve social interaction more, because more and more, art just seems like the most isolating lonely thing ever. I decided on this because I wanted to get more involved in the local art gallery scene, to meet people, have a skill that I could use to interact with people,

I agree with cairdeas that this is bringing some internal issues to light that you should deal with, but it might also be a good idea to go to your schools academic counselling service and ask them to help you think of a major that you might prefer? Depending on your college, perhaps you can add a minor in $CrazyPeopleOrientedClasses without switching over entirely. Or you can switch to something else and have art be a hobby.
posted by jacalata at 5:10 PM on March 19, 2013


To begin, why are you in art school?
Being an artist is a very lonely and isolating career for the most part, but that is what makes it so great for creative introverts. It's also a career where you have to be incredibly self-disciplined and self-motivated or you will not succeed.

The only thing I can suggest is to make a huge effort to connect with your classmates. Start a study group and get together often.

Otherwise, is it an option to change what you are studying?

If you're actually an creative extrovert, maybe you'd do better as a gallery owner, art store owner or even an art teacher/instructor.
posted by tenaciousmoon at 5:14 PM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


No wonder you're miserable and demotivated, if that's what the inside of your head sounds like!

There Is Nothing Wrong With You: Going Beyond Self-Hate by Cheri Huber, plus a (minimal and sporadic) sitting practice have helped a lot to lower the volume of the mean voices in my head.

Seconding tenaciousmoon: work dates with friends, where we go to a cafe and open our laptops facing each other, are good for when I get stuck.
posted by ottereroticist at 5:34 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Start a project with the idea that it's going to be "shit work" from the start and do all the things you have told yourself are "off limits", or "below you", or "not really your style" or whatever. Stop self destructing your creativity with all the wonderful ways you've taught yourself how to. If you're scared to be bad, just BE bad, and do shit work, and get it over with, and realize you won't DIE. Lots of wonderful projects start with mistakes. Make mistakes - you're in school. You're supposed to fail at most of the things you try.

You don't sound too far into art school. Lots of people drop out of art school early on, since they find it's actually not for them. It may be time to talk to yourself and see if art school is really for you.

You're lonely? Go to a party and tell a person that you're in art school. Chat with them, and if you hit it off, invite them over after the party to do some drawing with crayons, or have an impromptu photo shoot, or something like that. There really was no end of the little visitors back to my bedroom/studio. Being in art school is like the biggest license to act like the most self-obsessed and whackiest person you can possibly be.
posted by alex_skazat at 5:48 PM on March 19, 2013


Is that familiar routine you describe in your sixth paragraph something you only experience in art classes? I'm just wondering if that bad headspace would manifest itself in any other coursework, whether it had a creative/self-directed component or not.
(Because it would for me, far more and differently so than in studio arts or a comparable environment. Maybe we should swap out existences.)
posted by infinite joy at 6:05 PM on March 19, 2013


I'm curious as to what year you're in. I'm in my last semester of an arts degree, and this is often exactly how I felt my sophomore year... particularly the whole "oh sweet Jesus why do I even try because everyone else is so much better and someday I will be outed as a sham oh shit". If you're still pretty early on, I'd stick it out at least a while longer if you really think this is right for you - more along the lines of "I really want this, why is it kicking my ass so hard" vs. "I am working hard and I don't think I will attain something I want at the end of this."

You should definitely make your situation known to your professors. I can assure you they have seen this happen before and would much rather you show up to class and hear other critiques and participate in whatever else is happening in class that day (instruction, lecture, etc.) without homework vs. you not being there at all.

As far as the loneliness, nthing the suggestion to get studio or study groups together. Many friends I have made here started out as just "studio buddies"... akin to how I would get groups of people together to study for history exams and whatnot in high school. You're not constantly talking and you should still get work done at at least -almost- the same pace you would be otherwise, but it's nice to have someone else around for a quick "hey, this composition is not working/this face is wonky/etc., can you help me out real quick?" and just for the company. Do upperclassmen get studio space at your school? I choose not to have one (I prefer to work at home), but from my understanding, its a big bonding thing here... it's basically like being part-time roommates with a bunch of people.

Are there other colleges around? Go to where they hang out. Join their clubs, if you can. Or just make a concrete effort to make friends with people outside of your school. It makes you a more well-rounded person and will serve you well in terms of still relating to other people (sounds dumb, but I know so many people who just speak nothing but ArtTalk at this point and really can't connect well with people who don't really "get it"... this tends to be a little alienating), networking, etc. etc.

A non-social but loneliness-reducing alternative: I also like to watch dumb TV while I work. It's usually reality competitions (I'm going through old seasons of Top Chef I saw air years ago right now), or something else where I don't have to be paying attention to it 90% of the time -- I save the good stuff for when I'm actually watching. I also am a big podcast and audiobook fan, and will listen to those while I work as well, especially when I need all of the screen real estate I can get. It's just nice to have other human voices and general sound around, plus I like learning other stuff while I'm working. YMMV though, I know some find that kind of thing really distracting and all of a sudden you've watched 3 hours of TV and gotten 0 work done.
posted by jorlyfish at 6:26 PM on March 19, 2013


Actually, infinite joy, when I was doing general ed, I often felt that feeling, though not as intense, and only at the start, right as I started every essay I ever had to write. Whether for English class, or Psych, or Poly Sci, or Sociology, or even Bio. The difference was, in those classes, I would pore over my research sources until I started to feel the flow, as Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi would put it. I was never that passionate about those classes, but I just assumed that once I got into my core major courses, which I'm doing now, I would feel the same kind of flow that I did then, and just go with it.

It turns out that... well, I'm not. Whereas if you give me a prompt, I can write you a 5 or 10 page paper easily, within 6-8 hours, the same is not true if you give me some design parameters. I will, maybe 40% of the time, just flounder and not be able to show you anything but a blank page. The other 60%? Maybe 20% I can show you something I am proud of. The last 40% breaks down into two categories, seemingly at random to me. Either way, if we're talking about this last 40%, I feel like I just winged it, like it was complete bullshit, but it breaks down in two ways: one, (20%) it's received well, like it was a well thought out concept. Like, the mistakes I made are interpreted in critique like they were deliberate choices, and even applauded.

The other half (the other 20%) is interpreted as, there's an idea in here somewhere, but you didn't do enough work to get it there. Which is fine. This kind of critique actually makes me wonder why I even worry, because clearly my teachers reward effort and not 'talent', whatever that is. They emphasize the process, not the product, and yet I feel like when I come home at night alone and lonely I can't keep up with the process. That's all.
posted by malapropist at 6:43 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm in my second semester of junior year, btw.
posted by malapropist at 6:43 PM on March 19, 2013


Um, not to threadsit, but jorlyfish, sounds like you know what I'm talking about. I just wanted to clarify, based on your response, that I'm closer to the "I really want this, why is it kicking my ass so hard" end of the spectrum than the "I am working hard and I don't think I will attain something I want at the end of this" end.

It's just that, in the middle of a semester that's kicking your ass, it's hard to rationalize your way out of it. I already know that the only way out is to work my way through the assignments.
posted by malapropist at 6:48 PM on March 19, 2013


I was like you are when I was first in college. I did not face my perfectionism and it ruled my life for a long time. It prevented me from ever trying new things that I could not be good at right out of the gate. It is not a good way to live.

In my case I got old and out grew giving a shit. I wish though I had done it differently. Being one of the herd is such a great thing (they are not all doing it perfectly even if they look like they are on the surface) - it is a much better way to treat oneself. I think that is the key- how you treat yourself in your head. All the negative self talk has to be dealt with directly. This may sound a little woo-woo but I talk to myself a lot. I pay attention to what I say to myself and if I start on a negative track I really try and respond to it with a reality check. It works well.

I am an Art major. I just received A's on two papers and flunked the mid-term in Art History. Missed the first 40 questions (picture ID). I suck at memorization. I want to blame it on my age but no one is letting me. I will not be waiving my test around when I get it back. It will be a very cringey moment for me.

So what does it say about me as person. Not a whole heck of a lot. I will not be getting an A in this class...so what. I have learned that my test prep was not a good one and I need to change it for the final. That is all I have to do.

So what if your grades are average this semester? Can you give yourself permission to be average? It is so much easier to be one of the herd and then excel in some areas than having to be perfect in all of them
posted by cairnoflore at 6:49 PM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


It sounds like you do have the skill and talent for this, but are in a personal low point. Quitting school will not help with that, and could very well make it worse. And even though you daydream about being a student who writes instead of draws, I can tel, you personally that English majors have as much existential angst and social anxiety as anyone. That won't solve your problems.

Get a new therapist. Find drawing groups and attend them. Draw where there are people. Schedule time to be social, because just reading your schedule is making me tired.
posted by emjaybee at 7:02 PM on March 19, 2013


as for the therapy you might want to ask your therapist to try a different therapeutic approach than CBT. it just isn't for everyone (me included). maybe see if they will work from a more psychodynamic or family systems orientation as those are relationally focused. i suggest this because perfectionism is at root a relational problem. if your therapist won't try another perspective then i'd ask for a different one that doesn't use CBT as the main approach. also, you may want to talk to your doc about increasing the zoloft. fyi: IANATherapist. you could also look into group therapy which you might like.

i also agree that some sort of study/support group with your fellow art students would be great. chances are your fellow art students are struggling as well so would welcome the company. you guys could all set aside a little time to talk about how hard art school is too and not just do art work together. it sounds like you are talented and will probably get through this, but if it is all just too much is art history a possible major instead? sorry, i don't know if art schools ever have that as a major or not.

i feel for you. when i was in college years ago i had similar problems and finally dropped out but i wasn't an art major. it was the right decision for me but i've always struggled since then and not having the proper training has handicapped me careerwise. i did try to go back a few times but couldn't make it work. it looks like now at my ripe middle-aged age i am going to go back to finish my undergrad as an art major. then, on to grad school to become an art therapist. i'm going to be old when i'm done but either way i'll be old so why not. :)

oh yeah. here is your mantra: done is better than good. or, done is better than perfect. either one works. i heard it first as 'done is better than good' and that is so shocking for a perfectionist that i kind of like it better. good luck!
posted by wildflower at 7:44 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


wildflower's comment reminds me -- Much of my bonding with other students comes over complaining. I'm not much of a complainer in a general sense, but don't feel like you can't be like "This assignment was ridiculous and I have not slept in 3 days" to a classmate, even if they are someone you perceive to be handling everything really well. Chances are, they're in the same boat. I think your perception of other students is something you should also look at. They might seem to be handling things better than you are, but I bet a lot of your fellow students are thinking and feeling a lot of the same things... they just aren't showing or saying them to you (yet).
posted by jorlyfish at 8:03 PM on March 19, 2013


when I was doing general ed, I often felt that feeling, though not as intense, and only at the start, right as I started every essay I ever had to write. Whether for English class, or Psych, or Poly Sci, or Sociology, or even Bio. The difference was, in those classes, I would pore over my research sources until I started to feel the flow

Let me ask you a question. Do you feel like you have an innate talent for biology? I mean do you have a sense, somewhere, that there is something about you that would make you a better biologist than most people who are interested in being biologists?

Another question. Picture this: you go through a semester of poly sci doing the best work you are capable of and after the final exam you go visit the professor. The professor says to you, "I have to be frank. I really do not think you are cut out to be a political scientist as a profession. I don't see any indication that you would ever be exceptional in that area, so I don't think you should plan to make it your life's work." Would you feel emotionally devastated and stunned? Would you feel like a part of your identity had just been sliced off like one of your hands? Would you think, "NO, he's wrong, wrong!" or "Well, okay then."

Now take those two questions and substitute "art" for biology and political science. Do the answers change?

If your answers were no/no and then yes/yes, I think that might be a root of why you are having so much trouble.
posted by cairdeas at 9:13 PM on March 19, 2013


I wish I could just reach out and give you a hug, because your post reminds me so strongly of my own experience with Art School....24 years ago.

Like you, I felt like a "fraud" because I often felt that my work was not quite as good as my classmates' work. Sometimes, I'd score a "hit" on my assignment, but more often it was so-so.

Personally, I found that my own tendencies of perfectionism, combined with procrastination and the broad unbounded nature of the art assignments was ultimately not a good fit for me.

A couple of things I came to realize that helped me:
1. Going to art school is the "big fish small pond" to "large pond small fish" transition. In high school there are usually only a couple of students who are real standouts at art. Take those 2 top art students out of 200 high schools and you end up with an art school class. Of course there is going to be variation in talent, dedication, creativity, and overall quality of work. Even though I was a very good art student in high school, I came to realize I was only a mediocre student in art school. And while this recognition stung for a while ("I'm not as good as I thought I was!"), ultimately, THIS IS NOT BAD, NOR IS IS A JUDGMENT ON YOUR CHARACTER. It is, what it is.

2. In my opinion, art is a type of "calling." An artist has to be so enmeshed in doing art, so driven by it, that they really can't do anything else. Those fellow students of mine that would be compulsively sketching in their sketchbooks, while I was reading a book or exercising or going to a party? Those are the artists that made it, both through art school and into successful art-field careers.

3. The broad, unbounded nature of art assignments was a struggle for me. I can creatively problem-solve, but I need some parameters to work with and a general idea of what the final product will be. It is much easier to do this in writing a paper - the creative part is picking the topic, and stringing the words and ideas together - but the ultimate goal is a paper. With art, the ultimate goal can be...anything. An art assignment like "create a new creature in Photoshop. This can be anything from an animal hybrid, something impossibly cute, or a scary monster. You must make the image visually convincing" - you can easily chew up mental time and work time just figuring out a direction to go. I needed better "bounds" to the work assignments; the lack of bounds caused big problems, in combination with my own tendencies for procrastination and perfectionism.

4. The ephemeral nature of art bothered me. I was in a Commercial Art and Illustration major, and I found myself thinking, "is this it? I make an Illustration for an advertisement, magazine story, package design, etc - then it gets used once and tossed away?" Personally, I needed something that was more lasting, and of public benefit. I needed to contribute to the wrold in some way (large or small), and commerical art felt like it was too small and too disposable.

I ultimately decided to drop out of art school after my sophomore year. I took some time off from college, took entry-level jobs and supported myself, then returned 2 years later and pursued a degree in a different field. Art school was not a waste; I learned some excellent problem-solving skills, learned the limits of my creativity, learned a lot about what I am and am not good at.

Now I work at a job that I enjoy, where my skills are valued and appreciated, and is directly related to the major I ultimately chose. With benefit of hindsight, I feel like I "dodged a bullet" by dropping out of art school. Admittedly, it certainly didn't seem so at the time...dropping out of school without a solid plan for what comes next seemed like I had deliberately stamped "failure" on my own forehead. But, once I moved away form the art-college town, nobody knew, and I downplayed it. "College just didn't work for me right now, I may go back someday" was a perfectly acceptable explanation in my early 20s. It's certainly not the end of the world.

Anyway, the above may or may not apply to you. Given as food for thought. I hope you do figure out whether this is a good, well-fitting path for you; if you choose to stay in art school, I hope you learn to manage yourself and your workload a bit better. Good luck.
posted by Ardea alba at 6:46 AM on March 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


I am a lot like you. Here's my advice:
1. New therapist who will help you work through these issues without judgment.
2. Self-compassion. Learn to stop beating yourself up, and instead accept your strengths and weaknesses so you can free up mental energy to focus on what's important.
3. Realize that you are NOT the only one like this, that others DO face the same issues even though it seems like they're extremely productive and focused all the time. Nobody likes to talk about it, but it's true! Take it with a HUGE grain of salt when people go on and on about all the great things they've accomplished -- it feels much better, and is much more socially acceptable, to talk about that then about how you sat there all night paralyzed in front of a blank sheet of paper and then woke up feeling sleep-deprived and panicked.
4. Commit to putting pencil to paper and doing a terrible job. A first draft can suck. Do something that sucks. Don't even try to make it good. Don't go back and edit. Go ahead and fail. You'll come back to it later if you need to.
posted by chickenmagazine at 12:44 PM on March 20, 2013


Wow, your situation is so extremely close to mine, that I'm almost scared that my school's psychologist has an account on here, will come across this, and think it's me.

This was me a few weeks ago, and now I'm worse off than you are. I've already given up in my head and plan to leave. I don't like being one of those people who was weeded out of art school because of the tough foundational year, but that might be it. It's also an issue with me. I know something is wrong based on my past and how I am generally in life. Basically, I'm not going to do well in any structured, academic setting, so I know that it's more about me personally than not being able to handle the work, art not being for me, etc.. Maybe that's it with you. If you have an underlying mental health condition, nothing is really going to work as smoothly until you get that sorted out, which I'm in the process of doing before progressing further and repeating the same patterns.

I second the reply about using a tutor. I don't really need a tutor with writing exactly, but they are useful for starting and doing the work. They will sit you down and have you write it. They'll help outline everything in a manageable way and give you substantial stuff to work with. Part of the reason that they're there is for time management and organization.

Right now, I would suggest trying to get a referral to get a diagnosis, or if you've already had one in the past, then just get the documentation. Then, try to maybe get a medical leave of absence to sort things out.

The thing about art projects, at least in art school, is that they take up lots of space. You can cover a whole floor with matboard and glue and all that crap. the coffee house suggestion is not useful in that regard, but it's good for photoshop assignments. You also can't BS art last minute like you can with various essays.
posted by wholecornandsalt at 6:59 AM on March 22, 2013


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