I decided to care a little less, relax a little more, let go of the things that really don't matter that much but have been keeping me up at night and making me bitchy and physically ill.
What did I let slide?
- Applying for the SNAG (Society of North American Goldsmiths) student scholarship. Why was I planning to apply in the first place? Because our teachers said we should. Because I wanted the recognition. Because I'm good at presenting myself on paper and thought I had a good shot. Because a couple thousand dollars is always a nice perk. HOWEVER...this application was causing me a tremendous amount of stress. In order to make it happen (due in two days, btw) I'd have to clean up/fix five pieces, photograph at least 10 pieces, edit in PhotoShop ad nauseum, select final images, write a little essay, get transcripts, figure out the third-party online application system, etc. I still feel a little guilty for not applying, like I'm going to let my professors down and somehow be shamed in front of my peers, but the balance of stress vs. potential reward just didn't seem right.
- Submitting 5 different pieces to the American Craft Council juried show. Again this would have involved significant fixing/clean up, photographing, editing, wholesale and retail pricing, and a heavy dose of my old friend stress. Instead I decided it was okay to just submit 2 pieces that I already have ready to go. They're not my most recent, and perhaps not my most spectacular. But it's something. Application finished this morning after putting it off for weeks because I was avoiding getting those other pieces ready.
- Not applying for the SNAG student exposition at their annual conference this year in Phoenix. Given the problems I've been having this semester, I don't feel that seeking the recognition and approval of others should be my main priority at this point. Sidelined to next year...
- Getting my new studio totally organized over spring break. This was a self-imposed deadline, a bit optimistic at best. I will organize bit by bit. No need to have an all-or-nothing mentality, which is definitely how I'd been feeling.
It's funny, once I made the decision not to do the above items (or to scale them back) I suddenly felt so much better about the workload I am facing at school. I have three midterm projects due this week and when I still had the scholarships and applications and what not on my to-do list, it seemed impossible to get through everything. Now that I've given myself permission to focus on school and let the other stuff slide a bit, I feel so much happier. The queasiness in my stomach is subsiding and the ropes in my shoulders are loosening. But I still feel guilty, like I'm doing something "wrong" by giving up on these scholarships and exhibitions...and then I tell myself, whatever, I'm an adult student and a big girl and I can make these decisions without worrying about the judgment of others.