Saturday, 31 March 2012

Getting into my stride as a student

I'm starting to feel more in control of the workload now.  We are into week 5, the expectations in most classes are clear and I've mentally defined the requirements for each class and visualised how to pace myself for the assorted assessments. 

Having delivered my presentation for History of Art, I realised I had completely forgotten the essay for Indigneous Studies which is due on Good Friday - about 10 days hence.  So on Wednesday I got a good book from the library and spent a large part of Thursday doing the background reading, and wrote about a third of the wordcount for the essay.  I can't say I wrote a third of the essay, as it is first draft, but I'm starting to get my thoughts in order.  I will spend most of this weekend working on it, and hopefully will be done by Sunday night.  I'm looking at the relevance of traditional Aboriginal art, its connection with Indigeneous identity, their land, belief systems and how it functions as a cultural literacy.

I have refined my plans for my textile module.  I am focussing on textile print, having dropped the idea of working with acrylic.  I have worked up a repeat border design that will fit on a print screen (the first ones were too large!).  I emulsed my screen, exposed it, washed it off - and discovered there was something wrong because the emulsion shed from the screen.  It was the first time I had used the screen so maybe the screen was greasy, or I had not dry wiped it properly so the emulsion was too thick to fix properly.  Anyway it failed!  So back to the beginning.  I asked Mark, the technician, for a bucket of emulsion, opened it, and gave it a good stir.  There was something wrong.  It should have a thick, syrupy, smooth consistency.  This was like jelly on the point of setting. Lumpy, granular and elastic.  A bit like very wet bread dough.  I called Mark, and he was horrified, because he said it had been exposed and was unusable.  The bucket of emulsion costs about $300!  Although the bucket was "new", the plastic seal had been removed when it was given to me, and looked like a tiny amount had been used.  He was appalled at the waste.  I could only imagine that someone has emulsed their screen, then left the open bucket in the studio, and not left it in the screen room, where where we work with a safe light that does not expose the emulsion.  Fortunately I am working early, so the delay while more emulsion is ordered is of no concern to me.

Yesterday, Friday, I received my feedback for my History of Art presentation.  Elizabeth, our tutor, said I did really well, handed my written feedback over and I discovered I scored 68%.  I am puzzled that I think the feedback is completely fair and accurate, yet I am disappointed.  The scores and rationale are exactly what I would have said and are completely fair comment, but are considerably lower than last year, when I scored much higher (and said clearly that I thought the scoring was over-generous!).  As usual I dropped points on depth of analysis (because I covered a lot of ground), use of abbreviations (I've worked in an environment where we used abbreviations and jargon all the time) and not enough quotes from other informed writers.  I achieved 10/10 for personal presentation style, and also scored highly for having an informed personal opinion and taking a clear stance for my argument.  So it was pretty typical for me - I know the things I do well, and I'm making small improvements in the things I find difficult.  I'm better at the broad brush coverage of a subject, than micro analysis and fiddling about with the details.  I do try, but I just hate fiddling about with silly little details.

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