A New Chapter

By Kirsten Red Shirt-Shaw

Today marks a new chapter in my life.  I feel like I have marked way too many at this point.  Although for some odd reason this one seems slightly comforting.  When I was originally applying for college I was looking at art focused-ones only.  I skipped over places like Cal (University of California, Berkeley) or U.A. (University of Arizona) and kept my heart and mind set on somewhere strictly artistic.  Just never saw myself being a part of any other type of school.  When I got a letter from my first choice art school in Florida I was over the moon thrilled.  I screamed, jumped on the bed, and literally couldn’t stop smiling.  Once getting settled in (to art school) other things got in the way of my studies.  At the time a boy from back home, my being slightly homesick, and the stress level of hard work ( I let him have too much of my time instead of studying).  I packed my bags and left my dream school for home.  It’s a thing I regret every single day. Sometimes thinking about it makes me cry, I felt like I had a community there.  Like I was making friends which I never do as fast as I did.  Then again I wouldn’t have met my boyfriend so that’s a plus!  Back to my college life:  I took a gap year then online college (Arizona State University) as soon as I got back west.  I had applied to Notre Dame de Namur (NDNU) and was accepted but chose art school instead, now I was back at NDNU where I have been for two years.  I felt like my life was set and my dreams were set.  I had my boyfriend to share my college experience with everything seemed to be going well.  Then January of 2018 hit.  I ended up getting the flu for two weeks.  Missing those first two weeks of second semester of my 2nd year of college really messed me up.  I didn’t go back in fear of catching up.  Again bad mistake!  It wasn’t until this recent trip to Italy (where I took these two selfies) that I realized what I want to do with my life.

The art program at NDNU, to me, seemed to be falling apart as they sent out a letter last spring while I was sick, to all the NDNU students saying they were cutting the art program.  I just didn’t feel that sense of love for learning art there as I did in the past.  The only thing keeping me there was my boyfriend.  Whom I care about deeply.  He’s the reason I would get happy to go to class last fall when we met.  He will always be a motivating push for me there.   I kept my dreams always to myself.  Seeing other people happy with their lives always made me sad because I felt like my “college” life wasn’t perfect just yet.  It wasn’t until I sat down and talked with my mother that I realized my happiness comes from me, no one else.  I shouldn’t let other people’s college lives and happiness get to me.  They are happy because they choose to be and found a place that is right for them.  That is why I’ve decided to change my life for the better.

I looked online and found SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design).  I always heard of how amazing they are.  Their dedication towards students and their passion for art in the real world.  The reality was, inside me, I never saw myself there because I thought they were too good for me.  Finally after time and time again of thinking about going to an “Ivy League Art School” (if there is such a place).  I am doing it.  I am going to start off small and do online courses next winter.  This summer I thought I would go back to NDNU and change my major to English, but decided to stay with art!  My goals are within a year of starting, I will transfer to SCAD’s main campus in Savannah, Georgia.  Living in a dorm or apartment and taking real in-person classes with students just as artistic as I am.  It seems scary to me when I think about all this change.  I am so freaking ready, you have no idea.  Can’t wait to see what this new and final college chapter brings for me. I can’t wait to take on the challenge (stay true to myself). To quote what Gladys Knight once sang in a song, “Leaving on that midnight train to Georgia!”

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