Friday, 25 November 2011

A Decision

It has been a pretty torturous couple of weeks as I've tried to reach a decision about my Masters degree. I'm not someone who is afraid of a challenge, I like to feel pushed and I hate to give up on something once I've started but the last couple of months have not really worked for me. I've struggled to balance work with studying and still maintain something of a normal family life but it has been impossible and as a result I've been exhausted, run down and miserable for quite a long time. I've swung from feeling totally overwhelmed to telling myself to get a grip and get on with it... but ultimately something had to give... I started to think how I could cut back on my teaching.

Work from students at Missenden Abbey last w/e

So I have decided to withdraw from the MA. I've had a full on week of teaching and it occured to me that this is what I love doing best of all. I originally started the BA in Embroidered Textiles as a way of pushing my own work so that my teaching would remain fresh. It was a challenge at times and hard work but I loved it, distance learning suited me and would never have considered giving up... yet that decision was made for me when the school went into receivership. Then I got the chance to transfer to the MA at Hertfordshire and I jumped at the chance. It seemed too good an opportunity to miss. But it has left me feeling drained of energy and I think my teaching has suffered as a result.


Work from students at Art Van Go on Wednesday

But it has been so difficult to come to this decision. I've talked it over ad nauseum to anyone who will listen. Giving something up has negative connotations of failure and I knew I would have to come to terms with that. But I'm seeing it as a positive decision to withdraw which will have postive implications on my quality of life. I will still work on my research, visit exhibitions and exhibit my own work alongside my teaching. I have all sorts of plans that I had put on hold "until I finished my degree" which I now intend to pursue. In fact, all I see at the moment are the positives. I'm sure I will have occasional times of regret but really all I feel now is a huge weight off my shoulders. For the third time this week I've been told that I'm looking well... much better than in weeks which says it all really.

Work from students at The Letchworth Settlement on Thursday

There is so much more I could tell you about my decision making process but really all that matters is that I'm happy with it. And when I look at just a small sample of the work produced by my students in the past week and listen to their feedback, I know I've made the right decision.

40 comments:

  1. Well done for making the decision. I think the world would be a far better place if more folks decided to call it quits on some aspects of their lives. I don't think it really mattered what you gave up as long as you gave something up and it certainly looks like you shine when your teaching so that seems like a good place to be. One day I would hope you could come all the way out to Latvia and enthuse some more folks here.

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  2. A brave decision .... it's not giving in, it's living a life that's worth living!!!!
    Maybe you could do it another time when life is not so hectic!
    Good luck!
    xxx

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  3. Hopefully you can now settle down and enjoy life, having made your big decision. The work you have already done will not be wasted as it has expanded your knowledge and experience, and that will be useful in your teaching.
    I wish you good luck with everything, and more importantly, happiness and peace of mind.

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  4. Sometimes the bravest thing of all is knowing when and what to stop.
    Because none of it makes sense unless it makes you happy.

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  5. Heather and Ali say it all really.Now you can move on.

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  6. Hey, you're looking well... really really well.... good on you for putting yourself and what you love most at the top of the priority list. x

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  7. I know how difficult is must have been to make that decision - but the way you describe feeling since, means that you definitely made the right one. No one who knows you would EVER accuse you of being a quitter!
    Well done - and now we WILL have more time for cake!! x

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  8. Sounds like you have made the right decision for you, and that's all that matters. So looking forward to the DVD! :) Anesha

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  9. As long as you are happy with the decision, it is a good decision. You can also grow without doing a degree and since you already have all kinds of plans I think that is just what is gonna happen.

    Enjoy yourself, that is the best service you can do yourself.

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  10. It is good to know that you have reached a decision and that you are feeling positive about it. If something is making you miserable it is better to jettison it to concentrate on thing that make you happy.

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  11. It sounds as if you are being true to yourself - which is always the best way. Life is far too short and your family far too precious for you to be miserable - advice I was given when struggling over the decision to leave work a couple of years back, and think I need to take again myself.

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  12. It takes just as much courage to decide to quit as it does to continue, I had to withdraw from an MA as well, in something much less creative, so sympathise with the torture of making that decision. Well done, and good luck with all those "on holds", they will carry you forward with joy I hope

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  13. Now you have made the decision, you know that you have made the right decision! Well done and be happy!

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  14. Those last few words say it all really - "....I know I've made the right decision." You must have been through so much soul searching, so well done for coming to the decision that will make you happier. As has been said, you can never be accused of being a quitter!

    xxx

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  15. Now you will be ready to leave this dilemma behind you and get on with what you really want to do.

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  16. You know you've made the right decision - and I can see you love teaching.

    Phew! a big weight of your shoulders, no wonder you feel (and look) better.

    Celia
    x

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  17. I really understand how you didn't want to "quit" and the vague feelings of failure you might associate with it but ultimately there are only so many hours in the day and you should do what you love and makes you happy Gina. So pleased that you have sorted out your head Gina.

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  18. Gina, Life is too short to carry on doing something that is ruining your quality of life, well done for being brave enough to make the right decision.Onward and upward :)

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  19. Well good for you sorting out what really matters and dealing with it head on! Obviously teaching is the most important thing for you, so you did the right thing.
    Onwards and upwards now!
    Happy weekend,
    Vivienne x

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  20. Who would have thought an application of slap for a DVD would have had such far reaching consequences? Roll on the 12th, girl, I feel several glasses of prosecco coming our way...

    (nice lippy by the way)

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  21. A difficult decision, but it sounds like he right one. Enjoy your new freedom to explore and create.

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  22. That's great, Gina - you must feel a million times better. I'm absolutely certain that all the opportunities to do the things you love will easily and quickly cancel out any uneasiness about the decision - can't wait to see what you do next!

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  23. You must have made the right decision if you're looking and feeling better!

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  24. Making a decision to stop doing something isn't a sign of failure ... pursuing something that is causing a ripple effect of unhappiness is worse. By making this decision you have achieved just as much as a piece of paper with a qualification on it can ... you have achieved balance and happiness inyour life, and whats life without them?! Well done on having the strength and confidence to make this decision, I'm sure you'll be much happier and relaxed now.

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  25. Good for you. I am sure it is the right decision. Your students are evidence of the quality of your teaching and your commitment to that provides to much to others.

    Relax. Enjoy.

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  26. Gina, others have already said some of the words that I wanted to type.

    I applaud your decision, and know that you have based it on a multiplicity of factors.

    You have such enthusiasm about all things textiles, and from your posts it's easy to see that you've a deft touch in getting others to catch on to your enthusiasm. Is this not a a wonderful life gift?

    Yes!

    Your posts have already taught me so much, and I really look forward to clicking here regularly.

    (There's a huge debate going on nowadays about the value of various certifications, education and otherwise. I don't think any of us can truly see the future, but it's pretty wonderful to be on the path to it.)

    xo

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  27. I am really pleased that you have made the right decision. Life is too short. You really are a great teacher and do not need bits of paper to prove it. Have bought your DVD for daughter for xmas as she has shown an interest in free machining and who better to teach her!

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  28. I'm smiling because you are smiling....

    And here I am wondering if there really IS a man behind word verification because mine is: "blessem"!!!

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  29. You don't need a degree to validate your art. It is only worth doing if it helps you develop your work and if you felt at any stage diminished by the teaching structure it was not the right course for you. The other thing that degrees give is access to opportunities but you already have a network of contacts for your teaching and related activities and so you do not need that access.

    You have stepped back and made a difficult decision when it would have been easier in some respects to plod on. When my undergraduate students make similar decisions I tell them first how much I admire their courage and then I tell them that I know they will use that determination in future to make it the right decision. I know that I don't need to worry about you because everything that you have said in this post shows how much you have thought it through and also that you will be able to focus on the teaching and personal work that brings you joy.

    Sending you love
    Alice

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  30. Doing what you love most AND getting paid for it...has to be the best choice.
    At least you put your utmost into trying, if it was up to me, I'd give you your MA for 10 out of 10 for effort!
    Don't beat yourself up about it, be happy!

    Have a lovely relaxing weekend,

    Sandie xx

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  31. First of all you don't need a certificate to say how good you are. Things happen for a reason and the positiveness you're feeling at the moment is you starting to get to grips with that fact. You're not failing at anything just changing direction Enjoy your new found freedom

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  32. I don't see it as giving up just as a process that has enabled you to pin down what you really enjoy most. I'm sure that your students will be delighted with the decision. The last paragraph of your post says it all.

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  33. How brave - well done to make a decision like that shows how brave you are - I love the work you showed from your students - relax now and enjoy all the things you have not had time for.

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  34. I tough choice but it sounds like the right one. I think that your work is fantastic and I hope that one dya I will have the chance to be involved with one of your classes.
    I so wanted to to your sketchbook in August. I was on holiday at the time then when I got him I found out about my Dad.
    I have turned down a few commissions over the past coiuple of months due to not being able to concentrate. However, I had a call today asking for 8 scarves and I said yes. If teaching is your joy then it is the right choice.
    best of luck Gina.
    x

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  35. Gina, this is so obviously the right path. I feel so relieved for you. I almost feel like cheering. I made a very similar decision in 1999. Everyone (except my OH) told me it was wrong. It was an overwhelming relief when I finally did what I knew was right.

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  36. That must be such a weight lifted! At the end of the day a degree is just letters/a piece of paper, your work is beautiful and being able to pass your knowledge on to others through your teaching is so rewarding ........ just looking at the chocolates from the young embroiderers says it all for me x

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  37. You must feel such a sense of relief Gina! Here's to a very positive future! Lucy xx

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  38. Dear Gina,
    My heart went into my throat when I read this... as I too have wondered whether doing another masters degree would be worth it. I'm hanging in there for now but am putting it into perspective - trying to remind myself what is important and I know it is not marks!
    Bravo for making such a bold step. Only you can know what is right for your life. I decided to go this route because I hoped to teach but you already have that under your belt.
    Enjoy the freedom that your decision will bring. You have a lot of people rooting for you.

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  39. Well done, you can now get on with thoroughly enjoying what you want to do without all that pressure. Have fun, life's too short as they say!

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  40. I've just been enjoying the snippet of your video on you tube. Machine embroidery is something I've heard of and wondered about, but never explored, I have a feeling it could be addictive! You come across really well, a fantastic teacher, in the film. I was just reading about your decision to stop your MA, it sounds like you did the right thing, if it was making you miserable, it wasn't the right thing, so well done for making the brave decision you did. More time to do what you love can only be perfect for you! Vanessa xxx

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