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.