In hindsight it was one of the most decisive moments in my life. I would count it right up there with deciding to have children. Your life changes. A fork in the path leads you to a different destination.
The decision I’m referring to is my decision to “bail out of college”. I had been doing great, and enjoying myself. And then just when you think you know what’s coming, a gust hits you broadside, and your world is turned upside down. For me that gust was a change in faculty. With the hiring of a new director of the art department during my third year, all the faculty with whom I had a rapport, quit in protest over some new contract language or some issues surrounding policy or general rights and privileges.
Why did this make such a big difference to me? Because Cornish was set up for the fourth year to be a thesis year, where Fine Art majors worked closely with a single instructor as an advisor, toward a final show in the Cornish Gallery. With all the instructors who I would’ve chosen to guide my senior year project “out the door”, I chose to drop out.
It would not be the first time I had left a project half finished in my life, nor the last. I dropped out of high school in my senior year, only to return and finish up at community college years later. But this was big. I had no money. No income. Nowhere in mind to go. Some of my classmates who chose similarly enrolled in other institutions, and I considered this. But in the end I chose a different path. I decided to travel.
I would see the great art of Europe. I would compliment my education with first hand experience of what I had been studying in Art History class. I had some romantic notion that I would hitch a ride on a freighter leaving out of the Canadian ports along the Great Lakes. This is where I pointed myself. And how was I going to get there? I would hop a boxcar, and ride the Canadian Pacific Railroad across Canada in the middle of winter.
Sound exciting? Stay tuned.
What was your life’s decisive moment? Leave a comment.