Tuesday, March 25, 2008


I decided that 2008 would be my year of "learning" - of taking courses in subjects that I have always had a keen interest in. After breaking all of my other New Year resolutions on the very night of New Year's Eve (a record, even for me), this seemed the easiest resolution to actually keep.

My life is so full of extremes at times that I felt I needed to balance it with an intellectual challenge of a different kind, one that would appeal to my academic nature while broadening my horizons. I am also concerned that I have developed an attention deficit disorder, a need to be constantly challenged that maybe this could help appease.

So I enrolled in an Art History course at New York University in February. NYU always held a mystical appeal to me. The University buildings, scattered around Washington Square in Soho, look modern and vibrant, crowds of "too cool for school" kids hanging outside.

The reality is that I am stuck for 2 hours every Monday evening in a windowless room along with 20 other students, crammed in a small and over-heated space, sitting on the same uncomfortable chair/table combination that you can spot in every American teen movies.
Our teacher is a lovely but slightly absent-minded old lady, always dressed in head to toe black. Her soft voice is almost drowned by the loud noise emanating from the projector she uses to show us works of art - sculptures, buildings, paintings, ceramics. She is completely useless with even this basic form of technology and every week something goes terribly wrong with the projector, sending her in a state of mild panic and us in a state of amusement.

The course is a little basic for my liking. Probably due to the fact that we are covering everything from Cave art to Modern art in just 10 weeks. But also because I realised that our European education puts a great emphasis on learning about history and art, which may not really be the case for Americans.

But I really enjoy it nonetheless. I haven't studied in such a long time that I forgot to take a notepad and pen to the first lesson, awkwardly realising that my blackberry (the centre of my daily life) was not going to cut it as a device to take proper notes on.

I am already planning my next course which I have decided will be Global Politics. If anything, it will be fascinating to hear it from an American point of view, which I'm sure will have me cringe in my seat more than once.

No comments: