11 May, 2009

The Dean, Where I Am, Fear, Stress, and Uncertainty.

The meeting with the dean didn't go badly, but it didn't go well. He suggested I meet with Evil Tutor and himself to discuss my workload and how to manage it. He sympathized with my situation, even told me about a similar situation he had with a tutor he had in grad school. But he said the rules tie his hands and prevent him from helping me. He did offer to look for a loophole in the rules, though. He's been very friendly to me, and I really appreciate his candor. I just wish he could do something more to help me.

I spent this weekend trying to work on my retrieval project. I get a new project assigned tomorrow. And I still have to redo all the work in my portfolio and redo the portfolio itself. By the end of the month. It isn't possible, and I am a wreck. I am falling apart in every way, every day. I really need someone to help support me right now. I just need the monstrous load of work and stress to lessen.

So I emailed the Dean again, and I've included the email below. Names have been changed for obvious reasons. It is a very familiar email, and I did that in part because I don't give a shit anymore, and in part because he responds very well to honesty about a situation. I tried playing it professional at first, and realized that he will mirror my approach to a situation. I only share this email because I feel it expresses where I am emotionally about the potential of being kicked out/asked to repeat first year/etc...

" Dear "Dean",

I have been considering your offer to meet with "Evil Tutor" (henceforth ET) and me to sort out my workload. Although I worry that he will take it personally and it might affect my grades even more, I think perhaps it is a good idea to talk to him about how to manage my pile of homework. I have nothing to lose, right?

I mean... all I want from CSM is for them to take my money and give me the chance to TRY and learn something. The tutors can tell me I'm shit, they can laugh at my work, they can tell me over and over that my work is awful. I truly, honestly do not mind as long as they tell me why. I just need the chance to do what the rest of the succeeding students are doing- work on one project at a time.

I will take that sketchbook course that is offered over the summer. I will take any extra courses over the summer that will help me improve. I will do extra work over the summer to make up for the retrieval projects, if the school will only let me spread out the work. I would even suffer a blow to my ego and grovel, beg to move on to 2nd year if it would help. I have met some of the 2nd and 3rd year tutors and I connect with their teaching styles much better than I do with "ET"'s. I could do this. But if I had to repeat 1st year with him again.... I can promise you I would not finish, even if I COULD afford to repeat. He and I, despite getting along in person, do not mesh well in the tutor-student situation.

I don't know if I mentioned this to you yet, but I have ADHD- attention deficit hyperactive disorder. Focusing, laying out timetables, understanding time, planning... these things are unusually hard for me to do. I usually take a medication for this, but the medication I am on is not available in the UK, and so I am operating at a huge deficit. And despite that fact I'm only 2 points short of passing. That is an achievement. I only mention this to make sure you know that I am not a slacker, nor do I expect an easy ride. I just need a little help from the university, and the opportunity to have the time to delve into one project at a time, try new things, really FOCUS on one concept. I can get this, I know I can.

I belong here. I belong at CSM. I am sure of that. Ask any of my classmates, even the ones who don't like me or my work. They will tell you the same thing. That may sound cocky, but it is also true.

All I ask is that CSM continue to take my money, continue to insult my work, and let me move onto 2nd year. I ask that they let me spread my work out a little bit. I stumbled early on in the year and I have never been able to catch up. I'm not asking a lot. I am not asking them to let me off the hook, just dull the hook a little. Give me some more time.

If you think that talking to "ET", or the head of the university, or anyone will help, please tell me what to do. I spent this whole weekend trying to work on the retrieval project sketchbook and I'm finding that I am failing in all the same ways I have before. I am so stressed out I can't find a new way to approach it, you know? I am trying to focus, but the looming monster of another set of double projects, plus the portfolio, plus the work IN the portfolio is really setting me up for failure. In case balancing all that for someone with ADHD wasn't difficult enough, the stress and fear of not being able to move on to 2nd year is making creative thinking nearly impossible for me. Any artist understands that, and I am sure you do too.

I know you cannot bend the rules for me. Who can?

Thank you for yet again reading another inappropriately familiar rant from me,

I feel utterly destroyed these days. I am so down on myself and my design abilities I can barely get out of bed in the morning, and barely sleep at night. I am making myself ill with stress and contained fury at feeling powerless over my situation. I don't know what I want anymore. Do I want to stay? Do I want to just drop out? If I dropped out could I forgive myself? I want to stay and give it one last go, but the amount of work I have to do is almost impossible, especially when I am this stressed out.

I am so lost and confused, and have never felt more alone in my life.

I just want someone to help me.

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