Sunday, December 9, 2012

First Semester of Chicago Adventure

On Wednesday I will have completed my first semester of grad school and lived outside of Iowa for the first time.  The number one thing I've gotten out of this semester is perspective.  Learning about city life now will allow me to make better decisions for where I want to live in the future.  I've really enjoyed being 20 minutes away from downtown, there are so many activities available.  This semester I haven't been able to enjoy as many outside of class activities as I would have liked because of anatomy always looming over me.  

I haven't figured out the balance of school and life outside of class.  Not having a car and relying fully on public transportation gives a entirely new understanding of time commitment for commuting.  I lived a 45 minute drive away from my home in undergrad and that felt far.  Now, I'd say it takes about an hour to get anywhere specific in Chicago.  This change always made me weary of going out on weeknights and really weekends as well since I had Saturday morning anatomy reviews and projects to complete.  What I know now, is there is really plenty of time.  As long as I don't put off a project to the bitter end, I don't have to use all my waking hours for school, and I definitely shouldn't for my sanity's sake.

School is important and I've taken a lot of great classes this semester, though a couple classes gave me some frustration because of they were structured, but I've learned as much if not more outside of class.  I'm not a person big on change, every step I'm forced to take outside of my comfort zone is making me stronger for the future.  My career will be a large part of my life, but I also want to have a great life outside of that.  I hope that next semester I will make activities outside of class a priority, as crazy as that sounds for me it's completely necessary.  I don't want to leave Chicago in 2 years and not have completely explored the city.

Some highlights of my adventure so far:

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Pushing Through

I'm at the point where I am ready to be done.  Maybe a more accurate description is that I am done.  I know there are a number of assignments left but I'm spent.  My determination and inspiration have been burnt out and I need to take a break and reanalyze the situation.  Too bad the semester does not want to end when I'm out of gas.  I'm not the best at pushing through when exhausted, but of course I have to find a way.

The push brings up my feelings towards medical illustration and my part within the field.  This field is changing rapidly with technology and needs changing, yet I don't feel like older medical illustrators are embracing that change.  I feel like I'm receiving a watered down version of what things could be.  Making a website is a great skill to have, but what kind of websites are going to inspire people to seek out education about science?  What interactions will stick with people, effect them?  Having perfect shadow cores in hand drawn illustrations, honestly I care nothing about that.  It's outdated, unnecessary and if someone out there has desire to see old-school illustration there are a million people better than me at it that can deliver.  I'm not going to try to be better than people that have dedicated their entire lives to how illustration used to be.

I want to create ideas and processes that push average people to discover more, to get more, and to be treated respectfully.  I care about how illustrations effect people, not how perfect the illustration is.  We are saturated with media and its quantity changes its quality.  I think ideas need to be great but execution is no longer the end all be all.  Think of YouTube videos, how much they entertain us, yet many of them are just average people with camera phones messing around.  They have a good idea, they don't need a professional camera crew to capture it.  We watch it in 5 minutes, laugh, and move on with our lives.  We are affected quickly and move on just as fast.  Textbooks are going to move towards that soon, or at least I hope so.  How many of you actually read your textbooks?  I can think of one class where I consistently read (and I've taken many).  Usually I looked at the illustrations and read a few sentences if I needed clarification.  With iPads, I feel like textbooks can be cheaper and save paper while being able to seamless include video and interactive content.  Students can interact with textbooks as a group, asking questions, pointing out information that will be on the test, notes can be taken side by side to text of the textbook.  There are endless possibilities.  And here I am frustrated that I cram anatomy when my brain has moved on to other options.  As well as simply wanting to go home. I cannot wait to go home!