Wednesday, November 10, 2010



Ready for a bit of honesty here? I'm not really into Renaissance art. Now before you all stone me for choosing this program anyway, let me try to justify this.

I came here to learn something new. I came here to broaden my horizons and to grow as a person. I came here to gain independence. Those are good enough reasons, right?

Why'd I choose THIS program, though? That seems to be what people wonder when I confess to them that I'm going a bit crazy. It must be frustrating for my classmates: many of these people are majoring in Art History or something similar, meaning that this material is right up their alley, and here I am, the squirmy little kid who can't sit still through a whole lecture on some Madonna and Child altarpiece or a reliquary or tabernacle.

Alright, this stuff is interesting to a point. I liked it at first. It qualified as my "something new" that I wanted to learn. I went to the site visits, I took notes, I tried to care and be interested.

Honestly though? I'm not.

Maybe it's because every single one of my classes, besides Italian, has pretty much the same subject matter: Let's learn about the Medici. Let's learn about Frescos and family chapels and artists and artisans of the time.

It's very interesting looking when written out like that.

But I'm already intimidated because I have no prior knowledge. And though being thrown headfirst into this stuff was exhilarating at first, I'm becoming exhausted. Not even one literature class for me to redeem myself. I'm an English major. Books are my thing. They always will be. I'm starting to wish I'd picked a program whose subject matter was more focused towards studying literature and less towards studying religious art in the Renaissance. I don't feel SMART. I don't feel CAPABLE. I feel like I'm not supposed to be here.

I chose Italy mainly because I wanted to learn the language, and also because I wanted a chance to visit the ruins in Rome, Pompeii, etc. I've studied the Classics, I know about ancient Romans, and so visiting Rome this weekend and touring the Coliseum felt to me the way the Ancient Mariner must have felt when it began to rain (see poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, or song by Iron Maiden. Either will suffice). It was exciting to see where the Gladiators entered and exited the arena through the little passageways. It was amazing to climb to the top and to look out over the city. It was something I KNEW about, and instead of trying to collect all this new knowledge that I can't really connect to anything, I could build on what I already knew.

My point for this blog entry, I guess, is to make the point that it's important to examine the curriculum before you choose a program. If you're like me and want to jump into something totally new, beware that you may end up not caring for it that much. It happens. It's life, and we all have different interests.

I do not regret doing this program. It has helped me expand and mature as a person more than I ever thought I would. However, when the time comes, I will be ready to go home.

Why did I choose this program? Because I had to try in order to find out.

And that's how I live life.

1 comment:

  1. Visiting Rome has been one of the highlights of my studying abroad as well. I'm glad someone else felt the way I did about it.