Wednesday, May 21, 2008

paint slinging epiphany

You know that total mind sweep that happens when someone asks you to list your top 5 favorite books/movies/brands of toilet paper/methods of mass destruction? Maybe it doesn't happen to you. Maybe you've taken the time to prepare and memorize a battery of 10 possible top 5 lists. I have not done so and am therefore faced with an intense eye squinting attack of blankness when asked "favorites" questions. The same sort of recall void has flared up every time I've attempted to write something this week. I know I had ideas at some point, possibly on the plane ride back from California or right after that belligerent guy wiped out on a scooter outside our apartment, but as soon as I started really thinking about what to say, my internal scribe refused to cooperate. So I've fired the impish dullard, and I'm on the lookout for a new publishing slave. Perhaps one that doesn't send subliminal messages of failure and mockery while I'm trying to compose a sentence. For now I'll have to rely on my own caffeine shriveled brain cells.

Let's start with something simple, like career path.

I graduated from a liberal arts school with a B.S. in psychology. I wasn't interested in teaching or research, so I tried to get excited about clinical psychology because I figured head shrinking was the only alternative. I even went so far as to take the GRE subject test and print out forests worth of program information and applications. Eventually I decided I wasn't invested enough to make the financial and, well, psychological commitment that graduate school required.

A few years later, as coincidence would have it, my dad got remarried to none other than a clinical psychologist. So for a second time, I tossed around the idea of becoming a head shrinker. I met with my dad's wife to get some insider information about the day to day workload, but this phase was even shorter lived than the first one. A few months after meeting with my dad's wife, I opted for massage therapy school and decided to wait on the Ph.D. decision.

Fast forward 2 years and massage therapy is a distant (and painful) memory. I've had the academic itch for a while now. It turns into a full body rash when I'm surrounded by design students foaming at the mouth after their latest rabble-rousing lecture. The problem is I haven't found anything that particularly makes my hippocampus jump around like it's been dosed with hot sauce. But I decided I would study for the general and psychology GREs anyway and hope that by the time I made it to the essay writing, I'd have some passion to inject into the me-fest that is the personal statement. So a few weeks ago I broke down and used the remainder of my Barnes & Noble gift card to buy GRE books.

(don't worry, it's almost over. here's a cat in a sink to distract you for a minute)

During my laughable math studying sessions, I've been trying to imagine myself as a clinical psychologist. I've mentioned the idea to a few people, and every time I say it I feel like a big fraud. Don't get me wrong, it's a perfectly respectable career, but something about the idea just doesn't fit with the image I have of the answer to that most annoying interview question "where do you see yourself in 10 years?" It's possible that all the creative speak from charrow's classmates has leeched into my blood stream and poisoned my rational decision making apparatus, but the conceptions I have about being a psychologist are just plain boring.

And then it hit me. There may be a compromise here. What about Art Therapy? It's a masters program. It incorporates psychology AND paint slinging fun. Here's how I know it might be The Way: I'm getting excited just writing about it and I want to call all the friends I haven't spoken to in weeks/months to tell them that I finally have something to talk about!

Now I just have to figure out where to get the studio art credits. Anybody know of an affordable place to take art classes in NYC?


Steve said...

Sadly, no -- I don't know of an affordable place to do ANYTHING in NYC.

But I'm glad you settled on Art Therapy -- that was actually going to be my suggestion too. I have a friend who's a retired art therapist. I'm not sure when she got her training, but I can scope her out and see what info or tips she has...

herding tapeworms said...

yeah..."affordable" by ny standards would have to be my goal. something cheaper than giving up my first born child will do.

ester said...

our first (evil) roommate in NYC transitioned from a career in PR to studying art therapy at Pratt in Brooklyn. i don't know if the school is affordable but apparently it didn't have too many requirements.