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“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

August 25, 2016

(Some necessary background, since I guess I neglected to post this bit of news here – I have been an intern at the Worcester Art Museum since the end of May, working with the curatorial team to prepare for the medieval gallery’s re-installation in December 2016)

Sometimes I think taking on this curatorial internship wasn’t the most brilliant idea I’ve ever had – not because it isn’t wonderful (it is! But more on that later…), but because it takes coveted time away from my dissertation. I went into this thinking “it’s only for the summer, it’s a short term loss for a long term gain – this internship just might give me the experience I need to land a permanent non-academic job.” But silly me, even after this acknowledgement, I decided to take up the curatorial team’s offer to stay on until the medieval gallery opens in December – which means taking significantly more time away from a dissertation that is already moving at a snail’s pace. Ugh.

This week, I felt the effects of this dilemma even more keenly. I relished having two full, incredibly productive writing days earlier this week, and somehow I managed to whip my introduction into fairly reasonable shape. It’s still mostly a jumble of notes, but now – huzzah! – it’s a mostly organized jumble of notes! So I was naturally a little bit reluctant to step away from my writing for a full day at the Museum and lose this much-needed momentum. As I drove to the museum and arrived in the mostly-empty museum offices early this morning, I contemplated giving my notice. I need to focus on my academic work, I need to graduate and let my family settle down somewhere lovely and move towards our new future, I need to be DONE. Surely they will understand!

But then I started to dig into my ‘to-do’ pile, and realized that I just plain love this work. Of course there is the practical angle – this is valuable professional development and experience for the CV, yeah. All of that. But this is the crux of why I love it here: I get to immerse myself in medieval history and material culture, engage with art history and conservation for the first time, contribute to producing an amazing permanent gallery, and best of all I don’t have to finagle with syllabi or lesson plans, and I don’t have to grade a single essay! Time management is still a significant challenge, and always will be, but as of today I have zero regrets. This is the kind of work that my soul needs right now.


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