One Foot Perched on the Edge of the Nest: In-between Residency and Orals at Graduation

By Susan Johnson, Cohort 12

I came to New York for the IDSVA graduation in January. As a third year student, this is my first winter without a residency. I remember contemplating this with some trepidation during my last winter residency a year ago at the second ever IDSVA graduation, as I watched earlier cohorts mingle. How would it feel being out of the loop, a duckling no longer tucked under the comforting wing of the IDSVA residency? How to maneuver the city without a list of must-see exhibits? Turns out, I was fine. Thanks to my previous residency experiences, I know how to go about putting my exhibit list and agenda together, and how to find out what I need to know to get around. New York is my city, it is true, but since my winter residency last year I have traveled to Chicago, Houston, Beverly MA, and Paris. I did miss the company of a  group (and even the stress of preparing and sweating a presentation).

IDSVA student exhibit reception. As much as I regret my own misaligned planning around those events, I did get to the graduation and enjoyed the deeply inspiring talk by Alfredo Jaar, the honorary IDSVA PhD recipient. I didn’t feel like an outsider, and met some of the new cohort members at the wonderful luncheon. I do feel a bit wobbly in my first steps into self-responsibility though, sort of like a toddler wanting to reach for support and yet fighting it. I am ready to go forth, though not yet quite sure how I will go about it. I still have much ahead with Orals this summer, and am about to enter my last semester filled with extremely challenging yet exhilarating course work. I have much work to do in all aspects, but will continue to take just one step at a time, and get to it.