First Week: The Gestalt of Life

I have no idea how to manage my time.  Am I behind already?  The first week of school found me trying to divide my time between the library, the classroom, and the studio. Drawing has already entered my dreams. The syllabi for my courses are heavy in my backpack along with pencils, engineer’s scales, and texts on site engineering and grading concepts.  The reading assignments and projects are towering mountains and deep caverns in the foreground as what-was-once-my-life recedes to a diminishing horizon.  I went for a bike ride with friends and brought my sketch book, pens, and markers along in case we stopped.  Last night I watched a lousy romantic comedy with my girlfriend but spent the entire time thinking about the use of space in the film.  As soon as it ended– provoked by the absence of mind I experienced throughout– I raced to the studio to assemble a model that’s due tomorrow. I didn’t leave there until the bars were letting-out and as soon as I got home, I started to scratch again on a sketch of trees, lake, and hills.

Of course, its no different for any graduate student the first week of class.  We are all in this together:  The anxieties, the pressures, the skepticism that this will be at all possible. I’m only one person in 29 as Professor Krinke critiques our first studio projects splayed out on the floor after our first hour of work.

One great thing about about landscape architecture is the diversity of tasks and challenges.  When my fingers grow numb from cutting too much foam-core for landform models, I can spend an hour making notes about the leaf structure of the grasses planted around campus.  When my eyes begin to cross from staring at grid-lines on my laptop as I try to learn Adobe’s InDesign, I can use my camera to document the textures of concrete, the shadows of leaves, and the forms of people. When my mind becomes static from studying Ching’s theory of the Golden Section (eloquently stated as “the ratio between two sections of a line, or the two dimensions of a plane figure, in which the lesser of the two is to the greater as the greater is to the sum of both”), I can try to draw my left hand without once looking at the paper.

In short, every task now seems somehow related to my study of landscape.

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About matthewtraucht

Graduate school student at the University of Minnesota's College of Design pursuing a Master's of Landscape Architecture, class of 2013.
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