Chapter NESOP

photo-300x225So here it was, the big day, portfolio review. I woke up before my alarm did, I definitely wasn’t going to miss this one, nor even show up late, which is even worse because you have to deal with the shame of being undisciplined. After a good hearty breakfast made up of granola cereal in almond-milk topped with organic blueberries, I put on my laid back/formal artist outfit as I would like to call it which consists of a white shirt, a blazer and a grey skinny tie (I am very fond of those ties), light gray jeans standing on a black pair of sneakers. I began my 10 minute walk towards busy and bustling Kenmore square where I passed by Fenway Park stadium and had to bear the strong smell of cooking oil and sticky dry beer that the good ol’ folks of Massachusetts consumed the day before as their eyes veered intensely on their favorite baseball team, the Boston Red Sox.

After barely making it alive past Fenway, I arrived in Kenmore and headed straight to my favorite caffeine dispensary: City Convenience, the “NESOP cafeteria” as Frank Herzog my E-marketing instructor would call it, I guess its his way of expressing his rebellion against the fact that our school doesn’t have a cafeteria, I definitely join in this rebellion. After enjoying a good laugh with the kindest saleslady in the city, off I went to where I’m expected to be soon. I entered the NESOP premises with a coffee in one hand and a lint remover in the other (for the lint on my blazer). I head upstairs, grab my portfolio box that contained my final prints and waited anxiously in one side of the studio bays for my turn. I was scheduled to go in at 10:20 am. I barely spoke to anyone that was around.

My turn to lay out everything finally came. Resumes, business cards, promos and then finally the prints themselves. After being wished luck by everyone, I stood waiting in the room for everyone to come in. First I heard footsteps and then the door finally opened where the 15 or so members of the faculty started to walk in. It was surprisingly casual, some said hello and shook hands, some went straight to the prints, small pep talk with one or two others and then finally when they all took their seats I was officially under the spotlight. Starting by introducing myself and my work, I was obviously nervous. This is the part where I felt very human, not weak but indeed vulnerable. Finally summing up my introduction, I was open for questions, I must’ve got at least 5 that weren’t extremely difficult but indeed little challenging. After which I was asked to leave the room in order to give them private time to discuss my performance on all aspects. Again, I waited right outside the door, standing straight up like a queen’s guard in front of Buckingham Palace with both hands clutched together. Ioanna, our lovely Greek friend said I looked like I’m praying, being one of the most generous people I have ever known, she tried many different exercises on me in her attempt to calm me down. I wasn’t that nervous at the time though, but more like on full alert. 1 minute passed, 2, 3 and finally 5. It felt like an hour. Finally the door opens, I am welcomed back in where Sue Anne, my instructor for Creative Imaging Arts gave me the good news: my portfolio has been accepted, and there it went, a silent gasp of relief.

I thanked everyone and said the goodbyes, hugged my instructors and Marty the dean of the school with whom I always exchanged hellos and smiles with throughout the years. She jokingly said that shell save my seat for me which is a leather chair outside her office used for interviewing new students. Countless are the 1 hour lunch break naps I had on it and they were the best naps ever. Finally I packed up my stuff, walked out of the room and sat down on a chair right outside. Now what? I thought to myself, I wasn’t getting that happy feeling I was expecting. I just sat there, for minutes. No thoughts, staring into empty space. Later on, I began walking around the school, hovering around the empty summer time hallways. A thought came, could this be indeed the last time to dwell within these walls that I have been stuck in for so long? Funny it may seem how on one hand we get anxious to graduate and move on, to reach unimaginable dreams and on the other we stay clinging on to our comfort zone, our little box we’ve built around ourselves to stay safe from anything that might even be considered risky. Ultimately, I will have no choice but to shed the turtle shell and smell the fresh summer roses: Chapter NESOP is finished, what comes next might still remain a mystery, but I firmly believe its going to be even more fascinating and fruitful than this last journey was. If 4 years of my life contributed so much, I wonder how much the next 8 would. I wonder…