|Northern Illinois University School of Art|
I had left university back in 1987-88 school year. Money was in short supply and although I was in my senior year and loved school, I just couldn't make it happen. I always wanted to go back, but never seriously thought that would happen. Life flowed away from that dream and time was spent on other priorities. That is until I started living on my own two years ago.
I needed to prove to myself that I could do it. I needed it to prove to myself that I was worthwhile and able and that my artwork was up to snuff.
It took only 3 semesters to complete my Bachelor of Fine Art (B.F.A) in 2-D Design, Illustration track. During that year and a half, there were many situations which tried to pull me away from the goal of graduation, yet I kept as strong as I could and am proud of the artwork which was accomplished during my time at NIU. I received straight A's to boot!
During that same time, I continued my freelance business, worked (as close to) full-time at my position as a Graphic Designer at OC Imageworks, and managing my home life. It was hectic and each area of responsibility suffered, each in turn. My son, family, co-workers, instructors, and clients were all very flexible and generous with understanding. There definitely times when I felt it was all too much, but I just kept on going.
For my 20-something classmates, today – graduation day – is a new beginning. Their whole life will change overnight. For me, however, I'll start Monday morning at work as usual. Life as a student will seem only a reverie. Now my time at Northern Illinois University is over. Just like that a goal was achieved. I have a new goal.
The only difference between today and yesterday is that I'll have that single sheet of paper which no once can take away. With it I have the knowledge, as well as an outward sign, that I can do anything I put my mind to.
What is my new goal? I hope to continue my freelance business, to grow it and nurture it: to use the talents, experiences and life that God gave me. I want to find his purpose for me and go after it with the same tenacity and gusto.
Erin K. Nolan, B.F.A.