Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Back to School

Last spring, I took a college class. After teaching my Fashion Photo Styling class for two years, I wanted to know what it feels like on the other side of the desk. I signed up for Ethnic Costume, taught by my colleague, Susan Lazear at San Diego Mesa College. It was perfect – one night a week and lasting only five weeks. Enough for a taste of being a student without too much commitment.

Here are some lessons I learned:
1. Allow plenty of time to get to class the first day. It may take longer that day and you have to get your timing right. Even though I am always on campus at least an hour before my own class, I arrived 15 minutes late to the first session!
2. It’s fun when you get to choose your project from several formats. I selected to write an essay while others in my class created mini-costumes on dolls or chose an ethnic element to convert into a new fashion style.
3. Students who need to show they know more than the teacher are irritating to both the teacher and to other students.
4. It’s nice to be able to wear jeans to class.
5. I am still a perfectionist, a trait that used to slow down my work in elementary school.
6. Learning about something new is always exciting.

I wrote my final essay on Ethnic Costumes of Indonesia. This class conveniently fell just before my trip to Bali. The research taught me the geologic, political, and cultural history of the islands. And when I saw people actually wearing sarongs and kebayas in their everyday lives it was such a thrill! (Read the essay here.)

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