The hardest days are the could have been and should have been days. Those dates you remembered because they were important, but now they hold even less than that, they are nothing days, slip by with barely any recognition. The end should have been celebratory and welcomed, with congratulations and joy, the end marks not only the end of our degrees, but also the end of our education. For the first time we are free, but free to an unknown world, we are not running out with open arms, we are quietly hiding and hoping that soon we can rejoice, guilt free. We are not with our friends and fellow students, we have no degree show, and graduation exists only as a hope for a better time. We were prepared for a new life free from structure and education, but now we are released into a chaotic unknown a world only just holding itself up, holding on to what we used to know.This degree settled into our life as did new friends, a new city, routines, and knowledge, that we previously lacked the experience to gain. This did not come without tears and troubles and moments where the whole world felt too heavy to hold. We supported each other more than we could support ourselves, holding each other up when the others felt low. Our work and attitude towards it developed as we did, navigating a new kind of living, exploring our practices while learning to live in the world, developing our voice and opinions, making mistakes, and learning from them. Growing a practice that is personal and yet relevant, appropriate, and exciting is a challenge while understanding yourself and learning how to pay your rent. These three years were not only about the education, but about us growing in the world around us.
Ends are moments that should be marked in ways that acknowledge all you have achieved up until that point, while also appreciating that the end is also a beginning. New beginnings are halted for the time being when life as we know it, is completely out of our control. Ends are harder when there is no final sign off and time to say goodbye, no celebration, or congratulations, of course we stand in privileged positions. This does not however lessen our sadness, as we to wave past a significant moment of our lives. This end is muddled in a complex and infuriating period of time that remains of the fault of no one, yet nothing can be done. We are being held hostage by the passing of time, and we can only ride the waves to a better future. Endings mean something has happened previous to that moment; our example is only one of many endings in our lifetimes. This end is a full stop to three years, moments where we questioned ourselves, times when only we could keep pushing our motivation, we dipped in and out of happiness and sadness, we rejoiced together, we had our voice heard, we lived these complicated and wonderful years. Experiencing this end is unlike anything anyone has ever experienced before. It is close enough to believe this is just another end that so many before us have undertaken, that it is barely worth mentioning, and yet the atmosphere is tinged with sadness that we have slowly come to accept. This end, while remaining an uncertain time, is also a beginning, and the hope we have for our futures cannot be taken from us.
Beyond this end, and when the time in-between has passed, new beginnings will form and develop,presenting us with opportunities and experiences that will be inseparable from the direction of our careers. Finding our place in the world will be a challenging and uncertain time but hopefully those fears will be overtaken by moments in which we can be proud and celebrate our work in the way we should have been able to now. The fact that this end is distorted only minorly impacts the future years ahead of us, we may feel as if these days are so far from now its physically impossible to imagine, and yet it also feels as if that could be our driving force moving forward. Once this end is over and we move onto new beginnings, this will only be a part of our life that we did not quite get to live. There will be other exhibitions, and shows and residencies, placements,and competitions, that will inevitably be better than that which we are now missing. That does not reduce the feelings we have and will have in the future,but it does present us in a position for wondering and hoping for what the years ahead will bring. The feeling seems to be that this end is a moment we will never be able to undertake again, the ruthless reality of life currently has taught us that we cannot be prepared for all eventualities, but we can prepare ourselves. Preparing ourselves for ends and beginnings will ensure we navigate the future world to the best of our abilities.