Growin’ Up – a blog about life after Smith by Lauren Kaelin ’10 : People Watching

August 8, 2010

My sister (Smith ’05) just visited Toledo for a week. I took a few days off work and we went to visit family friends in Michigan, to Ann Arbor, and to Cedar Point!!!!, world’s biggest/tallest/awesome-est amusement park.

We went to Cedar Point, our eyes wide with anticipation for the dozen-plus roller coasters. Amusement parks, generally I’d say, are pretty crazy. You end up waiting HOURS for probably a total of 6 minutes of actual RIDE time. Cedar Point has some of the best offerings around. It certainly out shines southern Jersey’s pride, Six Flags Great Adventure.

One of the most interesting things about amusement parks, especially given the ride/wait proportion, is the endless array of people-watching delights. Cedar Point was full of gems– people that had really pushed the limits of the ‘shirts at all times’ policy, kids on leashes, etc. And my personal favorite– a man that had “VAG” tattooed in cursive on his bicep.

And I guess I have been doing my own form of people watching in Toledo.

Case Study No. 1: Mary

Mary is the best. She works at the museum in the Facilities Department and I have the joy of seeing her once a day when she comes into the Curatorial offices to empty the trash can she specially decorated for Margaret and me. A few weeks ago I was able to see Mary outside of the museum, turns out that she has a BA in Drawing and is a working artist. Mary’s work is hard to describe– based on the paper snowflake shape, she cuts incredibly intricate shapes narratives out of paper. She also designs specialized templates for kids– frogs kissing princesses and ghosts for Halloween.

At a picnic table in a MetroPark in Toledo, Mary showed me how to follow one of her templates designed for five-year-olds. Mine turned out pretty terrible. A patriotic eagle with punch-out stars and waving stripes. I am in awe of this woman, who is so humble and talented. She is sometimes the only one that laughs in the Curatorial office all day. Admittedly, she didn’t imagine herself working in her current position, but she says, it brings her closer to the art and allows her the time to develop her work.

Case Study No. 2: Tim

Tim works in the museum on technical-interpretation, which is like, audio-guides and videos. Tim got his PhD in Greek and Roman Art, but developed an interest in this more technical side of things after his first museum job.

After sitting in a meeting about possibly using iPads in one of the galleries, Tim came up to me and asked if I wanted to be a voice-actor in the upcoming Egypt Experience audio component. (OMG-yes!!) After he showed me my script, we talked for a while about how he got into this line of work. He advised me to seek out “gap-careers,” something between two disciplines– that is where you can find a niche and be truly valuable. Tim seemed genuinely excited by the work that he had done and was still doing.

My dad always says that, “going back to school is an inefficient way to learn something.”

I wonder how long I can prolong that. Not go back to school and ride Millennium Force more frequently.

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