Eminent this year was every bit as bittersweet as I had thought it would be. I can still remember when I finished Night of the Notables last year and was filled with expectations for myself to do better next year. I wonder if the past me’s expectations were met?
I’d love to say that I’m incredibly proud of myself and am satisfied with the work I’ve done, but as the eternal perfectionist, I see only the flaws in my work. This is one trait which I share with my eminent person– he was never happy with his water lilies and kept holding on to them until his eventual death. Even as I worked on my painting for the Night of the Notables, I was constantly sighing and I thought the flowers looked like simple blobs or that the sea looked like squirming caterpillars. Even as I wrote and rewrote my speech, I kept worrying.
But on the actual night of, as we got more and more pumped up, I began to feel the energy as well. It was our last time doing this– might as well enjoy it, right? But when I got on stage, my breath hitched and I actually mixed up several lines of my speech, and I could feel myself losing my grasp on something that I had already drilled into my mind. But instead of panicking, I continued on and wove the lines I had forgotten earlier back into my speech. But in doing so, my speech lost some of the emotion and sounded more rushed because of how nervous I was. Even though I feel I outdid myself from last year, I know that when I look back on this night, I’ll only think of how I forgot the lines in the middle of my speech and feel regret and shame.
As for my learning center, I think that it was an excellent improvement from last year as well. I probably put in the most hours of our whole class just working on the Garden at Sainte-Andresse. I felt so frustrated at the painting so many times that I wanted to cry. I spent much of the time painting rambling and raving, and generally being very turbulent and mildly aggressive. Thank goodness Celine (she was at Bamfield and came to in-depth last year) was there to help me through all that craziness. When I finally brought it to school, a lot of people were really impressed, and I felt like an artist for once. Being angry, unhappy, and borderline psycho where all things that Monet had also lived through while painting. But besides the painting, my focal point, my learning center had other interesting components as well.
I really wanted to make my center like Monet’s famous garden in Giverny, though I think my rendition fell a little short. I put in flowers but they were obscured by other things. Most people who stopped simply commented on the superb job I had done on my painting. I was really happy, but I felt like something was lacking. Not a lot of people participated in my interactive part as well, which was to try painting the water lilies in Monet’s style. But this is the full (hopefully immersive) tour of my learning center.
I tend to be a pessimist and focus on the negative, but there are several moments where I was so truly happy to be a part of this program. When we were backstage right before our speeches, getting pumped up, and practically yelling, there was a strong sense of community and the bond which ties all of us together. We took the time to encourage and reassure each other, all while getting ourselves hyped and ready to have the best Eminent night ever.
I’m pretty sad to see the project go– the good, the bad, and the ugly. Unlike last year, I can’t say that “I’ll improve next year!” But at the same time, with all that stress, maybe I’m a little glad to see it go… or not. I’ll enjoy Eminent from the alumni side of things next year!