Ever have that dream where it’s the day of final exams and you realize you forgot you were taking the course and therefore never showed up to class, never did any of the reading, and are completely unprepared for the test? Yeah, me too.
Like, ALL THE TIME.
While there are many theories as to why this particular nightmare is so common, my own self-diagnosis leads me to believe it is because I simply hate to be unprepared. For me, the ultimate red-faced, anxiety-ridden, sweat-producing scenario is when someone asks me a question about an area in which I’m supposedly an ‘expert’ and my only response looks something like this…
Ugh….AWKWARD! Gives me the heebie-jeebies just thinking about it. So what do I do when I find myself in one of these situations? Quite simply, I learn from them. I swallow my pride, admit what I don’t know, and I take steps to ensure I’m better prepared next time. As such, I have become a lifelong learner, a sponge for knowledge, always seeking to test my boundaries and find out exactly where the edge of my knowledge lies.
Today I am embarking on a 5-week lighting & portraiture course at the Colorado Photographic Arts Center. While portraiture has been my area of specialty over the last 5 years, I realize there is so much more I have to learn. This particular class is open to all skill levels from beginner to professional, and I have no doubt there will a wide range of experience among the attendees. Where will I fit in that dynamic? To some, I will appear an expert. To others, I will appear a novice. But none of that matters. The real questions is: Where do I perceive myself – expert or novice – and how does that affect my ability to learn? If I see myself as an expert, how do I not let my pride prevent me from learning more? If I see myself as a novice, how do I not let my insecurity prevent me from admitting what I do not know?
So here I stand. Camera & notebook in hand. Ready to embark on a new adventure and anxious to learn something new – not only about photography, but about myself.
… I just hope there’s no final exam.