by Evan Robison
In the past four months, I have visited eight different art museums a total of 14 times. This includes the Prado Museum five times, the Reina Sofía twice, plus the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay and the Vienna Art History Museum. I have never had anything against museums and have always passively enjoyed looking at art. However, I’ve never enjoyed it nearly as much as I’ve learned to this year. Every time I see a new artist, I immediately ask whomever I am with to tell me everything they know about the style, era, their peers, and anything else they might know. In my four and a half months here in Spain, I have spent hours and hours learning about Spanish language, art, history, and culture. But one of the most important things that I’ve learned is something about myself: I love learning.
I have heard adults tell my throughout my whole life how lucky I am to still be in school. I always nod my head and agree, feeling lucky to not be an adult and have to pay taxes and mortgages, etc. But I think that I have been missing the main point. The best part about being a student isn’t the lack of responsibility: it’s the wealth of knowledge sitting right in front of you, waiting for you to breathe it in. It’s being in a classroom of eager peers and listening to a professor explain something that they have worked their whole life to discover and cannot wait to share. It’s the feeling that everything that you do, every decision that you make, could stay with you for the rest of your life and shape your future. It’s a scary thought, but also very motivational.
I feel like an old nostalgic man talking about senior year of high school as though it were ages ago. But the point that I’m trying to get to is that I think I am starting to understand the purpose of my gap year. Before this thirst appeared to learn all I could about art, a subject that had barely peaked my interest before, I was looking forward to going back to school well-rested. I planned on returning with a brain full of Spanish and cleared of stress. Now, however, I will arrive back in Medford with a hunger for knowledge that before this year of service had always been quenched. This little taste of the real working world has made me realize how lucky I am to be returning to school for at least four more years to learn and take in all that I can before returning to work.