Set Himself Up For Not Setting Up

, , , , , , | Learning | February 16, 2018

(I’m in my final year of Illustration at university, and I am about to display my previous year’s work at the end-of-year show. We have one week to clean, set up the temporary walls, install the computers for visual work, and organise what will go into each space. Because of the amount of work required in this crucial set-up stage, it’s vital that a lot, if not all students, turn up. Unfortunately, students at my university tend to treat the set-up week as the perfect time to go on holiday. I turn up on Monday to find literally THREE other students out of six fully-fledged studios to have actually bothered to show up.)

Me: *talking to another student* “This is completely ridiculous.”

Student #1: “Yeah, I know. If it’s going to be like this all week, we may as well cancel the d*** show. [Student #2] literally came in for five minutes, walked around, and left. You just know he’s going to throw a strop when he returns to see none of his work has been put up.”

([Student #2], for the record, is a MASSIVE drama queen when it comes to this type of stuff. Aside from barely turning up to class, he is very bullish when it comes to presentation of work, and he always talks down other people’s ideas if his aren’t centrestage. I decide to go speak to one of the lecturers to see if we can goad people into actually coming in to help us out.)

Lecturer: “I’ve already posted a bulletin on the student portal. If they don’t bother turning up, their work will be left until the absolute last when we decide on set-up. If, of course, there’s any space left by then.”

(The space each studio is given is incredibly small, so they want to maximise the available space without overloading it with work from each student. So, it seems only rational and fair that those who are actually there to set up the space will get priority. Fortunately, the email works, as we get more people turning up as the week progresses… spare [Student #2]. On Friday evening, the very last day of set-up, and the very final day that students are allowed to be in the space, [Student #2] arrives with his work.)

Student #2: *speaking to lecturer* “Hi, I want to put up my work here. Is that okay?”

Lecturer: “Well, you’re a little bit late, [Student #2]. It’s almost closing time, and what work goes into the space has already been decided. I’m sorry, but there is no more space.”

Student #2: *unbelievably, he’s annoyed by this* “WHAT?! Why did nobody tell me?!”

Lecturer: “You were told on Friday last week that this week would be the set-up time. Where have you been?”

Student #2: *doesn’t answer* “This is ridiculous! So, you mean to tell me that I have to take all this work back home with me?”

Me: “Yeah, it is ridiculous, isn’t it? Ridiculous how you can expect immediate treatment for your own work when you put in absolutely f***-all effort to get this space up for next week’s show. All of us were told that if we weren’t here for set-up, then our work would be put at the back of the queue for consideration. You didn’t even bother to turn your work in for the show, for whatever reason, but let’s be honest, here; you don’t have a reason, do you? You’re just f****** lazy.”

([Student #2] didn’t say a word in response, just silently fumed. He hung around for ten minutes, literally asking anyone and everyone still there on a Friday night if they could swap their space with him for at least one of his works. Everyone denied, and even if they wanted to, it would’ve been vetoed by the lecturers, as the spaces were already decided. When he realised he wasn’t going to get his own way this time, he threw his work into another student’s fragile installation, smashing it to pieces, before storming out. Unfortunately, the other student wasn’t there when it happened, and needless to say, when told her year-long work had been destroyed, she was PISSED. [Student #2] never bothered to come to the show or graduation. I wonder why…)

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