Tip #10: Make sacrifices
"People make a great mistake in thinking that my art has come easily to me but nobody has devoted so much time and thought to music as I." -Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
This one I saved for last because it’s sometimes the hardest to hear; when a great opportunity arises, you should take advantage of it, even if it means making some sacrifices. This is certainly true of any goal we set in life, but seems particularly applicable to this stage of becoming a conservator. As I look back over the other 9 tips, two fundamental sacrifices stand out to me: time—to visit conservators, read online resources, attend events, and create a bibliography—and money—to join professional organizations, fulfill the pre-requisites required for application to the programs, and, again, to attend events.
I’m not suggesting that you go without sleep in order to read every conservation blog, or accumulate credit card debt so you’re able to join every organization. Just do the best you can with the resources at hand. If an amazing internship opens up in another city, consider commuting as a possibility. If the only experience you can find is unpaid, take it and maybe a paid position will open up in the future. If an interesting and instructive conference is about to take place and you can’t afford it, ask about volunteer opportunities in order to waive the registration fee. It’s true that the more sacrifices you make the more you’ll reap the benefits, but the main point, no matter what the situation, is to be determined to make it work.
If you chose conservation as a career, you must have a passion for art, or science, or both! You're giving a lot, but what you're getting in return is a job that you love--and, in my opinion, that's worth the effort. There are some great things about being pre-program, like having the opportunity to work with a variety of materials, or take classes in all the areas that interest you. So, when this process becomes stressful and/or you need some motivation to keep at it, remind yourself to enjoy each and every step. Believe it or not, these few years will fly by and before you know it, you'll be a conservator! Good luck!
Was there something I missed? Please feel free to post an additional tip to the blog as Tip #11 (nobody said there had to be 10!).