It is an odd sensation, therefore, to be back working in the place where I spent my “final” three years of training. I am a total believer in the idea that we never stop learning, especially as professional artists – there is always another level of things to discover. Still, I notice that I have the distinct desire to hear feedback about how much I have improved and how wonderful I am from these people from whom I learned so many of the tools that I have tried to perfect since leaving here. I find it is extra difficult to fight down my ego because of that expectation and desire, and it is proving to be quite the mental challenge when it comes to my work. I get flustered more easily, and it is harder to focus on the task at hand sometimes. There is something about returning to the place where I cut my operatic teeth that makes me search for a level of approval that I wouldn’t necessarily look for elsewhere. I think it has something to do with the fact that apprenticeships are about planning for the future as much as they are about honing one’s craft. The reality is that when it comes down to it, this is a job, just like any other, and it is the task at hand that is the priority – not my development and career trajectory. It makes me wonder how much more I would have learned as a Studio artist here had I not been so focused on the future and gave more of my attention to the tasks that were at hand then.