A Conversation with Minerva Student Teodor

Meet Teodor, a student in the Class of 2019 | Feb, 16, 2018

Quick Facts

Name
Teodor Dovichinski

Hometown
Vinica, Macedonia

Class
2019

Major & Concentrations
Arts & Humanities: Arts & Literature and Historical Forces

Conversation

Why did you choose to attend Minerva rather than a school with a traditional campus environment?
The interdisciplinary studies, travel, and international student body were the most attractive aspects of Minerva for me. I decided against attending a traditional university because I wanted to escape the confinements of conformity, and have a more challenging experience.

Why did you select your major and concentrations?
I’ve always enjoyed making art, but never had the chance to learn much about it in an academic setting. The Arts and Humanities major has offered me a way to understand art and creative thinking in a practical way. Further, the concentrations I have chosen are helping me acquire the skills I will need to analyze and understand art, using historical context to place it in the continuity of the world.

What do you like about Minerva academics?
I like that I’m prompted to think and engage with the materials daily, instead of cramming at the end of a semester. This continuity in learning has enabled me to go deeper into subjects that personally interest me, as well as helped me build a strong work ethic and ability to incorporate what I have learned, in my daily life.

What were some of your interests in high school?
Trying new ways of making visual art has always intrigued me because there is always something new to experiment with — whether working with a new material, implementing a new technique, or just trying to learn an established craft. I try to attempt new things before focusing my efforts into one specific subset, like illustration or animation. At Minerva I’ve carried this spirit with me and used the opportunity to engage with different types of art in each city to inspire me and expand my views.

What is something most people don’t know about you?
I was one of 2405 people part of the Guinness World Record for largest human flower, which was organized by the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, in July 2017. If anyone asks, it’s my claim to fame.

What do you aspire to do when you graduate?
I want to successfully balance the things I like and do best, while also giving back to the community and using the privilege of having acquired an undergraduate degree to do something impactful. In order to do this, I’d like to take some time after I graduate to figure out how to apply my skills in a way that creates the most impact and is most in line with my interests.

One way in which I’ve begun working toward this goal is combining my skill set with what I am learning at Minerva and using the two for practical purposes. I’ve used theoretical knowledge about art as a communicative medium to inform my design and thought process behind some of my work. For example, empty space when implemented strategically can enhance a design by allowing the elements room to communicate their content without competing with other symbols.

Tell us about one challenge you’re passionate about solving in the city you live in, or will live in, while at Minerva?
I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to experience, thus far, five cities around the world. I would like to put effort into enabling like-minded individuals in each of the locations who might not have the financial means to have a similar experience. I believe that by thinking about a challenge that manifests similarly in different locations I can work on it continuously and ideally contribute to devising a solution.

Have you participated in a co-curricular that has changed how you think about the world?
I attended a street art co-curricular in the Mission District in San Francisco during my first year at Minerva. Up until that point, I’d thought of street art as either serving an aesthetic purpose, such as decoration, or being an expression of protest against conformity and traditional art forms. The murals in the Mission, however, had a larger narrative of economic and social struggle against gentrification, and maintained a historical connection between the past and the present, illustrating the journey of many people throughout history. This has since served as a point of departure for my interest in understanding the way art and history are intertwined, and how they can serve a social function.

What are some of your other passions and interests?
I enjoy going through old family photographs and reconstructing stories by digitizing and organizing them chronologically and thematically. It enables me to connect stories that my grandparents have told me to visuals, which I find fascinating. I also really enjoy exploring parts of the cities we live in that I’d never been to, because it pushes me to broaden my view about the city — beyond the immediate surroundings and popular areas that I usually go to — and potentially discover a new favorite spot.

What is your favorite place you’ve discovered while exploring?
I don’t think Dolores Park in the Mission in San Francisco counts as a place I discovered because it is rather popular and hard to miss. So, a more recent discovery is a spot at the edge of Naksan Park in Seoul, South Korea, overlooking the city. It is such a breathtaking sight, and it marks the beginning of the Ihwa Mural Village, so there are several contemporary sculptures outlined on the horizon. I highly recommend it!

What are you currently reading?
In one of my class readings I came across a book called White Mughals by William Dalrymple, which is about a real story that takes place in Hyderabad, where I’m currently residing. I typically read a book about one of the cities in the global rotation, either before or after living there. This time, however, I decided to read one while I’m actually living in the city and hopefully use the content to my advantage.

Tell us about a meaningful or thought-provoking interaction you have had with a Minerva professor.
I was once having a hard time settling on a topic for an essay and contacted my professor for help. As we were discussing the different ideas I had, I realized that my professor was showing genuine interest in learning about me, in order to help me connect my personal interests to the academic work. This has since prompted me to actively consider how we compartmentalize the different aspects of our lives and thus often limit our potential.

What do you enjoy most about being a part of the Minerva community?
This is likely the most obvious answer, but the diversity of views and cultural backgrounds is something I’ve enjoyed since my first day at Minerva. It’s an aspect of the community that manifests organically in everyday interactions and makes these connections special.

If you were inspired by Teodor's story and are seeking a college experience that will teach you valuable pragmatic skills that will enable you to change the world, apply to join Minerva today.