Let's Talk: My experience at University and Graduation...

4 Dec 2019

Hello everyone,

As some of you may know, a couple of weeks ago I graduated from University, which is quite possibly one of my biggest achievements to date. It felt very weird graduating as I finished uni about seven months ago so it felt very odd to be in a room celebrating again. I thought the topic of Uni and Graduation would be another great Let's Talk opportunity as I know University can be a massive decision in someones life and often that decision can be quite a difficult one, so I thought I would share with you my Uni experience with you all, in hope that it may help those of you who may be considering uni. 

1. You don't always have to move away from home

For those who don't know, I studied Fashion Design at the University of Gloucestershire,  so I actually did not move away from home. Looking back I am still so happy with my choice of not moving away from home, for me it was the best decision I have ever made and I wouldn't change a thing. Of course there are so many great reasons to move away from home but for me it was just not the right time and I just love my home town to much (and my family and boyfriend of course). However, I do feel that maybe I could have learnt more skills if I were to have gone to a university more highly associated with fashion. I feel like my uni of choice was not a great place to study Fashion Design, purely because London would have been so much better for me. I feel like i made my choice based on the fact I wanted to go to uni but didn't want to leave home. So Uni of Glos was my only option. Looking back now I probably would have considered the choice of course a little more, but I still made the most of the course and made some amazing friends at uni. 

Some may think not moving out or away from home means you aren't going to make as many friends. I was very lucky in the sense that my course group was very small so there were only about 22 of us. So we all got along pretty well, so I was still able to make friends and not live in halls. If you are someone who is a little sceptical about moving away and you are adamant that you want to stay at home, then there is nothing wrong with that, I feel like it can often be a little pressuring from other people when it comes to uni and leaving home, but I for sure would not have changed my experience at all. Of course if you are ready to fly the nest then that is amazing, I often wish I had the balls to but of course it just was not the right time for me...

2. You will spend endless nights in the library 

I think if you didn't do this there must have been something going a little wrong. There were countless times myself and my friends would spend till 10pm, some friends even all nighters in the library. I don't know if this was because my course was a creative coursework based course or whether every course is like this. But being part of a creative course, it truly is a task and a half. If you are considering a creative course like Fashion, photography etc, there are going to be times where you feel like you have soooo many things you need to get done. I constantly had hundreds of things to do and nearing towards the end of third year I can not tell you how much work I managed to get done in the end. I often look back and think how the bloody nora did I manage it. I designed and hand made an entire collection along side about 4 other modules of writing, designing, photoshopping and dissertation writing. 

After A levels, I knew that uni was going to be difficult, however I knew that I wasn't going to be studying an academic subject, so it was always going to be a little different to school. However, I would say for me, Uni wasn't necessarily hard (of course academic courses would say different), but for me the workload for the creative course was INSANE.  To feel like you are constantly ticking off your to do list but it was never going down was an absolute mare. But in the end when everything was done and handed in it kind of felt quite weird to know that I had no deadlines or anything to do.  

3. Your first week is tough

I didn't even leave home and on my first day I went home and cried. I went from school and having all of my close friends around me, I knew what I was doing, where I was going, to being all alone in a room full of people at a new place I had never stepped foot in before. I remember being stood in the chapel completely on my own thinking bloody hell how am I supposed to do this. I went home at lunchtime and cried for about an hour and said to my mum that I didn't want to do it. Three days later I had made some friends and I was absolutely fine. For a couple of weeks after I was still considering whether it was right for me and in the end after settling in, I was absolutely fine. Of course it is different for everyone, but for me the first couple of weeks was tough getting used to new surroundings and making new friends. 

4. Are Dissertations as bad as they sound?

I feel like even the word Dissertation sends shivers down any first or second years spine. Time flies and before you know it you are writing your dissertation proposal. Now I won't lie, my dissertation could have been better, I feel like my research wasn't great, I could have made so much more us of the meetings with my tutor and I definitely could have stared sooner. About four days before my dissertation was due, I was sat in Starbucks almost in tears with writer block with nearly 2,000 words left to write. I feel like my question was never really that clear and I wasn't writing it with much enthusiasm, however, after all this I some how managed to get a 2:1. I will never understand how I managed a 2:1 in my dissertation, but I would highly reccomened planning well, choosing a topic you love and really involving yourself in it, because its a lot of words your going to be writing. 

5. Time really does fly

I remember everyone who had been through uni always telling me it would go so fast. I didn't realise that it actually did. Honestly I think they were the fastest three years of my life and I can't quite believe just how quickly that time has gone by. So make sure you enjoy it if you can because I promise your time at uni will go by in a flash. 

6. Was it worth it?

I think for me, looking back on everything I have achieved, it was definitely worth it. Maybe not worth the £40,000 but I think not only do I have a 2:1 in BA Hons Fashion design, I would have never would have thought I could design and make an entire clothing collection and brand from scratch. I always used to say I never thought it was worth it, but dont get me wrong there is probably a lot better things in life you can buy for £40,000, but the friends I made and the entire experience and the things I achieved, I think with out university I would have been a lot less confident in myself. Uni pushed me so much and finally getting to the end of the amounts of deadlines I made, I must say it is worth the end result. Of course Uni isn't the be all and end all of life and you can achieve amazing things without it, but I won't ever regret my experience and I am so grateful for the last 3 years of my life at Uni. 

As for graduation, I was quite lucky that my graduation was at 4pm. This gave me so much more time to get ready and celebrate before hand so the day went actually really slowly which is nice as I know some of my friends said theirs went by really quickly. So make the most of seeing your friends and taking photos because the day only happens once. 

All in all, for me, I would not change my experience at University at all. At first I wasn't sure if it was right for me, however I do feel like I am the sort of person who, if they start something they have to finish it. At school I always chopped and changed what I waned to do at uni and always changed my mind, however I always wanted to go. I feel like this decision was partially because at school they basically don't give you any other option. But I just wanted to stress that no matter what your parents or what schools say, you do not have to go to uni. One of my closest friends started an apprenticeship and she is one of the most successful ladies I know, whilst I have now come out of uni with a degree, but starting where she started 4 years ago. 

I thought I would leave a couple of photos down below of my final collection lookbook shoot and you can follow the link here to my Arts Thread page if you wanted to take a look at my moodboards and designs. I truly hope this little chat helped you in your decision if you are thinking of going to uni or if you enjoyed just reading about my uni experience. 

Thank you so so much for reading, I will see you next time,

Cristy N 

x x x 

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