So- it's coming up to Fresher's Week here at UAL and my dear friend Kara wrote a similar post about being a freshman. I thought I'd do the same- maybe it might be helpful to someone out there? Maybe not. But here is what I may have said to myself 2 years ago if time travel was possible...
- - -This is pretty much everything you’ve always been dreaming of. You’re in London- you’re going to your first choice university and you are ready.
Don’t be afraid to be the ‘geek’. Ask questions, talk to the tutors, read and re-read the briefs, do as much work as you can, pay attention, go to the lectures. These things will really make the difference. You’ve always been a little ‘keen’ on school. Don’t let that change just because you’re now a ‘big kid’. There are a lot of intimidating people with amazing style. Don't let that stop you. You deserve to be here.
Peter will be, basically, a guardian angel for you this year. The rest of your flatmates, not so much. Don’t let them get to you- go and cook food in your pajamas even if there are loads of people in the kitchen. You know your place. Talk to Peter about art. Listen to him. Watch movies that you may not think are good on first impression and make time to go explore London.
Go to every single Cinema Club. It will be your favourite thing. Don’t eat so many crisps. Hug your mum and dad when you see them. Go back to Bristol on the bus occasionally, but not right before a deadline. Rest up when you can. Get involved with Jumble sales and the Fairs at college- by the time you’re a 2nd year- they’ll be e-mailing you! Take pictures and decorate your room (no one is going to check).
Look around your class and make friends with the people who are sitting alone & the really nice girls from your halls. You don’t need to go to the pub every time- but once in a while is good for you. Talk to your tutors when you get the chance. They’ll be like friends, I promise. Don’t be too scared about drawing. You’re not a ‘Graphic Designer’, it’s okay. Illustration is cool. Inquire about using the Darkroom, they might make an exception. Spend the time on the bus dreaming about your projects and what you’re going to have for dinner. Don’t stress about relationships back in Bristol. Have people to stay. Visitors are awesome & you can fit 2 more people in that teeny tiny room of yours. When you move out of halls- invite people over, you might be surprised who visits you! Keep working on your blog and your shop. It's important to you.
Meet London Bloggers. They are nice. [: When you’re making your portfolio… GO WITH YOUR GUT! There will be a lot of talks about how to make it ‘just right’- but work hard and do it the way you feel is right, because the interview will go awesome, because you know who you are and what you do (even if it feels like you’re drowning sometimes). Explore the handmade world- there are amazing people to meet out there. Go to the Library and read. Look at the books. There are some gems waiting to be found. In your 1st year on BA, you’ll be confused a lot of the time. You’ll feel like an imposter (‘I can’t draw!’). It’s going to be hard to find your footing (I still haven’t) but I know it’s there. Follow your heart. Do a lot of thinking and knitting in the evenings. It will pay off.
FOLLOW THE BRIEFS! I know this is hard. The briefs are meant to challenge you and stretch you. I know you thought the stretching was over. It’s not. Go to the museums and do 50 drawings in 3 hours. It will be hard and most of them will be rubbish, but it’s a learning thing.
Oh. And you’re ill. It’s sucks. It’s going to make your life a little bit miserable and awkward at times. That’s ok. Don’t be ashamed or guilty to get a Taxi if you feel faint. Plan your journeys before you leave the house. Learn the bus routes. Get a stool when you are drawing in galleries (most places have them for free. Tell them you’re disabled). Get a bus, even if it’s just a few stops and your friends are walking. It will keep your mind clear and your feet a little lighter. Talk to your tutors (all of them!) about it. Understanding is easy if you help them to understand.There are a million other little things I could tell you (and I’ve already rambled enough). Basically just follow your heart and be a geek (proudly!) and be nice to people and work hard. You’ll be fine.
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(Black and white photo by Anna. Drawing by me in 2009)