#UniAdvice : What To Remember On A Creative Course

So this whole “I’ll post a piece on my uni advice series every Tuesday” thing has gone out the window! I will try but a lot of plans changed this week hence no being able to stick to my blog time table.

So today I’ve decided to focus on creative courses at university. This is from my own personal experience (I took a degree in BA Hons Fashion Studies) and the things I wish I’d know when I started.

  • It will be hard! – I’ve spoken to a lot of people creative courses are a bit of a joke, I used to get “Oh fashion must be so easy you just sit and draw all day”. Yeah I did spend a lot of time drawing, and sewing, and writing and knitting and learning to pattern cut. I think creative courses can sometimes be just as difficult as a non creative course. On top of all our practical work we also had to do the writing and essays other courses had to do alongside it. Myself and my course-mates could often be at uni for 12 hours a day 5 days a week and that doesn’t include the hours spent at home. If your going for a creative course, be prepared to work hard.
  • It will be expensive – Obviously how expensive it will be depends on the course, but you will be expected to provide everything yourself. From art materials, paper, fabric, printing. Everything. My advice would be to wait a while before you splash your cash on a lot of equipment and buy the essentials for now until you figure out what is worth the expense. I bought a lot of art materials in my first year and only ever ended up using water colours
  • Figure out whether getting a part time job is worth it – I got a part time job at uni and ended up working a lot and not managing time for my course work well. If you do get a job make sure its suitable and flexible hours, and don’t neglect your work.
  • Manage your time – Easier said then done I know, I’ve been there! This will save you so much stress in the long run though. Work out your deadlines, work out how many projects you have on the go and what to prioritise. I ended up working different projects on different days to start, but in the end everything became a big jumble as I was trying too hard to fit too much into my time.
  • Carry a little notebook around with you – A must for creatives! There is nothing worse than getting a fantastic idea and having nowhere to write it down.
  • Start early with your dissertation research – It doesn’t have to be hardcore book reading, just maybe start thinking about topics that interest you in relation to your course and if you could use them. I found with my course I didn’t really look into it until third year and had far too much to do . Especially as you’ll have so many other creative projects on the go in third year, start putting ideas together as soon as. Even if its just reading an article on line and making notes. Every little helps!
  • Listen to your tutors but also try to be independent with your work – There is a very fine line with this one, as your tutors have years of experience and will be the ones grading your work and you’ll obviously want to keep them happy BUT it can be very limiting and actually make your work into something you don’t like. I had 3 tutors for the same project and I was constantly getting contradicting advice and suggestions, so I tried to take all this on board and ended up taking my work in a direction I wasn’t happy with, which meant my work wasn’t my best. In trying to please everybody I did myself a lot of damage. Looking back I really wish I’d have not listened to them as much, and had the courage to say actually you might not agree but I’m doing this. Obviously they’ll know their stuff when it comes to the technical stuff but your creativity is your own, and who is anybody else to tell you it’s wrong because they don’t like your taste. Try and compromise with them, but don’t give up something you’re passionate about.
  • Take a break when you need it – There is so much pressure to perform, that it will get very stressful and you will need a break. I find when I’m under pressure I have a creative block and then get frustrated with myself because I can’t think of anything. Take a step back, have some drinks with friends and then come back to it. It’s not the end of the world if you need a couple of hours break
  • Don’t stay silent if you’re struggling – If you’re struggling on any aspect of your course then talk to somebody. Whether its the work, time management, problems with peers etc, don’t stick your head in the sand and hope it will go away. It won’t and its better to get it all out there early rather then leave it until the last minute. Also feel free to tweet me if you want to talk about anything, been there and done it all! (just click the twitter icon to the right!)

So I hope this was useful to some of you! If you have any suggestions, questions or comments then let me know! If anybody is at uni let me know how your first week or so is going!

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