Just over three years ago I went to the University of Portsmouth for an interview for a place on the Communication Design BA Hons (now Graphic Design) degree course. I was delighted to be accepted on the day of my interview. I don’t look very happy in the photograph, which I took just afterwards, but this was my third or fourth attempt at getting the sign and myself in the shot.
Three years later and I have just handed in my final project work and done my viva presentation. That’s it. It’s all over apart from our summer show which we will start working on in June.
I have had a brilliant time at university. In some respects I wish I had done it years ago, but I know that I would not have had the same experience as I have done if I’d done a degree when I left school (in nineteen … I’m not telling you!). I didn’t know what I wanted to do then and I would have ended up taking a subject because I was good at it or choosing a university because of the city it was in. Nothing wrong with that, but I know I wouldn’t have got the best out of the experience.
As a mature student I have loved every minute – now that I have a vague idea that I might know what I want to be when I grow up. I had always felt that making images was meant to be a ‘hobby’ and not something I could have as a career. It’s a shame that people are sometimes made to feel that the creative path is not worthwhile. It is. And I’m so glad that I made the decision to take it, even though I waited a long time to do so.
That’s not to say it has all been plain sailing. Not at all. It’s been hard work and at times very stressful, but most definitely worth it. And I’ve been lucky enough to make some great friends along the way. In most cases I am old enough to be their mother but that doesn’t make any difference. We’ve all been on the same journey together and it’s going to be hard to say goodbye when our summer show is all over and everyone goes back to wherever home is. Hopefully we will keep in touch. There is always Facebook these days and at least we will get to hear some news from time to time that way. Some I imagine will go on to work together, and some of us will be back for more!
I’m not ready to give up being a student. I have decided that I want to continue and do the Masters degree. I have some ideas about what I would like to do after that but I am very aware that plans too far ahead are not always a good thing. So they’ll stay as rough ideas for now. I have some definite outside interest in some of my degree work so I’m hoping to develop that further, which is very exciting, and I have some personal projects on the go which I can now spend a bit more time on over the summer.
So it’s mixed feelings at the moment. I’m glad all the end of year stress is out of the way and my work is in, but also I know I am going to miss being there. I’m still trying to switch off, but find that I’m still on the lookout for anything related to my projects. One minor annoyance was that after three weeks of almost daily visits to supermarkets on the lookout for early cherries to photograph, I drew a blank, only to find they arrived in the shop three days after hand-in. They weren’t essential but I had hoped to include a real cherry with the variations that I had created for my logo cherry. Such is life.