Ten weeks in to my final year at Ulster University, I have to ask: Can we PLEASE move Christmas forward a month?
(Side note – this day month IS Christmas – Praise the Lord.)
I decided to write another article to voice some thoughts on working from home, studying at home and living at home – because there is no where else open to go to!
Final Year is one tough cookie. The work has taken a big step up from previous years and we have had to become very high thinking academics as we were thrust into Academic Journals and eBooks galore. Of course this makes sense to those who think logically, but with my oddjob of a brain – I did not prepare myself for this. As I spent the placement year living and working to see the end product of our client work – I had slowly forgot the process of studying and I had to re-adjust quickly to this new (yet old) way of creating work.
Of course this makes sense to those who think logically, but with my oddjob of a brain – I did not prepare myself for this…
University > Agency
Coming back to University allowed me to tackle challenges in completely unique ways through assignments and coursework. This may seem like something I was also able to do in an agency and to an extent thats true, but in reality there was so much consistent work creating similar variations of the same content for companies who had airtight brand guidelines, this freedom has become a breath of fresh air.
I’m not writing this piece to bash against either Uni or Agencies, they are simply very different experiences which almost clash in work style and motivation in some senses. I have become more aware of my perfectionist values over the past few months and University has really helped me progress these critical thoughts and turn them into a healthier way of living. Focusing on developing my own thoughts, values and skills over the past ten weeks has been so insightful, and at times scary as I realise how easy it is to fall back into a perfectionist mindset where if I don’t value my work as 10/10, then it’s a zero.
University has really helped me progress my critical thoughts and turn them into a healthier way of living.
Of course this is not true and with the submission of my latest assignment, I have decided to intentionally change my mindset to that of trying to enjoy these last couple of weeks and the next semester (if that’s actually possible in final year..!). Living solely for the marks is not a helpful way of being and I can no longer accept that they will mark my last year as a student in University. This is not me saying I don’t care anymore about the work or the marks, but that I want to find another way of experiencing final year so that I can look back fondly on this time and be passionate about the work I created.
Being a student brings so much creative freedom! I walked into an agency expecting the same, which was of course not the case in reality. Yes your thoughts and opinions are valued, but you need much more experience than the ‘junior placement designer’ before the creative freedom I had dreamed of becomes a reality. So my plan this year is to balance the academic expectations with my own individualistic and unique approach. I do not want to become a carbon copy of a student from the year before or my more talented designer friends and peers from class.
I think what I’m trying to say by writing this as a public piece is to encourage anyone else in University. We are in such a unique position – once we leave Uni, the creativity bug we moan about will die a little. Whether you are studying something design-y, media-y or more academic and essay based-y, celebrate your ability to be creative in what you do/ design/ produce/ write.
I’m celebrating uniqueness and I’m celebrating who I am. You should too.
PS. If any lecturer is reading this, don’t worry… I’m not going to draw a fish instead of writing a literature review, I just want to try and bring back my passion for the course, the work and allow myself to like how I answer the briefs.