U is for University
As some of you may know, I went to Art School rather than a traditional campus university. I was so pleased to get into my first choice Art School, especially as I skipped the foundation year at college that is usually required for an art degree. I was especially pleased as if I'd had done an extra year at college, I would have had to pay 3x the fees. #win!
So, scared and unsure, I moved to Norwich soon after I turned 18. There was no option for halls of residence for me- according to the admin dept, my home address was too close and therefore a commutable distance. (60 miles from the middle of nowhere would have meant an hour on the bus, followed by 45 mins on the train and a 20 min walk - how you're supposed to afford that on a student loan I don't know!).
As a result, I was put on a housing list with many others. A random girl called me and asked if I wanted to look at a house with some others, and my fate was sealed. We certainly lived with some interesting characters, that's for sure. Luckily, alongside the freaks, I met my BFF. We clicked instantly with a love of accessories, cheap clothes and Primark.
So, the Uni years were not easy. I found it tricky to make friends. Everyone was either 'too cool' or too weird. I never really fitted into any of the groups that had formed, mainly I think because of the accommodation situation that I found myself in.
The course was OK, but looking back, I should have studied Illustration or Graphic Design rather than Fine Art. I did discover a love of printmaking - I spent my days in the print studio screenprinting anything that I could keep still. The tutors weren't the most supportive. Basically if your work was overly conceptual or covered in pornography, they liked you. If you had any skill, they weren't interested.
My case in point: I drew a series of anatomical drawings featuring the skeletons and muscle tissue of cows, sheep and pigs. Surrounding the skeleton were flowers and foliage that had 'grown through' the skin. I thought they were pretty cool. My tutor suggested instead of the flowers, I should cut up porn magazines and stick those over. I think not.
A girl painted a stick grey and stuck it to the wall for her final degree show. She got a 1st.
Art school brings back mixed memories for me. It was filled with stress and problems with housemates, I worked far too hard for no gain, and I really wasn't at my healthiest- both mentally and physically.
Despite this, I met my best friend and bridesmaid and I fell in love with the city I now call home.
Oh, and I met Rory too.
If I could do my time at Uni again, I would have probably done a different degree, whether that would be an illustration or design degree, or something completely different such as Ancient History.
Of course, a few years after graduation, I spent a year at UEA in Norwich, to do my PGCE. I had a much better time, although it was bloody hard work, and met a group of really good friends.
I know many people have the time of their lives at Uni. I am both happy for them, and a little jealous. However, I'm glad I didn't waste my best years back then. I'm living them now, as an adult, and it is sooo much better!