Posted 12 Aug 2013 by Alice
Before the age of 19 I had never even heard of Kingston University and (as soppy as it sounds) now I couldn't imagine a life without it. It has brought me so many fantastic opportunities, and left me with boundless fond memories and life-long friends.
I remember in the summer after Art College before starting Kingston, filling out Student Finance and saying, "No, mum, I don't want to go!" Then come September the car was packed up and I was ready to go to Clayhill Halls of Residence, fuelled by adrenaline. I met some of my best friends there and had some really good times.
Living away from home at Clayhill was really the starting point for the love of the increased sense of independence that university gave me. Furthermore it showed me, through living with people I could never have imagined crossing paths with in my hometown of Lincoln, that I really could get on with pretty much anyone. And sometimes the people that you would think, in an ideological sense, are far from you; can actually have a lot in common with you. The experience taught me to be less judgemental generally in life and to realise that we can learn a lot from each other.
Halls also taught me to remind my friend Izzy never to leave an apple crumble in the grill and forget about it whilst talking! (Especially in the middle of winter on a snowy evening). This doesn't amuse other people in your block when the sound of the fire alarm beckons people outside into the cold grasps of winter, so that the firemen can deal with the burnt, crumbled pastry. Now I am not condoning this sort of behaviour, (people should be careful when hoping that the grill may add a bit of crispiness to your crumble topping), but it was highly amusing hearing people question why they were forced outside, when simultaneously a few of us giggled in a corner in knowledge that it was Izzy's burnt apple crumble that ignited such problems! Plus, an upside was that we got to stare at an array of fireman carrying out their call of duty; another lesson learnt at university, look for the potential in anything! But that's just one of many hilarious stories that university has given me, there are many more to offer. So much so that my friend and I considered writing a book or some sort of guide to university life, mainly for our own amusement I hasten to add!
As I have probably said before in my other blogs, when I was looking at universities I really had my heart set on London as a location. As a teenager I had been fortunate enough that my mum would take me to London on the train, usually shopping and looking at various art galleries, and I really grew a love for the place. But before my interview I had never been to Kingston Upon Thames, so wasn't really sure what to expect. I am definitely not the first to say it but, being a country girl chasing a city life, it really does give you the best of both worlds. At one moment you're a 20-minute train ride from central London and simultaneously a short walk away from beautiful, green spaces such as Bushey or Richmond Park. There is brilliant shopping, restaurants and nightlife, and in the summer time days are often spent chilling by the river.
The river is one of the great things about Knights Park Campus, where I was based. It is situated alongside the Hogsmill River, which flows into the River Thames. During the stress of my final semester at university, it was such a relief to end the day at the SU with a drink, sat by the river with my friends in the fading sunshine. I will always have fond memories of those times and know that many future Kingston University students also have them to come.
Up to the moment that I finished my degree in June of this year, I was quite apprehensive of returning to Lincoln in July. I loved my student life in Kingston, was very fond of the area and had some fantastic friends. Wanting a bit of a break though, and knowing that I didn't have a job immediately lined up, I knew I should probably come home for a bit.
On 17th July, with my friends opening their results at midnight, I nervously waited until the morning to discover the fate of my three years of studying at Kingston. With pride I can tell you that I achieved a First Class Honours Degree. Now what to do?! Towards the end of my BA, my desire to study further had certainly heightened; I didn't feel ready to stop and I had this feeling of wanting to learn more. However, hoping to gain more experience in a gallery environment I thought that I would have a few years out first before I properly considered this. Now I am not so sure.
In a time where we are constantly being reminded of the lack of graduate jobs and opportunities, not to mention governmental cuts in Arts funding, I believe that my degree has taught me to widen the parameters in the way that I work. For example Fine Art is something that requires a huge amount of self-determination, which makes it very difficult in a lot of ways in that you are constantly critiquing your own ideas and having to accept that one has moments in which their ideas are less abundant.
Simultaneously in Art History I have been able to work to a prescribed format in an academic way, and through studying both disciplines I have learnt to balance both ways of functioning.
Throughout my course, although not part of the curriculum, I have been encouraged to explore working opportunities within the art world and during my second year, undertook a gallery internship. I would advise anyone to do the same, as, often when applying for jobs, just having a degree isn't enough. For example, an internship is evidence that you can not only study alongside working, but also put that studying into practice (as it were) and make actual contacts of those you could work with further in the future. I could never have imagined doing this before university, but university life and the experience of living away from home has encouraged a growth of independence both to general life and my attitude towards the working world which I now face.
I now think that I will have more confidence in my applications to prospective employers and actively seek their advice to help with further posts, if I do not at that time meet the requirements for the specific post I applied for. My current plan is to continue working at the local swimming pool, teaching and lifeguarding, whilst simultaneously applying for gallery jobs and internships in London. I am also going to apply for some voluntary work in galleries in nearby Nottingham as I am aware that, being outside of London, I need to keep my head in the art world.
Ultimately I would like to go into research and critique within Fine Art/Art History and, as this will require further studying, if I have not found a gallery post by December, I will probably consider my applications for an MA next year. In the mean time I want to keep making work and writing.
I had a thought last night about how far from the art world my experiences at the pool were. I have worked there on and off for 5 years, since the age of 17 when I wanted to earn some money alongside my study. But what has working in a swimming pool got to do with Fine Art? How is that sporting experience going to look on my C.V. when I am applying for jobs in the Arts? Well, working there has taught me a lot about different types of people and the insightful habits that they have, not to mention the vast array of tattoos I see as a lifeguard! In search of an artistic outlet for my thoughts and observations, I think that I will start writing about my pool experiences and the people who frequent there. I shall call it ‘The Yarborough Diaries' perhaps! Hopefully they won't be too long however, and I'll soon be back in London!
Well the time has officially come...I'm a Kingston University Law LLB graduate (2.1 :D)!
Those of you that follow my blogs will know that I was slightly dreading finishing uni and entering the ‘real world'. However, after a good few months celebrating with friends and reminiscing our times here, we decided that there are plenty more fun and exciting adventures ahead.
So... at the moment, my current employment status is FUNemployed (i.e. having fun but trying to find a job at the same time!) I know that I would like to further my studies later on in life by doing a Masters, but want to work this year to save money and gain that all-important experience.
In terms of traveling (which again, if you follow my blogs, you know I love) I've been on a girly holiday with my best friends from uni to Barcelona and am going to Alicante in August. I also experienced my first festival in Newquay at this year's Beach Break. We cheated a little bit, as we stayed in a caravan (being in a tent is just not my thing!) but it was fun to listen to new bands and meet new people.
We've also had Student Ambassador Events, such as the Awards Night and Dragon Boat race. Both were really fun and a great way to mark my amazing time as a Student Ambassador here. I've experienced and learnt so much from the scheme and would encourage anyone to join it! I was lucky enough to win an award for ‘Best Role Model', which I was so happy about. I'll definitely miss all my work colleagues and the fun we had working at different events together.
Finally, I had a touristy day in London and took some great pics (some of which I've shared on here). It was so nice to be able to appreciate these beautiful parts of our capital city which you wouldn't normally visit. I kept laughing at how much of a tourist I was being, when I've lived near London my whole life! Just goes to show how there are always great things to see and do here.
That's all from me for now! I'll be sure to keep you guys up to date with my life after uni. For now, I'll be visiting Kingston occasionally to work and see friends, before the big day of my graduation in November (and yes I've already bought the dress for it!) Bye for now...
Well what a great start to the summer! After bouncing back and forth from home for a while, on my return to London I secured an internship at Tank/Because, a fashion based magazine, helping the video editing team.
I have been at Tank for two weeks now and I have been having a great experience. Working within a professional environment has helped me to discover what it could be like to work in my industry. Whilst I have been here I have attended meetings for briefs, visited a set for shooting an up and coming band, and have been given opportunities to create my own videos for Tank.
I think that internships are a really valuable part of the university experience, whether the course offers an opportunity to secure them or not. As part of the Illustration Animation course, we are taught ‘Professional Practice', which includes a series of talks and lectures from current professionals in various sectors of the industry. These sessions also help us to learn how to build a portfolio, website and C.V., which will give us a jump-start into presentation for future jobs. However, what we don't have as part of the course (but the tutors recommend and assist us with) is the given for placements/internships, simply because of the weight of the course content. However, through The Design School, the Art and Design faculty's website for tutors and students, the tutors post information regarding any up and coming internships and placements that may be available. It was through this I found the opportunity to apply for an internship at Tank/Because.
Many of my other course mates have also found internships over the summer, which is a great jumpstart into the industry, as it not only gives you experience in a working environment, but also gives you the chance to create contacts which can be useful in the future for securing work.
It's been a busy couple of weeks, but the opportunity I have had at Tank has been well worth it and I would recommend finding placements/internships for anyone on any course.
Christmas in Kingston
Uploaded 22 Nov 2013
Keeping organised at Uni
Uploaded 22 Nov 2013
Finding private accommodation and university support.
Uploaded 21 Oct 2013