In September of last year I noticed an advert on the KUSA website for designing a poster for the upcoming Undergraduate Open Day, with a theme surrounding the ‘Love Hearts' sweets. As it was nearing the end of the holidays, and being a Fine Art student myself, I thought I would give it a go!
As Fine Art is very much based upon the individual's ideas rather than that of a client or specific brief (like Design students often work to), it was quite refreshing to work to a specific goal and deadline. The brief that the university set was to create the logo ‘Love KU' within a ‘Love Hearts' context. The idea was that people would see the logo and then tweet their ‘love' for Kingston University, with the chance to win a Kingston University hoody at the end of it.
Upon seeing the brief I had the idea that I would be able to manipulate existing images of ‘Love Hearts' from the internet and alter their text so that it said ‘Love KU'. But sadly I'm not as computer literate as some of my fellow Design students probably are, so in the end I resulted to my traditional ways by drawing the design with colouring pencils. This handmade technique proved to be popular as I won the competition!
My design appeared on posters during the Undergraduate Open Day and on the internet. It was also made into badges, so I was able to wear my artwork on the day as I helped as a Student Ambassador!
Since this ‘Love KU' campaign was so successful, the university recently invited me to come up with some more designs and develop the ‘Love Hearts' theme. This time they wanted me to create a series of images that thanked visitors for their attendance and encouraged them to visit again.
The university specified that they wanted something that played upon the ‘Love Hearts' theme but wasn't cheesy, so it was important to emulate the ‘Love Hearts' lingo and the specific text and language that they use; simple, clear, concise messages. The messages they wanted were ‘#LoveKU', ‘Meet Up' and ‘Thank you'. I wondered if with the ‘Thank you' love heart I could play with the editing of ‘k' and ‘u' in a different colour, alluding to the fact that it is regarding Kingston University.
Coming from a Fine Art background, the project encouraged me to contemplate all of the different avenues that this concept could go down. For example I started to think about the logos as entities that could encourage the exchange or passing on of messages of positivity or compliments regarding the university and its environment. It reminded me of an artwork that I had previously seen at the Penny Guggenheim in Venice by Yoko Ono called Wish Tree. The idea, developed in 1996, is the installation of a tree within an environment with the opportunity for people to write down their wishes and suspend them from the tree, generating positivity.
Ono writes, ‘As a child in Japan, I used to go to a temple and write out a wish on a piece of thin paper and tie it around the branch of a tree. Trees in temple courtyards were always filled with people's wish knots, which looked like white flowers blossoming from afar.'
This fantastic artwork, filled with thoughts and often aspirations caused me to consider whether there was a way in which the ‘Love Hearts' display on Open Days could echo these ideas. For example, as well as tweeting love for Kingston, could people (during the Open Day) write down their thoughts on the love hearts themselves and suspend them from something that had the ability to bring all the messages together, making them tactile?
I also began to think about the idea of the love hearts having personalities of their own and becoming animated as characters. Perhaps I could produce a stop motion in which they could be animated and tour the campuses.
Here is a link to one of the animations I produced: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVFErwflCyk
All of these ideas were revolving around in my head and the images show a few of the designs I eventually produced. It would have been easy for the university to ask one of their Design team to come up with a design, but as I had realised the ‘LoveKU' design previously they gave me first refusal.
I think that enabling me (and other students alike) to have this design opportunity to represent the university, whilst studying, portrays the positive links that the university harbours with their students. I have had the opportunity to work alongside the uni, aiding them with their marketing and giving them a young person's perspective of things. Furthermore it has given me an experience of working to a brief, within a professional atmosphere. Most importantly it's really great to see my little drawings that I made in my bedroom transformed into noticeable logos and motifs that will hopefully draw people's attention and generate positivity!
As I prepare make time for my academic workload during spring break, I think back to my first and second year as a student when I would camp out in the library until my all of my assignments were completed. It seems that is would be quite boring to live in the library but the LRC at Kingston is very welcoming and accommodating for my academic needs. With the ground floor cafe I am never without a tasty snack and drink or a PC computer and table to give me the work space I need when completing assignments. Fortunately my essays and portfolios are due in mid May but it still is necessary to get a head start on all of them during this three week period. In between the work I must also find the time to work part time in the university shop as a supervisor and to keep the online content filled for the River Online as the editor for Arts and Entertainment. It is a very busy period and a very important one as I am near the end of my third year. I don't want to waste a moment of precious time that can be spent revising my work and getting necessary interviews underway for the newspaper.
My advice for any prospective students is to utilise the facilities Kingston University has to offer, as this is your final year to use them. Make a day of it in the library, there are so many academic sources on the shelves and online, not to mention the archives section on the ground floor. The Film and Archives department is similar to the British Library, with so many options at your disposal your studies will always be well sourced. At the library during spring break it is best to revise and to also work together with your classmates. At the moment I am working on an essay for my Ethic's module and so far just getting a second opinion for other students on how they choose their topic to research and where to find the best sources is most helpful. I find that we are able to help each other and not feel so alone when tackling a large assignment.
Another important project I am working on is revising my CV as I want to apply for journalism positions within London. I have been working endlessly trying to stylise it and have the support of my lecturer to make sure it is looking polished and ready to be sent out. The third year is a crucial one and taking advantage of these facilities and support from lecturers will make it more worth while. The third year is possibly the best time to apply within your field of study so make sure you are having your lecturers or the careers and employment department look over your CV and cover letter. It will give you the edge when applying and help make your application to stand out from the masses. If you have a goal of making sure you want to get things accomplished then the support of your classmates, lecturers and library will prove to be a very large help. During this busy time students need all of the help they can get. Make the most of your time and of your lecturers guidance. Pretty soon you will be released into the job market as working professionals...not students. However, just focus on the last few assignments you have to submit and enjoy every moment of being a student on holiday break.
This is just a little about what we pharmacists get up to when we are nowhere to be seen around uni. I know there are a lot of misconceptions about Pharmacy and what pharmacists actually do. Being a pharmacist involves many different things which may surprise you.
Here are just a few:
• We study to be experts in medicines and how medicines work as well as their manufacture and production.
• We learn to give patients advice and counselling on their medical conditions and medicine use and general issues such as healthy eating, coughs and colds.
• We liaise with other healthcare professionals for example nurses and doctors in order to ensure patients treated in hospitals get the best care.
So apart from attending lectures and studying, I also spend a lot of time doing practical work. I spend at least 6hrs a week in the pharmacy practice lab or the chemistry lab. A normal day in the pharmacy practice lab consists of screening prescriptions for legal and clinical issues, then dispensing medication and giving counselling advice. At the moment we are focusing on things people most commonly go to the pharmacy for, for example, chicken pox, measles, eczema, acne, head lice and athlete's foot.
In the chemistry lab we do various things such as organic, inorganic, bioinorganic, molecular modelling and analytical work. Analytical work mainly involves finding what an unknown drug substance contains using techniques such as mass spectrometry, infrared spectroscopy, and titrations.
As a pharmacy student I also spend time in the sterile and microbiology labs. Here we practice making sterile products such as eye drops, intravenous preparations, chemotherapy and sterile solutions containing nutrients for patients who cannot eat. We learn and practice how to test for infections caused by bacteria, fungi and viruses. This goes hand in hand with pharmacology practical's where we test medicines to see their effect on the body and also find out what the body does to the drugs once they are administered or we take them. We use this information to predict issues of drug stability which may be influenced by factors such as impurities, excipients and manufacture methods.
My favourite module at the moment is pharmacology. Sounds strange because most students find this the tough one, and yes it is a challenge but there are many reasons why I enjoy it. At the moment we are learning about major diseases associated with the cardiovascular and nervous system, drugs used to treat these diseases and how they work, and also their side effects. We have already learnt about a whole range of diseases including heart failure, high cholesterol, angina, stroke, migraine, drug dependency, schizophrenia and epilepsy.
So now you know where I spend some of my time when I'm not in lectures or workshops. I hope I've given you a little insight into another side of pharmacy, and now it's hopefully clear that pharmacists don't just put pills in bottles!