It's rather odd to be on the other end of an open day at your own university. I'm so use to being the one answering questions and dispensing knowledge but actually attending an open day? I haven't been to an open day as a prospective student in nearly 4/5 years. It was weird.
So Kingston recently held a Postgraduate open evening event which I booked myself onto, I've been considering a masters course for a while but I haven't been sure on the course. I'd already reduced my choices to 2 courses, History of Art and Design studies or Media and Communication. This evening to me was about getting answers, I've already done my research online and through prospectuses but here I had the chance to talk to the course director. In itself that's an invaluable opportunity because the course director will have the answers I need, also the course director can tell me how the course has adapted over the past through years.
I'll make some observations now before snagging it onto the end but Postgraduate open days are extremely different to undergraduate open days. Firstly they're a bit more sedate and slightly more serious, and aren't nearly as busy. Although to me it felt busy but I'm wondering if that's down to the size of the exhibition hall and the free food and refreshments on offer. The atmosphere is completely different at PG to UG, the talk from the Deputy Vice-chancellor was really down to earth and it felt more as though we were being spoken to as adults. Since being at Kingston I've enjoyed being treated as an individual rather than as part of a student collective like I was during school and college, it's empowering.
Lastly when you get to looking into postgraduate courses you already have a solid idea of what you are looking for and what to ask, after all you've been through the process before with looking at undergraduates. With that in mind it's a quicker process, although it took a while because the particular lecturer and staff I wanted to talk to turned up late. I'll be honest I found that really frustrating; no matter how much free food and tea I could have it didn't really help. I wanted to speak to someone and my level of frustration kind of showed to me just how important the idea of doing a Masters is. So I went away for about 10 minutes and came back and finally the people I needed were there. Talking to the course director for media and communication was great because she settled a lot of my concerns about moving faculties and the entry requirements. She also gave me a fantastic outline of the modules and how the year will work out. Just to hear that over the 5 or so years she has ran the course it has been getting better and more exciting for students was what I needed. To know that courses adapt to the times and change is great because I know that I won't be getting an outdated or stagnant course. I had a good long chat with her, possibly about 20 minutes or so and she really sold me the course. I know the idea is to promote your course but I didn't feel like I was being pushed if anything we were both doing the same thing, making sure the course is right for me.
So the course has pretty much been sold to me and as soon as I can I will submit my application. The next part is the dreaded money matters, it's a necessary evil but also as a postgraduate I am no longer able to get a student loan from the government despite not taking a tuition fee in the first place. Sometimes it is unfair the government don't support postgraduates as much but that's where universities make a difference. Kingston does offer some postgraduate financial support such as bursaries but what it has recently introduced is a benchmark 10% discount to Kingston Alumni. As a Kingston student, that gives me a good reason to stay with Kingston, when it comes to funding the supermarket motto of ‘every little helps' this discount really does. I probably would have stayed with Kingston anyway, the 10% is a nice little bonus, and anyway there are plenty of ways to go about funding which I fully intend to look at, provided I qualify.
Regardless of if you're an undergraduate or postgraduate, these open days and extremely useful in making the right choice for yourself. Every open day I'm at I always tell students to make the right choice for you and it's exactly the same advice I use myself. I went in, quizzed the course director, picked up the information on funding, had a cup of tea and left. In fact I left the event and went to the pub I work at, sat down and planned out what I needed to do to prepare for the masters. The planning was made over a cheeky well deserved pint, it was well deserved (and enjoyed) as I have been running round the clock with the whole 3rd year and degree show thing.
I'll get to the manic nature of 3rd year another day, for now I'll crossed one thing off my list, sorting out my masters business! Take care and to anyone interviewing on Fine art I wish you all the best with your interviews!
Today's fun fact: Amsterdam has 1,281 bridges, that's a lot of bridges.
Two months of intense writing, and not a lot of sleep, and it is all over. That's right I've finished AND submitted my dissertation. Words cannot describe my relief and happiness right now; in fact I spent yesterday doing absolutely nothing, why? Because I could! What made the rush to get the dissertation in was that my midpoint assessment for my studio work was also due in for assessment so that was an added bit of pressure. When push comes to shove I always get through stressful points and now I'm in the unusual situation of not having anything to do. I'm complaining but I don't often find myself at a loose end. I could get on with some of my studio work but seeing as I had to leave all my sketch books and research to be looked over I don't really have the means. I tend to do a lot of preliminary sketches before I illustrate a comic panel.
That reminds me, I've now got my little comic site up and running (again). It's nothing special but it's something I want to build on so come my degree show I've got something that has a strong ground work and can keep running. Also the second reason for the site is that I'm planning ahead for when I enter the job market, that's if I don't do a Masters. The creative job market is terribly competitive and the key is being able to set yourself apart from the rest. But also be proactive; don't just wait for anyone to give you something to do, make work! Write material! The list is endless but the key is to show engagement and that you have a passion. I've included the link to my site so feel free to have a look. If you've got any questions about it or the idea of it, then drop me a question and I'd be more than happy to talk to about it.
Currently I'm happy with where I'm at; dissertation done and handed in, assessment nearly over, the website is working and I'm up to date with everything I should be. With all that over I can now enjoy my birthday in peace. It's my birthday next week and I'm turning 23 (slightly daunting because I still haven't got over being 21) but I'm still looking forward to it mainly because I am going away for a few days. Today's fun fact is about Amsterdam and this time next week I'll be in the Netherlands! Partly for my boyfriend's job and the other half is for my birthday because he knew I'd be mad if he didn't take me. My boyfriend is giving a talk on ‘Tools Development for Games' at a conference at Breda University NL, the conference seems fairly interesting so I'm tagging along and when he's done the next day we'll be going to Amsterdam for a few days. Last time I was in Amsterdam I didn't do much except go to the Zoo and get lost in the Red Light district so this time I'm going to make the most of it. Plenty of museums, quirky vintage shops and some beautiful sites so expect pictures of my trip, the one thing I'm not looking forward to is the cold. It's going to be really cold. Really Cold!
I'm so excited and I've got a lot to do before I go, like get some new warm boots as my current pair won't really help keep me warm. So that's my next plan, to go shopping! Bye for now!
Today's fun fact is brought to you thanks to the Fine Art Pub Quiz fundraiser from last night. The only other part of your body besides finger prints that can leave a unique print is your tongue.
Now I was always told that 3rd year was no picnic but I think that was slightly understated, the past 2 weeks have been brutal and the work load and commitments just keep on stacking up. It's not uncommon though for students to struggle, these things happen but the trick is to keep a cool head and sometimes admit you're struggling. That's normally what your personal tutors are for but at the minute we never seem to be around at the same time which is a real shame but it's times like these where you see that the best support you can have is from your peers. It's also times like this where you think in hindsight spending a couple of hours playing video games was not the best idea, and that in playing those games you were just procrastinating. This year I think I've let slip my time management skills and now I'm beginning to pay for it with a couple less hours sleep and some emotional hiccups. Am I going to let that stop me? No. Because I know that come January I will look over all the work from Semester 1 and know that the time I've put in has paid off and there is no greater reward and motivation than the satisfaction of a job well done.
Wow! This all sounds a little heavy and not what I normally talk about but I thought that sometimes we need to fall back down to reality and know exactly what we're taking on and the effects of it, the good and the bad. Now unfortunately with my horrifically busy schedule I've had for the past couple of weeks, nothing interesting has really happened besides discovering that the Knights Park SU now does cocktails and also picking up a copy of 'Halo 4'. I've missed the Master Chief although it means that my boyfriend is a Halo widow for a short period of time.
So this week's blog is a little on the thin side and I'll be honest my head is full of words and concepts from all this reading and dissertation writing that every so often I find that I've actually started slipping them into other things I'm writing like these blogs or emails to my mother. I'm fairly sure my mother doesn't need about theories such as the ‘online disinhibition effect'. The most recent work load has also made me very tired; I've decided to just stop for a day to put things back into perspective and to make a plan to attack my workload effectively. That's what today is, so if you'll excuse me, I'm going to jump onto 'Halo 4' because I'm like 2 games off ranking up and there are some daily challenges I want to complete.
Fingers cross my next blog will be far better and full of more interesting things. Bye!
Course: Fine Art
Level: Third year
Other information: I deferred my place and took a gap year before starting at Kingston. I am a Kingston University student ambassador. I chose Kingston because... it offered me the right environment for me to expand in. The course gave me freedom to practise my interests and offered me more facilities and guidance than other universities. I also fell in love with the town; it felt right to me and it was somewhere I could easily picture myself being. There was a new but familiar feeling to...