Rebecca's blog

A month of stress

Posted 26 Apr 2012 by Rebecca


Hello! Well, what a stressful month it's been. We had our final crit for our final major project, shortly followed by a week of packing, which was interrupted by a surprise interview to be a fellow at Colors Magazine (I was unsuccessful, but the creative director was enthusiastic and gave really useful feedback. Plus, now I know what to expect from a portfolio review!).

They say moving house is one of the three most stressful things you can go through in life, alongside bereavement and divorce, and they aren't kidding. It made me appreciate, though, how much of a life I'd built up in Kingston compared to when I first moved and had a simple carload of kitchen utensils, clothes, books and a sewing machine. I seem to have doubled said book collection, not to mention all the sentimental tat I've picked up along the way. It's somewhat disorientating to be halfway between a totally new chapter in my life and the chapter I've been living for the last three years but maybe it's better than everything changing all at once. All we have to do now is submit a final meter reading for the old place, have it professionally cleaned and get the skip taken away.

I've also been seeing a lot of Ikea recently since things like cutlery seem to go the same way as socks in the laundry when you're living as six people. My housemate and I have also set up a little studio area in our living/dining room which I love because it's always good to have someone else around in the same room to bounce ideas off. Speaking of work, the same housemate and I have been researching for a book we're making, alongside a fellow course mate, about independent and experimental publishing in 2012. Everyone that we've contacted has been super friendly and helpful, and last week we had two interviews that went on for four hours each. On Monday we visited an amazing studio, which even has a wendy house. It's both reassuring and inspiring that these people are open and friendly enough to indulge us students and build relationships with us. Now we just have 10 hours of audio to sift through and transcribe! Aside from that project, I'm making a book about Cairo and have another one in the pipeline about the disgusting, and growing, mistreatment of our disabled citizens. I really want to create a piece of work which reaches out and creates a sense of empathy and understanding, especially amongst our often disaffected and insular young people, since we will soon be taking on the responsibilities that come with running a society.

All in all, to end on a positive note, I love my new house, our neighbours are incredibly friendly and there's some amazing food, from curried goat to vegan burgers, to be had all along the street. I'm even beginning to look forward to graduating!


Posted 23 Mar 2012 by Rebecca


Hello! It's been a pretty exciting but stressful couple of weeks for me here at Kingston. A few weeks ago we found out that we couldn't, as we had planned and discussed with our landlord, stay on in our house for an extra few months while we finish our degree. This is because he wanted to increase the rent to be vastly more expensive than it has been. Because of this, we took the decision to move closer into central London now, rather than post-graduation. The six of us are also splitting into smaller groups but that's a whole different story! So two of my current housemates and I have been frantically trying to find a flat that we can move into over Easter since our contract's up on 30th April. We found some real gems but either they were snapped up before we could get to view them or the move-in date was too early or too late. Luckily, last Wednesday we found a lovely maisonette on Wick Road with a huge living room and cheap rent and we even got to speak to the current tenants, who are leaving London for Paris. After a quick lunch in a greasy spoon, we called the estate agent back to confirm that we'd pop over to pay our holding fee and with that, we had a place.

At the same time as all this was going on I was hanging, and enjoying the private view of, the Edge of Print exhibition at Stour Space in Hackney Wick. It was stressful but great fun and my work ended up getting featured on Design Week, which was fab. The gallery's actually about a mile down the road from our new house, and from its amazing café you can see the Olympic stadium whilst enjoying delicious coffee, bacon sandwiches, poached eggs and potato cakes, pies, chocolate brownies... The best bit about the food is that most of the ingredients are sourced locally through an organisation called Organic Wick and when we move we can pick up fruit and veg boxes from them, as well as tasty free-range eggs. I can't wait, but it is still rather daunting to leave the comfort of student life behind - speaking of which, today I'm going to email some of the people I've worked with in art and design and hope that they might have some freelance work I can pick up, which is again, daunting.

On top of everything else I've been having a great time finishing my final major project, which is an adaptation of a book of poetry by Selima Hill. Tomorrow I'm going to pick the paper that it will be printed on for the critique, which is two weeks on Thursday. So that's another two jam packed weeks, followed a week later by moving into my new place. Oh my!

Changed your mind....?

Posted 21 Feb 2012 by Rebecca


Hello! A question on the Ask Me site recently led me to reminisce about the process that you pre-university folk are still engaged in: UCAS. I came to university in a pretty roundabout way and I think it's important to reassure you that even if things don't go quite to plan, or you find yourself in a minor identity crisis, you will find a way to be happy in what you end up doing. It was around this time three years ago that I was back in the second year of my BTEC National Diploma in art and design, having left school during my AS levels due to illness and after a brief dalliance with an access to higher education course where I studied English and Politics. This access course was really engaging and enjoyable, and I truly believed that a degree in English Literature was the way forward for me because, to be frank, I'd been educated in a very traditional girls' grammar school which left me with a minor complex relating to the validity of non-‘academic' courses. By the time I realised my mistake and reconfirmed my deep-seated love of the creative problem solving involved in visual communication, I had already used up all my UCAS choices on English Literature degrees.

So what was I to do? It was quite humiliating to tell everyone that I'd changed my mind again, so I had to be totally sure that I really did want to embark on this change in direction. At first I thought the solution would be to try to appeal directly to the universities, but that turned out not to be an option. Then I found out about UCAS Extra, which is a system available to indecisive individuals like me, as well as people who don't get into any of their chosen courses. It involves having to reject any of your current offers/pending applications and, to add to the risk factor, you can only make one new choice. I chose Illustration & Animation at Kingston because not only is it well respected but it has a similar culture to my BTEC (the second year of which is the equivalent of, and undertaken with the students from, the art and design foundation course) in that there is 6 day a week access to studios that are dedicated to each course and emphasis on regular peer to peer and peer-tutor interaction.

Luckily, I was on a really good, supportive course and all the fantastic tutors were dab hands at helping us students put our portfolios together. I went up for my interview, had a good conversation with the tutors, and got in! The risk had paid off and what's more, the course more than fulfilled my appetite for academia, especially with writing my dissertation in this last year. My appetite wasn't just fulfilled through written tasks though - there is an emphasis on research and solid conceptual thinking in every project, and 3 years on, despite notable ups and downs in my relationship to the course, I'm still happy with the decision I made and the risk that I took. I also know that those ups and downs I just mentioned are a pretty good sign: it shows just how invested I am in my studies, both emotionally and intellectually, and I think that's important to recognise.

About Rebecca

Course: Illustration and Animation
Level: Alumni 2012
Hometown: Faversham

Other information: I came to Kingston straight from school. I undertook a work placement at MRM London for a few weeks in April 2011. I am a Kingston University student ambassador. I chose Kingston because... It has a very good reputation for Illustration and Animation, with good industry links. It is also close to London, which is full of amazing galleries and nightlife. I got to where I am now... I went through several career choices before I settled on illustration. From the age of about fi...

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