UWTSD – Swansea College of Art | My Uni Experience & Tips
I’m back! I was chick-sitting over the weekend and got incredibly distracted by how adorable they were. Today, I thought I’d share some images of the new 2015 University of Wales TSD undergraduate prospectus, as I am on the front page which I am super excited about. It’ll be representing the uni at UCAS events all over the UK, and available for free at all of the UWTSD campuses – so if you’re in South Wales you can pick one up for yourself! I also imagine that you’ll be able to request them from the website here if you’re interested. I took most of the photos at Three Cliffs Bay last summer; here are some shots of the pages designed by Harry Richmond which feature my images:
Whilst we’re on the subject of uni, I thought I’d take this opportunity to write a bit about my university experience, in the hope that it might help some of you who haven’t been yet. I know that when I was preparing for uni I was looking for advice from graduates, so I would know what to really expect and not just what they tell you in the official guides. Don’t get me wrong; they are very useful and I recommend that you read them too – but here’s my additional, personal advice I can give.
1. Study something you enjoy
The main reason you’re going to university is probably to study something you’re hoping to make into a career, so make sure you choose something you love. I know you hear this all the time, but having actually been to lectures and workshops every day, I can confirm that the rumours are true. I loved all the things I was doing (apart from the dissertation, let’s not talk about that), and in third year I would happily be at uni for ten hours a day. If you’re just doing a subject because you think you should, then it’s unlikely that you’re going to enjoy it (although I guess you never know..)
2. DON’T PANIC, you will make friends
At college I was part of a huge group – we would all go on road trips together and because there were about 30 of us, I had a lot of friends who were always around and who I felt close to. As lame as it sounds, I actually didn’t want to go to uni right up until the day I moved, because I thought I’d never have a group of friends as good as the one I already had. I can promise you that this was not the case – within a few months I had made new friends who I lived with in halls, and by the next year I was also part of another group of friends on my course. It’s a bit weird for a while and can feel like your life is all over the place, but that’s also a good thing – think of all the different cities you can visit!
3. Freshers Week / First Year
I am a fairly quiet person and come across as shy when I first meet people, so I did feel quite awkward and overwhelmed during the first few days. Having said that, freshers week was actually quite fun (I mean I’d rather not do it again, but it could have been worse). Everybody feels awkward, even if they don’t show it – go out in big groups and you’ll soon find the people you get along best with. Go with the flow and be spontaneous – and remember it’s just as much about daytime activities and exploring the city as it is about drinking games and fancy dress. Have fun but do try to balance your social life with the workload; I’m a bit of a perfectionist and found that consistently doing my best prepared me for the amount of work in final year. It also shows your tutors that you’re hardworking and reliable if you’re not a hungover mess every day 😉 Another thing I recommend is to decorate your room with cute stuff/photos/fairylights – not only does it make it feel more homely for you, but additionally if you keep your door open, people will want to come in because it feels nice. If they are in your room they have to be friends with you really, don’t they? (sorry housemates if you’re reading this, you all fell for my plan.)
4. Don’t buy every single kitchen utensil
We literally ended up with 20 of everything – I’d recommend assessing the situation and then buying kitchen stuff that you need after you’ve moved in. Chances are, if you’re at the kitchen section in IKEA and don’t know what something is, you won’t need it – keep it simple! And remember – the less you buy, the less washing up you’ll have to do (although it’s generally nicer to eat off of a cute spotty plate than out of a frying pan). Moving away for uni is also a great opportunity to improve your cooking skills – ask your mum for instructions on how to make your favourite home-cooked meals, or google it – you can learn pretty much anything on the internet.
5. Location & Travel
First and foremost, you should pick somewhere you feel comfortable in & can see yourself living in. You should also consider how far away you’ll be – in the first term, I went home 3 times, each train trip costing £50. After I had settled in, my uni town began to feel like home – in third year, I barely went home because I was having too much fun (and had too much work) in Swansea. I was struggling to choose between several universities, and in the end went to the place in which I had felt happiest and most welcome on the interview day. There isn’t a right and wrong choice, just different ones! Vehicle-wise, it was nice that friends had cars for road trips, but as my house was only a five minute walk from uni / town / station, fifteen minutes from the beach, and a bus ride away from most places, it wasn’t worth the cost of me having my own car.
6. Think about life after uni
It may seem like forever away but unfortunately, student life doesn’t last forever. This is the only thing I regret from my time at uni (aside from consuming some rather questionable drinks and unhealthy amounts of spaghetti hoops) – I was so busy that I put off thinking about what would happen next until the very end. I would suggest maybe trying to find a course which offers a year in industry/abroad to get solid work experience and make contacts that will be ever so useful upon graduating. Even if you can’t do a full-time placement, use your time to get all the experience you can. Collaborate with other students, expand your network and do summer internships (I did one with CityTravelReview in France which was great) to explore new places and make new friends whilst working.
7. UWTSD Swansea
If you’re thinking of applying to an arts/design/media/humanities course at university next year then South Wales is a lovely place to be. I can’t say it would suit everyone but it felt right for me and I loved my time by the coast. If you’re looking for a relatively untouched seafront right next to the city centre then I would definitely recommend Swansea. There are campuses scattered over the town for different courses. I studied Photography in the Arts, and my work developed so much in three years – the tutors are friendly, facilities are great and I felt happy in the environment. There are loads of shops/bars/pubs/clubs in the town centre – not to mention museums, the marina, and all there is to explore along the coastal paths of the Gower. The only down-sides I experienced were that I felt like we missed out on the community feel of the big campus-unis, and that it rains a LOT in Wales. But other than that, I have no complaints (and the beaches in summer make up for the rainy days).
So all in all, I would definitely encourage you to apply for university if you’re considering it. Yes, it is expensive (even more so now than when I studied), but I was fortunate enough to have support from my parents and a travel bursary from the uni which helped massively with train fares and baked beans – so for me, the benefits far outweighed the costs. Hope this was helpful to some of you – feel free to leave any questions, I’ll be happy to answer them as best as I can 🙂
Love Marie x