In the weeks leading up to the beginning of the first term, I got really stressed out whenever I thought about going to university. Not because of the course, mostly I was really excited at the thought of being in a whole new environment to create things in. It was just the idea of moving away from home and having to look after myself. In my head, I knew it wouldn’t actually be as bad as I was imagining it to be, but it was hard to make myself think reasonably about the whole situation. In reality, moving to Cardiff and living away from my family really wasn’t as bad as I’d imagined it out to be. Despite this though, I’d still kind of rather be at home, only because I miss my pets, and my family. I feel like I’ve been able to adapt a lot better than I thought I would.
Constellation is the main part of the course that I’ve struggled with. I’ve found the lectures to be really interesting, and some of them were quite helpful, especially in the first term. It is the essay writing part that I find really difficult. Doing an art based subject means that I have never had to do as much writing as most other subjects. I don’t have any problem with writing, for example I can easily write about my own work if I have to evaluate it. I find writing easy when it is my own opinions, but once I have to do proper academic writing, where I have to find references for everything, that is when it gets really difficult for me. Having a lecture on how to reference properly in the first term really helped. I have never had to write an essay that needed references in it before, so it was good having that opportunity to learn about it, so that I could apply it to my own work.
I have no problem asking for help now though. I felt like that because I was now at university, these were things I should be able to deal with, but whereas I would have tried to struggle through difficult tasks by myself in the past, I am now more confident about asking for assistance. Once I have had help with something, I’m then able to help someone else who is having the same problem that I had.
I did a foundation course before I started university, and I feel like that helped a lot, particularly with my time management and with the amount of work I was able to create, in a short period of time. I haven’t had a problem with handing work in on time since I started this course, both with constellation and subject/field. It is satisfying being able to apply these skills to the work I’m doing now.
Most of the feedback I’ve got from project work has been very positive. Most of the time I never know what to expect, because this is a new platform for working in, so I never expected the response to be good or bad. The only time I got something besides a positive response was during field, when I had to create work as part of a group. I’ve never been good at working with other people, and having to work in a group with people I’d never met before was not good. I’m quite disappointed in what I helped produce. It was very frustrating working in a group of people from different disciplines, who all have very different styles. We ended up working on something that we all tolerated at best, but it meant that no one felt particularly motivated to create anything, and we didn’t get much work done.
This is something that I’m going to be very aware of in the future. When it came to writing the essay at the end of this first year for constellation, I made sure to pick a topic that I was very interested in, so that I would stay motivated while I was working on it, and was actually enthusiastic about learning more about the topic. I find it quite hard to stay motivated for something if I stay working on the same thing for too long, so I’ve started giving myself mini deadlines within a project to keep myself focused.
I haven’t been given a grade for anything I’ve done so far this year, in all aspects of the course, so it is hard to determine how well I’m actually doing. I find a lot of the time when I’m having a crit for a project in subject/field, that the response I get for my work will depend on the tutor I have for the critique. I’ve noticed this in the past as well, and it is because art is such a subjective thing, that their responses can often be because of their own preferences. It can be difficult to take what they say and try and work out how much of what they say is their own opinion of the work I do, and how much of what they say is something that will actually affect how well I do in the course.
I’ve really enjoyed constellation in the second term, once I’d had the chance to choose my own option. It was a subject that I vaguely knew some things about, but I didn’t know a lot of what was talked about in the lectures each week, so I’ve learnt a lot from this term. ‘After Modernism’ also gave me insight to site specific art, which I realised during the lecture was actually my favourite type of art. This is what I decided to write my essay on in the end, because it is something I felt really compelled to learn more about, and something that I felt like I could confidently write about.
I definitely still struggled through actually writing the essay, as I am still trying to work out how to reference properly but I find that with each experience of academic writing I have to do, I feel more confident about putting my knowledge into practise.