Every year when all the young people go off to get their A level results I experience a twang of jealousy. Not because of the actual results, obviously, that shit was horrible, but usually if A levels are important to you it’s because you’re planning to go to university and your grades determined where you were going. A lot hangs on these results.
Not if you’re an art student though. I did try hard during my A levels but mainly for potential bragging rights, but to get on to an art degree you first need to do an Art and Design Foundation course for a year to get the diploma which qualifies you to apply for a degree course. I only needed one C to secure a place on the Art and Design Foundation course at Loughborough University, and then I only needed to pass my diploma (i.e. not necessarily a merit or distinction) and I was sorted for degree level. Crazy really, especially since a few years later you’re expected to crack out a 10,000 word dissertation and for all they know you can’t even write your own name, but that’s another story.
- You’ll never be this free again, so make the most of it.
University was a wonderful time where I was no longer treated like child whilst having very few of the responsibilities of being an adult. I rented a house and lived on a shoestring with four other girls so you can imagine the carnage, but I didn’t have boring things like council tax to deal with and my landlord took care of the bills for us, sorted.
- Work hard, but not too hard. Your degree means fuck-all once you’ve got your first job.
Like on most university courses, I only needed to pass my first year in order to make it on to second year. That means I only needed to get 40% of the marks in order to progress. But still I busted a gut working all hours to get the best grades I could possibly get, even though they did not count. Whilst this is generally a good work ethic and it was definitely useful to be in the habit of working hard when third year raced around, I think I took it all way too seriously.Since I graduated I haven’t been asked ONCE what grade I got at uni. Not once. And- this may be art specific- but looking back on the work I produced, I was no where near as imaginative as I could’ve been considering I had full creative control over briefs. Something, incidentally, I’d die for now in my paid work. I creatively cock-blocked myself because I was so focused on grades, grades grades! And they really didn’t matter that much, most of the time.
- Spend more time getting relevant work experience.
One of the reasons I struggled so much to get work when I graduated was I had no relevant experience. In the four years I spent at Loughborough, I had 4 months every summer where I did nothing. Well, not nothing. I would work in a bar and try to stack money for the upcoming year. But if I’d thought more seriously about life after the bubble and got myself some internships and work experience before I graduated, I may have realised I suit freelancing way sooner than I did.
- Just because you’re cooking for yourself now doesn’t mean you can have 8 meals a day.
During my first year I gained three stone. That’s a lot. Don’t do that. It’s not sexy and it takes forever to lose.
- Be more of a slut.
Because why the hell not?