Thursday, 4 April 2013

6 Things I Wish I Knew when I was Studying Fashion

I know quite a few of my blog readers haven't actually finished university yet, or are still yet to go to university. I was talking with a friend the other day about how much freedom we had, and if we could go back, how we'd make the most of it. Some of these points are trivial, and probably personal to myself, but some of the points I cannot stress enough. Pre-Uni students, here's a little bit of advice for you. As for you Post-Grads, you may agree with me, or you may have other things you wish you knew - let us know! 
So here we go; 6 Things I wish I knew when I was at uni...

- Those Missed Lectures do kind of matter...
At uni, we all missed a few lectures here and there, whether it be because your 'alarm clock didn't go off' or 'you were told it was cancelled' (when we all know it was due to an incurable hangover no matter how many Lemsips you downed before you went to bed). Whatever the reason, the fact is you miss out on something that could've potentially taught you something vital for your future career. That lecture could be the difference between leaving uni knowing your stuff in that job interview or being unemployed. Let's just say, the girls that did go to all the lectures, and tutorials, were the girls that got the best degree grades... And just a little reminder, (because all students do forget, myself included) we do pay for the education...
My advice - drag yourself out of bed (especially in your final year, AND if the lecture’s on your weakest subject) you can always take the staple student afternoon nap when you get back home.

- You won't have access to those amazing resources once you leave...
Part of university is becoming independent, going out and making the most of the cheap booze (but of course - drink sensibly guys... *ahem*). There I was, all of my spare time in first and second year going out and having a great time (and feeling horrid the next day) but the truth is I wish I made the most of the other resources and opportunities available to me. You could join a society and help run events - all of these new experiences’ handed to you on a plate (and also look great on your CV). Myself and my course mates were well-versed with the library, which stocked endless supplies of fashion mags and literature; every issue of vogue, i-D, Harper's the list goes on. Now I’ve left university, I have to budget to just a couple of fashion mag/book a month, because my money doesn't accommodate all of the lovely (especially international mags) that I loved reading, and got inspiration from in the library.
As a fashion student I also didn't make the most of my access to the vast variety of free fashion sites available to me. For example WGSN costs companies thousands of pounds each year to have access to and at my uni it was free... To put it politely - I’m kicking myself for not using it more now. So my advice - even if you give it a try just once, give everything available to you a go. It could just set you apart from other graduates applying for jobs (especially if you join a baking society – everyone loves a cake!).

- Every Penny Counts
You’re at uni so for the first time ever you don't have your parents nagging at you because you've spent your (not so) spare cash on those must have heels and drunken cheesy chips, rather than essentials like 'fruit and veg'. Some students get a part time job to help them get by, but this does take up precious study time. Without sounding like a bore, next time you go to nab those heels in the student sale, just think about the other 24 pairs you have. I wish I'd put aside just a little bit of cash for when I left uni. Times are hard and you don't know when you'll get a job, so you'll be thankful in the long run you didn't get those heels (and also saved your feet) and have the spare cash to spend on great business cards and a smart outfit for those crucial post graduate interviews.

- You don’t have to be best friends with everyone
After the first few weeks at uni, you pretty much figure out who your friends are, but this does change with time. During uni you change and develop so much as a person, go between friends you live with and course mates. It's natural that people will annoy you and you'll annoy people. You are under a lot of pressure after all. But if people move on and you loose touch with your halls’ friends or the girl you made best friends with over a jagerbomb, don’t fret. There's nothing worse than looking back at the SU pub-crawl and feeling annoyed because one person you actually didn’t like that much ruined it for you. People naturally grow out of one another - don't let little arguments or drifting friends ruin your uni experience.

- Use uni to experiment
The most brilliant thing about uni, and the one thing I miss the most is how creative you're able to be. I know it doesn't seem like it at the time, and all of us have projects we prefer over others, but really do use this time to be creative and think outside the box. Once you start working, almost everyone does start at the bottom, and you don't have the creative freedom you once had. At uni you're your own boss of your projects, you can make the craziest ideas come to life - so go for it! (And I can guarantee the more creative you are the more you'll impress tutors and get good marks!)

Uni is also a great time to discover what your style is - students are known for their eclectic fashions’ so experiment whilst you can. The creative industries are brilliant to work in, because you are allowed to express your individualism through your clothes a lot more than any other industry. However, it is still a working environment so you have to be respectable; not suitable for your clubbing hot pants... Even with tights... so get those hot pant wearing days out of your system whilst at you can at uni. 

- What you think are 'pointless' projects count in the future.
Being on a fashion course, any work that was written work was sworn off by the whole of my tutor group. We all begrudgingly got on with our 10,000 word dissertation (which isn’t even a lot compared to other courses!) and all felt it was pretty pointless as we were on a creative course. But the fact is your tutors give you this work because it WILL make a difference in your working life. Since then, obviously I haven't written anywhere near 10,000 words for work but being able to talk about my dissertation with potential employers and my work colleagues has shown me as an intelligent individual not just the 'ditsy fashion intern'.

I hope my advice helps you, even if just a little. The time you have at university is so precious and a once in a life time experience - so do make the most of both studying and the resources you have, as well as all of those brilliant student deals and nights out!

Holly x

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