This blog post is a collaboration between Megan Vickers and Kalina Nikolova (she/her) who also studies graphic design at the University of Bolton.
The first year is the most important one of all... By Kalina Nikolova
From my experience, some students, like myself, who haven’t studied Arts at all before have the opportunity to learn the basic skills they will need. In the beginning, no one knows each other, so it’s easier to make new friends. For the first time in my life, I actually had to go to people and introduce myself, which in the end is not that scary because you meet your best friends. And yes at first it is weird for all of you, but then you get to know each other better and is the best feeling ever.
What I love about this course is that we don’t have to follow the traditional way (school and books), in order to get educated. During the first week we were urged not only to use books and magazines but also to use apps like Pinterest and other social media platforms for inspiration and as a way to communicate with other designers and present our work. I was impressed by the diversity of educational tools. The first year taught me that it's ok to have different interests from the rest, in fact, it is a good thing to be in an environment with so many different people, this way you inspire each other.
Kalina's Top Tips: -don’t be scared to make new friends -be kind to all (you spend all day together anyways) -embrace your unique qualities -it's ok to ask a question if you don’t understand something -hard work always repays
My First Year of University By Megan Vickers
My first of university was quite an enjoyable one but first a bit of a backstory about me: I am quite shy and reserved and will often do most of my communication online. This transferred throughout my first year. I spent it with my head down working hard and not really making friends. The crazy thing was I actually spoke to my classmates more when we went home due to COVID-19 than when I was actually in the classroom. This would probably be one thing I regret.
Throughout the first year, we did many things, we went to Design Manchester, went to Tate Liverpool, went to the Men of Letters exhibition, and worked with People Activation on a brief. I learned quite a lot of things: a new program, new ways of thinking, and in myself. The course itself is nicely paced allowing designers to go beyond the brief as well as catch up on work if needed. It is very well balanced for all levels. If there was any advice I would give to future first years is to go have fun, jump into the course, make friends, and be social, don’t just stick to the brief once you have accomplished that go and do more than the brief and take full advantage of the facilities and what the university has to offer - you’re paying for it anyway!