I’m writing this to you, my 2015 self, at the end of my three years studying Product Design at Cardiff Met.
University is going to be amazing. The things you’ll learn, the people you’ll meet and the experiences you’re going to have will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
It’s not only your academic standards that’ll improve. You’ll also develop a professional mindset and an ever-growing independence to work on the things that are best suited to you and those around you.
The people who you’ll work with, both within and outside your course, will become lifelong friends. The support you give one another to get through the hard times during university life will make you into the best people you can be.
Never be put off by trying new experiences and taking on difficult challenges. Sign up for all sorts of opportunities, work through them and you never know where they could lead you. In fact, during second year you’ll even develop your own start-up business that makes it to the final stages of ‘Big Ideas Wales’, where it’ll be nominated for two awards.
Being in a new city will be daunting at first, but as time goes by you’ll learn all the shortcuts to your favourite places, and you’ll always greeted by familiar faces that live and work in them.
Now I know what you’re wondering – how good are the parties? Well, over the three years you’ll spend at uni, going from the flat in halls to a shared house with 5 others, there will be some GREAT parties. This will include those completely spontaneous nights that ended up being great, as well as those that will be planned down to the tiniest detail – like what fancy dress outfit you’re going to wear (trust me, Where’s Wally costumes are the best).
This is where the seemingly scary financial stuff starts to worry you, leaving you thinking ‘how am I going to afford everything’?
Well, as time goes on you’ll learn all about new ways to cook on the cheap, and what places do the best deals. It’s true that you’ll become pretty reliant on pasta and noodles, but it won’t be a problem – you’ll develop more ways to add a bit of variety to these dishes with practice.
Over time as you become more comfortable with your new house/flatmates, special occasions like Christmas and Easter will become a lot more of a collective thing. You’ll all pitch in to buy the food for Christmas dinner and really enjoy these times together without worrying about the financial side of things.
What about leaving all your friends back home? With Cardiff being such an interconnected city, getting to most places round the UK will be easy. Being able to go and visit other people, either back at home or at other unis, turns out to be quite the adventure. You’ll get to see lots of new places and be part of new things that you wouldn’t have thought of before coming here.
Of course, it’s not all going to be about nights out and the amount of pasta you’ll eat. It’s about enjoying the course that you’ll be doing. As the years progress, the workload will get tougher to handle. But at the same time, you will become more knowledgeable and experienced with every term, learning new and interesting things about your chosen subject that will help you to become the best designer possible.
Coming up to big deadlines will always be a struggle, and making sure you’ve done everything you can to get the best grade possible won’t always be easy. As time goes by you’ll learn what it means to organise your time properly, and how to prioritize the right tasks to get the most important work done first.
There will be times when you feel the workload is too hard and your stress levels will reach a point that will drive you mad; but with the help of those around you and the great support you’ll get from your lecturers and tutors, you’ll push through it.
Best of luck Tom – you’re going to surprise yourself with what you can achieve!
Read more of our Freshers’ Guides or check out some highlights from the Cardiff School of Art & Design Summer Degree Show 2018 below: