July 8, 2020

Hello there! My name is Athena and I’m a Creative Writing Masters student at Cardiff Metropolitan University. Coming all the way from Cyprus to study in Cardiff was of course, terrifying but I can honestly say that these last four years have been the best years of my life!

Growing up I always had an artistic bone, drawing and writing, yet for most of my high school career I wanted to be a lawyer. Perhaps because my whole life I was told to choose a ‘practical’ career path. It wasn’t long before I realised that I, for one, can’t argue without crying and that I had more of a creative inclination. Luckily, I was encouraged by my one of my teachers to pursue media and with it, I discovered the joint degree of BA (Hons) Creative Writing and Media at Cardiff Met.

On the first day of classes we were given a quote by Kurt Vonnegut who said; ‘Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.’ That was the beginning.

I ended up getting a placement at the Cardiff Met’s Student Union where I wrote many film and book reviews. I even got published three times in a row in the annual Cardiff Metropolitan anthology produced every year by 3rd year Creative Writing students. Getting to meet editors, best-selling authors and Sky productions people was also a big bonus. I certainly wouldn’t have been able to get these opportunities if it weren’t for studying at Cardiff Met. My degree strengthened my will to archive my dream goal which is to become a published author one day (fingers crossed). When I learned that a master’s degree in Creative Writing offered a further dive into the publishing industry and writing itself, I wanted to sign up immediately.

I never thought I would master the courage to stand up in front of a crowd to perform my work. After performing once at the Anthology launch, I never stopped.

I didn’t think I could love my MA degree more than I did my BA, but I did! The modules delved further into the art of writing, my favourite module being ‘Juvenile Trash’ which is all about rethinking genre fiction. Getting to talk and analyse one of my favourite books/shows, The Handmaid’s Tale, was an amazing experience.

Also, since the Creative Writing department at Cardiff Met has a lot of connections within the publishing industry, I was able to utilise lots of job opportunities. Through a referral from one of my lecturers, Dan Anthony, I was able to secure an internship position at Firefly Press, an independent publishing house based at Cyncoed Campus. Internship positions are usually open all time round and I got to interact with other authors, especially on social media, which then prompted me to expand my online platform.

Getting to work at Firefly Press was the best work experience I’ve had. Most of the time it didn’t even seem like work because I was surrounded by what I love most; books.

My master’s degree coming to an end makes me quite melancholic as I venture out into the world. But I will be leaving knowing I’ve gained so much knowledge regarding the industries I want to go into. For anyone thinking of studying for a creative writing master’s degree I would highly recommend it as it pushes you to a develop a higher understand of the craft and offers you great opportunities.