February 26, 2019


You may never have been told this, but holding your hand up and saying “this isn’t working for me” after you’ve done your best to make something work is perfectly okay.

Nearly a year ago I was at a different university, and things weren’t working out. On paper and after a few Open Day visits the Product Design course at Loughborough University looked like my ideal next step.

But after spending nearly three years there doing everything I could to make it work, I realised I couldn’t keep forcing it. I’d love to tell you there was some big dramatic reason for me leaving but there wasn’t – it just wasn’t right for me.

My experience of Product Design at Cardiff Met has been very different.

Trying to make everyone believe I was fine and that nothing was wrong was not doing anyone any good. I decided it was time to put myself and my mental health first.  

After leaving Loughborough and moving back home I wasn’t sure I wanted to go back to university at all. Luckily there was a great Product Design course on my doorstep at Cardiff Met, and I felt that I couldn’t waste the opportunity of trying to transfer.

I contacted the admissions office, and they informed me that all I needed to do was send over my grades from Loughborough. Within a day or two I was told that I had a place, and that I could go straight into year two.

Everything was made so easy for me. There were a few more formalities that had to be sorted such as a UCAS form and a visit to the campus, but I was supported by Cardiff Met staff at every step of the way. All my questions were answered within minutes by the admissions department, and arranging dyslexia tests and mentoring from students’ services was straightforward.

My first day at CSAD is one I won’t be forgetting for a long time. One thing you should know about the Product Design course is that it is one massive community where everyone is happy to give you a hand, from first years to Masters students. I walked in that day feeling very much like the new kid, and within about an hour I felt like part of the family.

Harriet at a Mac
In my natural habitat!

I have spent the last few months learning a huge amount. We have done live projects with companies that have pushed my skills as a designer and a teammate, electronics projects that have shown me how far I can push my capabilities, and field projects where I continue to learn the skills to be a better designer from sketching to CAD to digital design.

The best bit about it all is how supportive my tutors have been – they answer all the questions I have and push me to do better every time. I have gone from just about scraping through to loving my course and achieving high grades. I’ve even been told there is an iMac on the second floor that should be named after me because I’m there working at it so often!

Transferring for whatever reason can be daunting, but trust me when I say it may be the best decision you ever make – it was for me.

Read more blog posts from Cardiff School of Art and Design students