savvy styling by Annie Probert

Monday, August 21, 2017

PEACHY KEEN: THE 5 TRUTHS ABOUT STUDYING FASHION AT UNI


This is a bit of a weird one for me. I'm usually not about that deep talk blog post life but after finishing uni I feel like there's a few things I wish I'd known beforehand that may help anyone who's aspiring to study fashion. 


1. CHECK YOURSELF BEFORE YOU WRECK YOURSELF


I had one of the worst experiences starting off uni life. I knew I wanted to go to uni from day one. Which some may think was a wise move, but I ignored all of the warning signs that my family and friends gave me. Throughout my high school years, I wasn't creative. At least not in your stereotypical sketching, doodling and enjoying all the standard curriculum form of art way. I studied double english (not even your combined course, I legit studied Lang and Lit separately - I'm a weirdo, I know) and Psychology at A-Level, with the plans to become an Educational Psychologist - If you know me well this is actually hilarious because I cannot stand maths and to embark upon this career path, you spend 90% of your time analysing research methods: rigorous tests and mathematical data - the horrendous qualitative/quantitative kind. If your head hurts you aren't alone. But aaaaanyway, I ignored all of my family who urged me to go into fashion and promptly enrolled into Northampton after gaining my results to study Developmental and Educational Psychology. 

I moved into halls and studied my first set of exams and honestly tried my best to fit into "uni life" but I very quickly realised it wasn't for me and left Northampton behind. Unsure of what to do, I picked up some more hours at my part-time job at River Island and started to think of fashion as a serious career prospect. However, what I didn't know was that once you've started a degree you are only eligible to receive 4 years of student loan - so you guessed it, I had to make another quick decision to study yet another degree within the same year but this time in fashion

So my advice to you surrounding my first truth is to take some time before you jump onto the uni bandwagon. I rushed into going straight away and within a year almost all of my friends had either dropped out, deferred or failed. Maybe you didn't get the results you wanted or you've chosen a degree subject that you're good at rather than you'll enjoy. I would strongly recommend really thinking about a job that you are going to enjoy for the rest of your life not just a career that's going to land you in the higher tax bracket. 






2. DO YOUR RESEARCH

One thing I regret about studying fashion is that I didn't properly look into my course. Thankfully, I made the most out of it (I'll explain later) but if you're serious about studying fashion, in my opinion the best place to do that is either Manchester or London. These days getting a degree is only half of the battle. You'll be expected to gain some interning or work experience regardless of whether you opt for the placement year course - which by the way I would HUGELY recommend. And so, studying in places where Head Offices are available in abundance is definitely a huge plus on your opportunity chart.
I decided to live at home, I was so put off by my experiences at Northampton that I took the easy route and chose a degree where I already knew several people who were studying it and had all of my home comforts surrounding me. I tried to convince myself that it was because I was saving money but it was definitely because I was too scared to leave home and face the fact that I might want to quit uni all over again. Please, do not make this mistake - you always have the option to leave. At least you can say you gave the scarier option a go! I don't regret trying out Northampton but I do regret not looking into the courses that were available further afield. 

I studied Fashion, Business and Promotion at Birmingham City University. When I enrolled, I was adamant that I would become a buyer. After starting second year, I immediately understood that I would never, ever ever ever ever become a buyer for the entirety of existence! Which is why for my second truth, I recommend studying a diverse fashion degree that enables you to study a range of modules and allows you to enter a range of career paths - you might find a career that you didn't even know existed is perfect for you!






3. GET INTERNING HUN

Like I said, I made the most of my course - the best decision I made was to start interning. The sooner you do this, the better. I began in the summer of my first year of uni, freelancing for an online retailer called Amour London. It wasn't a huge role by any means but it got my foot in the door and helped me gain further internships down the line and also helped to build my professional network. Within my second year I gained another two internships, the most important being Claire's Accessories. I have always been obsessed with social media, whether it was having the most love on Bebo, the best profile song on MySpace or the cleanest feed on Instagram - I'll admit that being online is a formidable habit of mine. I decided that I would look at getting into a career in that incorporated all my favourite things: fashion, social media and bloggers. I fell in love with PR & Marketing and quickly looked for internships that helped me to gain experience in this field. Living in Birmingham isn't as easy to find a career in fashion as you might think but the shop I'd only ever associated with pink plastic beads and Halloween costumes opened up a whole array of opportunities for me and my three week placement at Claire's quickly turned into 10 months in the PR department and if it weren't for my dissertation I would have stayed there even longer. Going back to my earlier point, choosing to study with a placement year is by far the best thing you could do for your future career prospects. I had to juggle studying full-time, working part-time and interning one full day a week at Claire's to gain the experience that I did. I was broke, tired and struggling with uni work but you do what you gotta do for the things you love and I had the most amazing experiences at Claire's which helped me get the job I have now so soon after graduating.






4. IT'S NOT WHAT YOU KNOW, IT'S WHO YOU KNOW

I'm sure you've heard people say this before and I never truly understood how true it was until I started my third year of uni. Studying fashion or art always seems like the easy course when you're younger but having come from a traditionally academic background I can tell you now, I'd take exams over an InDesign presented magazine style dissertation any day. ANYONE who saw me during my Final Major Project will vouch that it was hell. I literally didn't leave my room for 9 days at one point. And I don't think I would have passed it if I didn't take advantage of every person I knew within industry. From bloggers (shout out to Chelcie Moore) to friend's boyfs who are photographers/brand developers (shoutout to Charl and Noel) you will literally need the help of an army of people who have even dipped their big toe in the abyss that is the fashion industry - so play nice because you never know when you're going to need someone's help. 

FYI, You may not even need a degree - there are plenty of successful people within my sector who haven't completed a degree but are absolutely killin' it. If you're unsure on whether uni is for you, take a look at work experience opportunities and always take advantage of the people you know! There are plenty of places like New Look that offer work experience without the need for a degree and can help you to meet influential people that might just steer you in the right direction for a career you'd only dreamed of.




5. CHANGE, CHANGE AND CHANGE AGAIN

Whether it's the fact you're more of an 8-10 than a 6-8 by the end of year three, you've lost some friends along the way or gained a whole load of new ones. Studying any degree not just fashion will completely change you. I never thought I'd be sat here blogging my experiences or even have the confidence to post some of these photos. I changed a lot over the three years and love all the changes that took place. If I had the opportunity to go back and start again I would change the fact that I worked the whole way through my degree. Anyone who studied with me will agree that frequently working 39hours and a full-time degree was not one of my best ideas. I missed A LOT of lectures (shoutout to Meg for being my personal tutor) and my degree definitely reflected that - Don't get me wrong I was over the moon with my 2:1 but I know if I'd dedicated my time entirely to my degree I would have been able to achieve a first, but as always, hindsight is a wonderful thing. 





DISCLAIMER

Please note, these are my own personal views and experiences. They're things I'd wish I'd been told before I started uni, the things that they don't teach you when you fill out your personal statement on the UCAS form. If you're studying fashion and you agree I'd love to know your experiences or if this has helped you in any way to gain some insight into what uni might be like, I'd love to hear from you! 

I hope you like the post and the look! 

OUTFIT DETAILS;

Split Hem Trousers - Missguided £15
Floral Mesh Bodysuit - Topshop £20
Nude Block Heel Sandals - Topshop £45


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