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five tips #3: Starting college

Starting college is never an easy thing. I started sixth form when I left school. I took on four subjects; Sociology, Psychology, Photography and Art. It all became too much and cutting a long story short, I decided to drop out around 5-6 months into it; April 2010. Photography has always been something I've had a strong passion for so I decided to re-apply for college to start later that year; September 2010. This meant that the people in my year and the same age as me were a year in front of me.

Starting college was as expected. I was stupidly nervous and felt sick all week before I was due to start. I am far from being a confident person (I wish I was). I am incredibly shy and I knew starting at a place where I knew nobody would be quite hard for me. 

The first week:
The first day involved introducing myself to everybody in an incredibly awkward circle and then collecting my timetable stating the days I would need to be in for the rest of the year. That's all I remember doing so not bad for a first day, huh? The second day was the most nerve-racking. We were introduced to the second years (they were the same age as me!) and had to play a game of 'speed dating'. This involved us first years sitting on a chair and every second year sitting in front of us for a quick one minute chat. What's your name? What  music do you like? Why have you chosen to study Photography? What do you hope to get out of it?
I absolutely hated every second of it but looking back at it now, it was a great way to find people that I had things in common with.

1) Be yourself:
There is nothing worse than someone who tries too hard to fit in with a certain group of people. You should be proud of who you are and what you've grown up to be. It's often very obvious when someone is trying to be like someone else so just avoid doing that. People will accept you for you and if they don't.. well, they're not worth it.

2) Dress how you normally would:
This is similarly linked to point 1. Fashion is a way of expressing yourself. You should never worry what people are going to think. Just wear whatever you want and be confident. It sounds harder than what it is, but walking in on your first day dressed how you would normally dress will make people think you're somewhat 'brave' and original. My fashion sense is constantly changing. Of course you will look back at some of the things you decided to wear and cringe; everyone does that! I think on my first day I wore a denim mini skirt and maroon tights... YES, MAROON TIGHTS! However, at the end of the day, I was just being me.

3) Be polite, smile & ask questions:
Being polite doesn't need instructions. I am self-diagnosed with chronic bitchface so I'm not smiley smiley every single second of every single minute of every single hour for the whole day. I don't think anyone is? However, I smile at people often and I think that's all that matters. When engaging in conversation with someone, ask lots of questions! This is a great way of finding out things about people and creating friendships that will last you throughout college or even longer!

4) Be ready for rejection, competition and bitchy fallouts:
I'm the worst person to come to for 'friendship advice'. I have never kept a solid group of friends for various reasons. For the first few months of college, I had quite a wide group of 'friends' (or let's just call them people I hung out with?). However, after months of getting to know people, personalities shine and true colours start to come through. I saw people for who they really were and people saw me as possibly, boring? Now I've finished college, I wouldn't say I made one good friend out of the whole experience. Of course there are people I spoke to, but it was nothing more. I don't know about competition in other subjects, but in any creative subject, people are always in the game of 'competition'. I kept my head down and got on with my work and it's paid off as I got top marks. Don't get me wrong though! Making friends is great, but it wasn't that important to me.

5) Do more than what you're asked of:
I don't know if this will come across as 'geeky' to some people but what the hell. Every brief that was issued to me at college was always completed and handed in either on the deadline or a week before it was due. I always researched into more than what the brief asked me to and I always did 3/4 test shoots before the final photoshoot. See your work as a journey. It's fun to look back on stuff from start to finish and see how things progressed. There was also a few opportunities throughout my two years that I was personally asked to carry out. Not only was this an absolute pleasure, but it was a great way for me getting recognition in other parts of the college and to people outside of college.

I now have to take my own advice as I am starting University in September. I'm super nervous but really excited! I hope this has helped!


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This is a scheduled post as I am currently on holiday until the 1st August. Thank you for any comments. I will reply to everything, including my emails when I am back. Until then! ^_^ A x

5 comments

  1. urg, I sucked at making friends, i forgot to ask questions, and when people asked me questions, I gave yes/no/mmm answers so conversations went no where!! It sucked.

    i think its important to remember everyone is in the same boat.

    great advice!!!

    chloex

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  2. A really helpful post, I'm starting college in september this year and kinda nervous and excited at the same time, I'm doing a fashion course! xx
    Dreams and Dresses

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  3. Great advice, I started sixth form last September on A Levels and it really is hard going, there were times I wanted to bail! I've always been horrendous at making friends as I'm horribly shy - this post is just exactly what newbies need to know :-)

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  4. Good luck at uni. Just follow your own advice and it will all be ok :) x

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  5. Great advice - I decided to restart my a levels this september at college due to growing out of school and not being able concentrate anymore. Im slightly worried as i don't know anyone who is going & all my friends will be at school doing the second year. Your advice is so helpful and it's such a nice post idea as a lot of people are in this position!

    Good luck at uni! :)

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