One year post university

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As many of you are currently finishing your final major projects and dissertations I thought I’d reflect on my uni experience and where I thought I’d be one year post university / where I actually am.

I started uni in 2013 and studied at the University of the Arts London: London College of Fashion. A university I have always wanted to go to and the only uni I applied to. Although all my teachers at sixth form advised me to apply to others I knew I wanted to go to LCF and LCF only. I chose to do Foundation: Fashion Design and Marketing (1 year) and BA (Hons) Fashion Design and Marketing (2 year), a combined course that suited me perfectly as I love design and making but also love the business and marketing strategy side of things.

The day of my interview, to this day, was the most nerve racking day of my life! I knew I had to get onto this course. Which luckily, I did! Now knowing literally thousands of people applied to that course and only around 35 of us got on makes it even more crazy that I got accepted.

My first day of uni was scary too, I’d met (my now best friend) Kate the week before starting as we both followed the uni Facebook page and decide to meet up after realising we were on the same course and enrolled together. I was happy I knew one person that first day.

I had this stereotype in my head that fashion uni was going to be super bitchy and stuck up but our course wasn’t at all like that. Everyone was lovely and always helping each other out, whether that be with sewing, pattern cutting, marketing or the dreaded Harvard referencing. I’m still really close friends with many of the people on my course (you know who you are) and love seeing where everyones lives are taking them.

LCF opened many doors for me and did teach me a lot but, if you’re thinking of going to the London College of Fashion don’t expect the ‘university experience’, I and most of my friends would describe it more like work than uni. I’d see lots of my friends at other universities having parties in halls and getting smashed at the student union, LCF wasn’t like that for us. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone buy a drink at the SU, everyone was always busy working and designing! Our sewing rooms literally looked like sweat shops but I was totally fine with that because I loved being there! It was a lot of work with very little play but totally worth it.

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I won’t bore you with the ins and outs of first and second year because they were tough but third year was incredibly stressful. I wanted to do my best and worked so so hard on my dissertation. I was living in Camden at the time, me and my house mate Katie would spend every day working, tea break, working, tea break for days on end! I think most days we started at 9am and finished around midnight trying to perfect every inch of our dissertations. I don’t know how many breakdowns and tears and panics we had through those few final dissertation months but my goodness I’m glad we had each other for that!

I decided to do my dissertation on, I shall tell you my very long winded title:

AN INVESTIGATION EXPLORING HOW FEMALE AIRHOSTESS UNIFORMS ARE VIEWED AND PERCEIVED BY CONSUMERS, AGAINST THE AIRHOSTESSES CONFIDENCE, SATISFACTION, AND REPRESENTATION. FOCUSING ON THE AIRLINE VIRGIN WITH THE OUTCOME OF A PROPOSED UNIFORM BASED UPON THE RESEARCH CONDUCTED.

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I was lucky enough to be able to go to the Virgin head quarters quarters and speak to their air hostesses and the lady in charge of uniform about my dissertation and receive feedback from my designs and final garments from them. This helped my dissertation so so much and I am ever grateful for my auntie (who works at Virgin HQ) for getting me such great contacts and information! Amazingly, after months on end of working on my dissertation every single day, I pulled it out the bag and received a First and graduated with a High 2:1.

Massive thank you to everyone who put up with me through that last final months!

I loved uni and although it wasn’t the stereotypical uni experience I wouldn’t change it for the world. I met so many amazing people who are doing amazing things with their lives and I’m so happy to be able to call them my friends. LCF also allowed me to gain confidence in myself and connect me with so many great contacts and people I’ve been able to work with throughout and post uni.

Now, to where I thought I’d be after uni versus where I am now. I’d always had a plan up until uni finished, I knew what I wanted to study at GCSE, A Levels and knew where and what I wanted to do at uni. All those plans have now happened so I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do next! I love design and styling, working on shoots,  making garments and social media but I also knew I didn’t really want to get stuck in a 9-5 job I hated. My friends all got jobs soon after uni and I always have a big hats off to them for going straight into the daily grind! But I knew I wasn’t cut out for that, I couldn’t sit at a desk all day, I needed to be moving and having projects and side projects of all sorts.

After my tenancy ended from my Camden house I moved back home to Sussex. This was early September time, I quit my part time job in Westfield and although I still had another job working in Soho the hours were very minimal. By the end of September last year I still had no clue what I wanted to do. Living at home meant I had very little expenses which was good but not working also meant I didn’t have much money to do anything. I applied for so many jobs but none of them I was actually interested in.

By October time, I hadn’t got a full time job and was doing odd shifts at my workplace in London. I was then asked if I wanted to go full time which I said yes to. Although not my career path, it would earn me good money. I’m still working at the same place, but I decided to take my hours down to 4 days a week. This allows me to work on side projects with things I’m really passionate about whilst also earning decent money. The place I work is full of creatives and we all support each other with our work-outside-of-work. It’s a cool environment to be in where the people you’re around love what they do themselves and everyone else is doing.

Many times throughout this past year I’ve thought ‘why don’t I just get a full time job like all my friends’ and really doubted myself and my abilities but I just feel I’m destined for that freelance float about for a bit life. I don’t want to get into the daily grind just yet. Although living at home has it downfalls it also has the perks of not stressing about extortionate bills and London rent (I do pay my parents rent but no where near as much as central London prices) and also allows me to take time to decide what I want to do as I have a support family that think what I currently do it great anyway!

Throughout this whole post uni year I’ve got to shout out to two of my best friends Kate and Laurie. Kate went straight into a full time job and totally killed it, working for ASOS and always being such babe whenever I would say ‘god I should get a real job like you’ and telling me that was I do works for me and everyone is different. So Kate, you’re the best and thanks for everything!

Laurie is also super supportive in the fact that we’re in a similar boat, we don’t want to work in an office but also feel the stress and pressure that we should. We both freelance and have different projects happening and it’s lovely to have someone who also feels the same as you when it comes to that ‘omg what I am doing with my life I’m living at home and don’t know what I want to do just yet, can I just coast for a little?’ feeling! Same for you Laurie, thank you for everything!

Which brings me to this, one year post university I don’t really know where I thought I’d be but I’m pretty damn happy where I am right now! I work enough but not too much, I have so many fun side projects to help build my portfolio and earn extra money and I also have enough time to do the fun things in life.

I guess the meaning of this very long winded blog post (if you’ve got this far thank you for reading) is that don’t feel you need go straight into work, don’t get stuck in a job you hate. If you have the chance to take time to decide what you want to do before coming a ‘real adult’ then take that time!

I hope this has given a nice and realistic insight into studying at LCF as I get asked about it a lot and also about what life is like post uni and how everyone has different paths. So many of my friends are doing such different things and it’s great to see!  If you’d like me to do a post about LCF in more detail do let me know!

thank you for reading!

Paige x

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