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  • Writer's picturematilde tomat

ucas trip

We went with College today to the UCAS fair in Manchester.

It was my first time and part of me did not know what to expect, and the rest of me was dreading getting into a place full of students and people, all pushing and chatting and laughing and potentially shouting.

Instead, it was an incredible experience, way better than expected.

What I found extremely helpful was the narrowing and refining of what I wanted for me, for my future, and for my art to go, by talking and asking questions and noticing how the universities presented themselves and what was on offer, if they had students or tutors there, and even just the generic jest of following my gut feeling. If I am standing there and no one comes to address me but the exhibitors are still buried in their phone, that university is not for me: thank you very much and let’s move over.

I found the London ones very flashy and modern and noisy and full of offers and very alluring and definitely not for me! I asked specific questions which have not been answered and I noticed that even if interacted with students at 3rd year, the academic/intellectual propensity is not what I want. I want to go where I can find an intellectual and academic challenging and stimulating environment, more intimate and with defined and with dedicated courses, not a shopping centre with over 100 degrees on offer. I don’t want to have a university sold to me because “it’s in London, you know… parties…”. That’s not me. That’s not for me. I want a University which is more3 designed as an evolution from a School of the Arts.

So, I have interesting, very interesting conversations with:

  1. York: an amazing, beautiful, detailed, warm, deep, creative conversation with Helen Turner, who is the Subject Director at Fine Art. I felt understood, acknowledged, heard! An incredible experience and I went back at the end of the day to thank them and to let them know that I would apply

  2. Carlile: beautiful, college-type university, engaging, it reminded me a bit of UWC as an approach. Spoke to Martin Fowler, who is Senior Lecturer there.

  3. Salford: I actually spoke to Kate Adams, who is performance maker, dramaturg and a university lecturer at the university who asked for me to send my writing and she would suggest that because of my age and experience and body of work I could apply directly to the MA there; I am happy to know that someone sees my full potential! And in as much I want to go to uni because I still think that I need formal academic and practical experience, it’s good to know that I could apply directly to a 2-year MA. She gave me her email address and I will send material as kindly requested.

  4. Reading: I spoke to Florian Roithmayr Year One Coordinator and PhD supervisor and he was showing me the option of doing a BA combined in Fine Art and English Literature… or Creative Writing… that was just so nice! And Reading is not that far away and is close to London but you can get there by train very easily.

  5. Lancaster: of all the ones I liked, it’s ranking 5 now. I spoke to one of the students and I really would like to speak to a tutor. Still, facilities are still open 24/7 which is good!

All the ideas I had about London, or Dundee, or the others: nope… at least not for now.

Now I don’t know if I am more confused than ever, or not. I know that going to York and Carlile means being closer to home, cheaper, more intimate, more approachable and more tailored course. This is the type of experience I want, not just a University which churns people out.

I have spent the last hour checking train prices and youth hostel prices if I were to sleep there, and distances from train stations, to university, and to the hostels.

Loads to think about!

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