With deadlines looming for all third year uni students, this third and final term is vital. And I know from experience that it can sometimes feel like an impossibility that you will ever finish in time! But I'm here to reassure you, as now a fashion graduate, that you can AND will survive the work & that you will celebrate harder than ever before when it is done. So here are my 8 Do's & 8 Don'ts for a fail safe third year...
1. Schedule sleep & eat well
One of the biggest mistakes in third year is taking these two things for granted. We have all done it! Make sure you schedule a time AND STICK TO IT for these important things. You may only be getting 6hrs sleep per night, but that is better than a week of all nighters & one ready meal per day!
2. When all Feels Lost, Phone Home
When all gets too much, take some time to catch up with family members or friends. They'll lift your spirits & maybe offer some words of wisdom too.
3. Make a List, And a Sub List, And Another List
I had a list of deadlines (final collection, sketchbook, portfolio & dissertation), then a detailed list of each aspect needing completion for my final collection & sketchbook, then a sublist of what I needed to achieve each day & then a general jobs list! And boy it felt good to do all those ticks at the end of the day.
4. Visualise Your Work, Don't Hide It
My main work space was in my bedroom & I would always keep either images inspiring my collection, design development or fabric samples blue tacked all over my wall, so if ever I lost focused, all I would have to do was look up & refresh my memory.
5. Breathe Fresh Air
Make a point to have the window open during nice weather to stop you getting drowsy & make a concious effort to leave the house a couple of times a week - even if it is for uni or to pop to the shops, the break does you good!
6. Reward Your Good Behaviour
You've been working hard, treat yourself to that new dress or that naughty dessert or that glass of wine... Even book a holiday to look forward to, so you know that after all the hard work, comes relaxation & sun.
7. If Last Year Survived, SO CAN YOU!
I am living proof of this!
8. If Someone Offers Help, Take It
In the last couple of weeks I had my assistants (we had assigned lower years to help with our collection) offering to help where they could & some amazing friends helping late into the night the night before - without all their help, my collection wouldn't have been the same. (Thank you if you're reading!!!). So if someone offers, let them help! I insisted no one had to stay longer than they could & even ordered in Pizza for the late night - so as long as your not a bossy boots, they really won't mind.
1. Ditch the Hangovers & Welcome the Pizza Parties
Comfort food + face masks + Netflix + Work = Perfection.
2. Don't Punish Yourself
It's natural to be your own biggest critic but don't beat yourself up for days if something hasn't gone to plan- you're only human.
3. Don't Cripple Yourself for Expensive Fabric
Art courses are some of the most expensive to be on! When I first budgeted my collection & found it would cost £1,500, I was like HELL NO! So at every stage I would research cheaper alternatives, check free samples for quality control & draw up my patterns so I knew exactly how much fabric I needed so not to buy to much & I think my final budget was around £800 - still a lot, but much better. Remember, its the make & design that is important, it's only your graduate collection & those pieces won't immediately be put up for sale in Harrods - so you do not need £90/meter silk, because it is the most luxurious London has to offer, remember you have a future to budget for after uni!
4. Don't Bottle It Up
If you feel like crying/screaming/throwing a tantrum - do. Either on your own or with a shoulder to cry on, you feel much better once it's out.
5. Don't be Disheartened by Criticism
Once again with art subjects, your judged by opinion, rather than a straight up correct/incorrect mark in an exam. Your tutors are there to help with constructive criticism, to help develop your ideas. Sometimes their words can seem harsh, especially when your work is so personal, but it is only their opinion. Try to use it to develop your ideas & bounce back from, even if it's just to show them what you're made of!
6. Don't be Pressured to Work How Others Want You To
We were always told to work in the studio, but I find it so difficult to design with others watching, so I worked from home as I got SO much more achieved. I would then go in once a week or at weekends to catch up with my piers & make the most of the resources available to me. Find out what works for you & stick to it.
7. Don't be Complacent
If you think you can finish in the last month & go out partying half the term, or are ahead & then become slack, it will all become too much towards the end, so never get to comfy until you've completely finished.
8. Just Like a Long Distance Race, Pace Yourself
Don't work yourself sick at the beginning to be too tired to do anything towards the end, pace yourself, like a long distance race & then towards the end, if you need to sprint a little, at least you have the energy to do so!
And as the Final 2 Weeks Loomed...
My last bit of advice comes in the form of my timetable! Firstly allow some time to evaluate where you are in terms of the deadline, outline the critical things to finish & the less important things you'd like to also get done. Outline a realistic time schedule - too optimistic & you'll become disheartened if you fail to reach goals. Then timetable what you have to do each day to meet the deadlines - if you complete that days work, then go onto the next to keep ahead. I then planned my days around my meals & sleep, to keep my energy levels stable. So here was my general timetable in the weeks leading to my final deadlines...
6am Wake up, breakfast & TV. 7am Work. 11am Coffee break & snack. 11:15am Work. 1:30pm Lunch & TV. 2pm Work. 4pm Drink & snack. 4:15pm Work. 6pm Dinner & TV. 11pm Shower & bed.
I won't lie, it was hard work & not having the time for the gym or socialising was especially hard, however these long days, with enough sleep & food, helped to prevent me from needing to pull an all-nighter & even let me had 2 hours sleep before my hand in morning!
And Just keep in mind, that REALLY long summer ahead of you!