My three years at the London College of Fashion, University of the Arts are officially over and it's such a strange feeling. It's definitely bitter sweet, I don't know whether I'm happy or sad or both. Time just seems to be flying by so quickly, the last five years especially. It only seems like yesterday when I was 16 years old, doing my GCSE's and now I'm 21, I've just finished my university degree and now I'm going into the real world. It's so scary!
My time at university has been a rollercoaster of ups and downs, it's been a massive learning curve and it's an experience I'll never forget. The downs have been really difficult. It seems that each year there's been a different hurdle to get over but I've managed to get over them all, which has definitely made me realise that I'm a lot stronger than I thought I was. Looking back, the lows of each year have been testing me and preparing me for the greatest difficulty of my university experience......dissertation year.
I thought I'd been stressed, anxious, sad and depressed, before but nothing has compared to the level of all those elements combined involved in getting through my dissertation. I know everyone says it's a stressful time, but until you've actually been through it, you'll never fully realise how stressful it really is. I think I could've coped reasonably well with the normal dissertation worries and stress, but unfortunately I had a series of unfortunate university related events that occurred during my dissertation process which tripled my stress and anxiety levels to an all time high. I'm not going to go into too much detail about it all, because as they say, the past is the past.
However, as I mentioned before, I now think that all the little obstacles I overcame throughout the three years were building me up for this last year. At one point during the last term, I was at a real low and I felt that everything that was happening was so overwhelming. However, I did not give up, I picked myself back up and luckily, due to the strong and resilient person that I am and with the constant encouragement and support from my family and close friends I completed my dissertation to the best of my ability in the time given and I can only hope and pray that all my hard work has paid off.
On a lighter note, I can officially say that I have graduated from the London College of Fashion, University of the Arts with a 2:1 in Fashion Retail Management! My graduation day was such a proud day for me and my parents and I'm so happy that I've actually graduated!
Me & one of my best friends Jas!
Me & my parents <3
The ups have been amazing and the opportunities I've had and the people I've met have made the journey worthwhile. When I was deciding where to go to university I really couldn't decide between London College of Fashion and Nottingham Trent. I went to visit both universities and loved them both. Literally up until the night before I had to decide which one I was going to pick as my first choice I still couldn't decide, but I finally chose London and was accepted into the London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London, which I was SO excited about. All I would say is, if you want to pursue a career in the fashion industry, London College of Fashion is without a doubt THE place to be. There are so many more opportunities available to take full advantage of, and I've certainly done that.
Some of my highlights are listed & shown below:
I've had meetings with Sir Phillip Green.
I've worked twice backstage at London Fashion Week and London Fashion Weekend.
I've met fashion designers.
I've had master classes with some of the top people in the fashion retail industry.
I've been to networking events with some of the top fashion retail brands in the country.
I've had an amazing work placement at the River Island super-flag store.
I've presented personal ideas to Accenture director's and won the prize for the best idea.
I've made some valuable industry contacts.
I've met celebrities.
The list goes on, those are just a few experiences I've had during my time at LCF.
At the Arcadia Head Office for my meeting with Sir Phillip Green.
London Fashion Week 2013
London Fashion Weekend 2013.
London Fashion Weekend 2015.
Me with fashion designers Felder and Felder.
Me with fashion designer Katie Eary.
Me with fashion designer Joseph Turvey.
Management work placement at River Island super-flag store.
Management work placement at River Island super-flag store.
Me & my friend Rhianne with Ollie Lock from Made In Chelsea.
Me & Millie Mackintosh from Made In Chelsea.
Me & Sam Faiers from TOWIE.
Me & Billie Faiers from TOWIE.
Me & Peter Andre
Me & James Arthur
Me & Hilary Alexander
Me & my friends with Sam Faiers
I've also met some great friends throughout my time at university and I've made memories which I will cherish forever. When you first go to uni, it's a strange environment because you're thrown together with hundreds of others and you're all from different countries or parts of the UK, different areas, upbringings, cultures, schools, backgrounds, norms, and it's the weirdest thing. It takes you a few weeks to settle in and get to know each other. I think that process was made slightly easier with my course because there was only about 30 of us to begin with, whereas I know on some courses there can be hundreds. The smaller numbers definitely helped us all to get to know each other more quickly and within the first few weeks I slipped into a friendship group with some girls who were living at my halls so it was really nice because I had people to travel to and from uni with, which in the first few weeks was really comforting whilst I was still getting used to travelling in London. Two of these girls I also lived with in my second year. The three of us lived together in a penthouse apartment in South London which we LOVED! It was a gorgeous apartment, with views of the River Thames and we had a balcony which we took full advantage of when the sun was out.
Me & my uni friends on the last day of first year!
Our penthouse apartment balcony view in second year!
Me and my uni friends on my 21st birthday going out to celebrate at Café de Paris!
Champagne celebrations at graduation!
Me & Jas at our graduation <3
Overall, I'd say university as a whole has been a fantastic experience. It's all happened SO quickly, I can't quite believe it's really over, as I said at the beginning it's bittersweet. I'm definitely happy to have finished my dissertation work and have completed my degree, but I'm also sad that this journey and part of my life is over. Along with the fact that I have now been in full-time education for 19 years, and that's finally over. It definitely feels strange to be no longer a student and soon to be in the working world.
All my family and friends have been asking me constantly "what are you going to do now you've finished uni?", which I'm sure everyone gets from their family and friends. The truth is, I don't really know what I want to do. I've had this conversation with a few of my friends and I've said with people who have done degrees to be a doctor or a dentist or a vet, once their degree is over, they know exactly what they're going to do when they finish, but with my degree, there's so many areas you could go into, I don't really know exactly what I want to do. The thoughts I've had are that after 19 years in full-time education, I wanted to have this summer to just relax and enjoy before I start working, as once you're in a job, you'll never get the student 4 month summer back. So for now, that's my plan, and then once summer's over, i'll start looking for jobs, unless a great opportunity comes up before hand and then I might have to re-evaluate my plans.
I've already started off my summer well though, with a last minute holiday to Turkey for two weeks with my mum, which was exactly what I needed after my dissertation stress. I went 4 days after I handed in my dissertation and it was such a lovely, sunny, relaxing holiday filled with great memories with life long friends. Then I came home for 3 weeks, and then jetted off to a different part of Turkey for another 2 weeks, which was great! I might do a post on these holidays to Turkey, so watch out for that!
So let's see what the rest of the summer brings.......
Thanks for reading this post!
Laura Jade Jackson