Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Hopes, Fears and Opportunities Part 1

Hopes, Fears and Opportunities Part 1

I have many hopes and fears in my life; some are bigger, bolder and brasher than others. I fear graduating and still not knowing how to work the tumble dryer (I’ve mastered the washing machine at least!) I hope I will still be fully functional after all the deadlines I will have had to meet come July and I will then, finally, get the opportunity to sleep… for a short while at least. University work itself brings a fresh wave of these hope, fears and opportunities.

When I first embarked on my journey through my illustration degree I wanted to graduate with a first class honours degree, I hoped that I was going to be good enough to achieve that. But this year has taught me more than anything, that a first class honours degree doesn’t mean anything if I don’t have fun. All I can do is my best, if I can truly say, hand on heart that I worked my socks off, to my hardest and fullest potential; surely no-one can ask any more of me than that? …not even myself.

I fear that graduating without a first class honours degree I won’t be able to forgive myself for not working my hardest or to my fullest potential and thinking with hindsight, could I have worked that bit harder? Could I have stayed up that bit later? Therefore, I need to make the most of this opportunity before it’s too late, to knuckle down and be relentless, to give my all to this course and to truly say I did my best. After all, what is the point of all this labour if I’m not going to commit 100%? If that’s going to be the case I may as well just resign now...

I hope that one day I will illustrate a children’s book and it will be on display for all to see, to impact somehow on a child’s learning. I fear that I won’t live up to my own expectations; I need to make opportunities so that I can fulfil these hopes.

At the beginning of this semester I filled out a sheet based on my hopes, fears, opportunities and aims. My hopes were to produce more work, last year I produced very little and as a result I now don’t have as much portfolio pieces as I’d like. I wanted to secure a first class honours degree, a PGCE place at Sheffield Hallam University and to win the Uganda competition brief. To make these hopes a reality I had to put in place a structure that would help me to realise them. My first hope, producing more work was relatively simple, I would get my head down and start producing work, if it wasn’t appropriate for the brief that was fine, it’s a learning curve and needs documenting to show my progress. If it helped, I would produce a timetable so I could see what I should be doing each day in order to make the most of my limited time. Last year I was too involved in the finished outcome rather than letting my mind and brush wander to places it could have. My first class honours degree will come if I keep being relentless and putting the hours in. But focusing on the mark or grade will not do any good, I just need to know that I have done my best and done all I can to ensure that it is my best and a development on the previous project. I have sent my GTTR application with Sheffield Hallam as my preferred choice for a primary school position. I spent as long as I could on my personal statement, editing, and the outcome of that will be seen shortly. I will prepare for interview anyway in a hope of securing a place.

My fears were that I won’t be able to cope with the workload and that there would not be enough time. Sure enough the deadlines seem to come around all too quickly for my liking. At one point I wasn’t coping with the workload either. What I have put in place to put this back on track is quit my job. With the extra free time I can hopefully save myself from disaster by applying myself wholeheartedly. I now need to immerse myself in the art world. Additionally, when I get a brief I need to do my research and ideas planning first and not at the end. This is back to front and to save time and be more efficient it will make more sense to do this the right way around in future projects.

For my opportunities I wanted to be able to showcase my work to as many professional people of industry as possible. This out of all my hopes, fears and opportunities was the one I didn’t think would bear any fruit. However, I have stood my ground and continued to follow up emails and phone calls and have secured my essential three portfolio appointments at least. Although I have got to my three I won’t stop there, as soon as I take my foot off the gas you can bet all hell will break loose (that usually is the case for me!)

My aims were to build on my presentation skills and to have an outstanding portfolio under my belt. I have to admit, the opportunity for presentations hasn’t been as broad this year, though I have presented my ideas on my personal project which I received encouraging feedback from. I have presented my portfolio to professionals which took more courage and guts than presenting to tutors or the class which I have done time and time again. On a Wednesday I now assist a teacher in a primary school so my presenting skills to a younger audience at least are definitely on the rise. As for an outstanding portfolio, I have utilised the tools available to my advantage and have been producing as much work as possible since the start of this semester. So far I have eight pieces in my portfolio, all of which I am completely confident with and proud of. If I were to add others that I wasn’t so confident with it would bulk my portfolio up but this is not something I aspire to do, instead I will keep plugging away to produce more pieces that I can feel truly proud of.

I think what I can take forward from this review is that I am still learning. Although I’m in my final year and only have months to go till I graduate, I’m still taking in new information. I need to have faith in myself because if I haven’t got that I’ll never make it. I need to take my focus off the final grade and apply myself fully so that I can enjoy the remainder of my course and I will eventually get the grade that I deserve.

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