It’s hard to believe four years ago I was sat in a cramped office with my friend in Africa, refreshing the email page and my Facebook page, waiting to hear from my mum whether I had got my place at University of Lincoln. So, it can be safely assumed that from that opening of this post and the time of year we are talking about University today. I have now studied Media for 6 years, so this is all I know and all I can give advice on.
So let’s start with what my undergrad degree even was. I studied Media Production and it was a 3 year course; it was 75% Practical and 25% Theory. The idea was you focused your study over the 3 years to eventually specialise in a specific area. You started your first year with 6 practical and 2 theory subjects. Then in your second year you chose 2 theories and 2 practical as well as a compulsory theory, the purpose of which was to prepare you for your dissertation. For my theory I took Public Service Broadcasting – a Television Theory Module and Practice of Listening – an Audio Module. For my practical subjects I took Multi-Camera and Radio. In my third year we all did a dissertation and a theory module and then everyone did a practical; for this I chose radio.
So that is a brief overview of my course. But what has that told you? Well, a great deal. Media degrees can be on one area, for example, television, graphics and radio and the course just focuses on that area. Or degrees like mine where you learn a bit of everything and then narrow down and focus on an area. Now I remember I was very keen on looking at Audio Courses and my parents were against the idea, suggesting that I may change my mind and discover something else that would interest me. You see even going with their advice I ended up in audio, but I do see where they were coming from. You may learn something new and there really is no harm in developing other skills, and it is also a way of collaborating with different people. My honest advice is for undergrads to go for a course like mine where you get a feel for everything. Next, the percentage of the course. I remember looking at a few courses where it was 80% Theory and 20% Practical. Now in all honesty if you want to go into media even as a director you need to know about the practical element, and also where they state that percentage it is for each module rather than the whole course. So don’t worry, you do learn more than enough theory. Also think about what happens after Uni as you want to go to a job interview showcasing all the films or practical work you have done, not just the essays you have written. The next bit of advice is about the equipment you may use. I wish I had more access to better equipment as I now realise that the facilities where I spent my 3 years weren’t amazing, however, they got me by but could have been better. Don’t underestimate how important it is to choose the right course for you. It is a big decision as you are going to be studying on that course for 3 years and you need to choose it because it’s what you want to do, rather than what your friends or parents want you to choose.
So the course bit out the way, lets talk about the other bit of the Uni experience. I lived away from home which was the best choice for me. But I didn’t live so far that the parents couldn’t visit for a weekend, which essentially equals, food shop, meals out, snacks out, coffee out basically just so much food and drink. Personally I believe your going to get the best experience if you live away from home. But its not right for everyone. Of course a massive plus for going is all the nights out! University isn’t just about the course and the partying. It is also about the people, now I am from London and my Dad is from Manchester so I liked to think of myself as someone that knows a lot about culture and see’s different walks of life all the time. I realised when I went to Uni I had kind of lived in a bubble, simple things like making friends from the countryside, opens your eyes and your learn about different people and you get to hear the bread roll debate, as well as the is it dinner or tea? Well of course its dinner!
Anyway University is certainly worth it! What with the Government discussing the change of finance, go now while it is the way it is. Also don’t let money be the reason to stop you! University is seriously the best experience you’ll ever have and its not just the course you’ll learn from!