Have I got the write stuff?

I enjoying writing, although writing doesn’t always enjoy me. I’m all fingers and thumbs when it comes to spelling and grammar, but despite that I feel that I’ve got something to say on many a subject, particularly when that subject gives you a chance to win £5,000.

UCAS and The Times ran a writing competition asking for undergraduates to share their experiences and inspire the next generation of students in 500 words or less. As a mature student more than lucky to get a second chance at university I felt that I could offer a different perspective. Unfortunately I’m not convinced I truly answered the set question of “why you love learning and how you experience learning at a higher level” (seeing how I only found it buried in the T&Cs after submitting my entry an hour before the deadline it little wonder really), but I feel that I have written a piece true to myself and my experiences.  And here it is….

I remember quite vividly how it happened. How I decided it would be a good idea to give up a steady job in the middle of a recession and take a massive leap into the unknown.

The idea formed in that period between sleep and waking. A strange questioning notion that brought what had become my accepted everyday to my attention.

By breakfast the reality that I had another thirty-five plus years left to sit at an office desk blinded me, and by lunchtime I knew there had to be more to life – more to me.

I wanted to be a creative; to go down the road that I was persuaded off as a youngster in favour of solid sensible subjects, like the sciences and business. I knew I couldn’t do it by myself, I had after all not been near an art room in eighteen years, and I knew that to do it half heartedly through weekend workshops and evening classes would get me nowhere slowly.

So that’s how it came to be that by teatime I had sent of a UCAS application to Leeds College of Art, asking very nicely if I could please join their visual communication degree course.

And they did – they let me join the viscom gang, along with a ragbag bunch of people with too many questions about the world for other courses to cope with, and a mixed bag of artistic and community interests that we are free to explore without being pigeonholed.

The professional creatives I’ve met over the past year weep with envy over the print rooms and other workshops I get to use everyday. I can spend hours getting lost in the books in the library, finding out about techniques and artists I would never of had the chance to discover elsewhere. And throughout, the steady hands of the tutors and technicians have helped in guiding me on my quest to become all that I can, both artistically and personally.

Outside of a university setting I undoubtedly would have struggled and given up my dreams. There simply would not have been a way to realise them.

Now I may spend my days in class, my evenings doing homework, and every spare minute in between at one of my many jobs, but I’ve never been so happy, so interested in life, or as appreciative about what’s in it.

As I’ve gotten older the years seem to be much shorter than they were in my school days. I can clearly see how finite my time at Leeds College of Art will be, and I know that in a blink of an eye I’ll be out there in the world, on my own again, but this time I’ll be ready for whatever it is I want to do or be.


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