Jack Avery joined Birmingham City University’s School of Fashion and Textiles, to study BA (Hons) Fashion Business and Promotion in September 2020. Jack gave us an insight into his first year at BCU, the balance of remote and on-campus teaching and shares his advice for students who are beginning their journey at university soon.
What were your expectations before starting your first year at university?
Fairly high! BCU has a strong reputation, so I had a lot of expectations before I even arrived. However, it has met each of them and continues to do so, and I imagine it will for the next couple of years.
How did you find the first few months of university?
Challenging to say the least – I knew what kind of environment I was throwing myself into, the pressures of living away from home, coping with a new workload while making sure to eat properly that evening! I was lucky to get accommodation with my partner, so I am fortunate that we support each other while living away from home.
But I know there are thousands of articles and videos catered towards students in the same situation, and I would recommend them to anyone who is nervous about leaving home.
What has the balance been like for remote learning vs on campus teaching?
My first two modules were taught on campus, in between lockdowns. However having lots of remote learning has benefits. It allows for quick communication, and lots of flexibility when it comes to scheduling a lesson, group meeting or tutorial.
How much of your course is practical and how much is theory-based?
My course is a balanced mix, we are taught lots of the theory, and we must use what we are taught to create some form of report, presentation, or design. A lot of it is left to our own imagination, so truly creative people can really succeed on a course like mine.
What has been your favourite project you have worked on so far?
My current project includes creating a conceptual video targeting Selfridges, with a chance of my group project being selected and used by Selfridges themselves. Not only is this a unique opportunity, I have also been able to use lots of video editing programs and creative interfaces, which is something I really enjoy.
What is the community like in your school?
It’s fantastic, the staff are helpful and friendly. They are really driven about the subjects they teach, and it truly feels like they want you to achieve your best, a type of support that I think is really important in an educational environment.
Is studying at university much different to college or sixth form?
I think it’s completely different. It might seem like you are being given less work, but the work, subjects and ideas that are presented to you at university compared to sixth form or college can be investigated so much further. You’re provided with a lot of concepts, and must make of them what you will, meaning that your answers may be widely different from your friends, but they will still both be correct.
It takes a while to wrap your head around, but once you’re there, you will find yourself achieving a lot more than you would at sixth form or college.
What advice would you give to students who are starting university soon?
Keep an open mind, and make sure you really are interested in what you study. You need motivation to want to dive deeper into your subject, to find new links and unique ideas, and that will really pay off and be evident in your work. As clichéd as it sounds, just enjoy yourself, enjoy your work, enjoy uni life and just enjoy the experience!