A day in the life of a Visual Communication student

Ever wondered what a typical day for a Visual Communication student looks like? BA (Hons) Illustration student Harry takes us through his day from start to finish!

7:45am - I wake up, have breakfast and get dressed, etc. before I set off for the day. I walk to the closest bus stop near me to commute into uni. Having a good walk before uni gets me in the right mindset to start the day.

If I get into uni early enough, I grab a coffee (and maybe a cheeky pain au chocolate!) on my way up to the illustration studio on the top floor. I usually take the stairs as an extra form of exercise (it’s a killer!) but there is a lift also.

10am - This is the start of the uni day (face to face or online). We usually have an hour in the morning as a brief for the day, or sometimes we have guest speakers from the industry or past students talk to us in this hour slot. It’s really great insight into the industry, having speakers come from various backgrounds means we get insight into many areas.

11am - In previous years, this is usually time for workshops such as demos on digital programs, experimenting with media, trying out different techniques, etc. which is led by a tutor usually. However, in third year, because everyone is doing completely different projects and are at different stages, it is time for us to independently crack on with our work and get chance to catch up with friends, as well as getting tutor or peer reviewed feedback. Feedback changes randomly, some days it could be 1 to 1 feedback, or other times we could be in groups of 6 for example.

12/12:30pm - At some point in this time slot we go for our hour lunch break. Everyone does lunch different - some people bring packed lunch, some grab something from the various cafes in the Parkside Building or go to the Canteen at Millenium Point. As the university is based in the city centre, some people decide to go out into the city for food or to do some light shopping. You make this hour your own, as you do with the whole uni experience.

1/1:30pm - After lunch we do some more independent work. Afternoon sessions carry on with 1 to 1 tutor feedback, etc. and give us chance to use the variety of equipment onsite. There are large Wacom tablets, light screens and a risograph machine all within reach in the studio room. You can also use other facilities in the building such as the green screen rooms or the print room. However, you do have to book a slot to use these facilities to ensure COVID restrictions are still in place so everyone can feel safe at uni. The print room is probably the most popular for us illustration students though.

3/4pm - This is the end of the day at uni in the studio where we are able to go home. Before, we would have a lecture during this time in the lecture halls, however, with COVID, all of our formal lectures have moved online. This is great as it means if we miss the lecture for whatever reason, we can play back at a time that is more convenient as they are recorded.

I get on the bus and arrive back home around 6pm. I catch up with my family and have dinner.

Throughout the week, there are many extracurricular activities and clubs that are held within the university. For example, myself and another 3rd year illustration student hold a figure drawing session between 2-3pm every Wednesday, which is open for any BCU student to join. It’s informal and we get to have a chat with everyone whilst we practice our skills.

Societies are other things students can join. I am a part of the Ohana Magazine society for example, which we meet online over teams every Tuesday at 6pm. This particular society is for students who want to possibly go into editorial illustration or writing - this is great as it bridges the gap between uni work and real world editorial work. There are many societies on offer, such as gaming societies, sports and even tea drinking! There’s something for everyone.

7pm - Some days in the week I play video games online with some friends, but others may go out for dinner or watch a film (these things are a bit easier to do if you live on campus).

8pm - The day at uni may be over but the work isn’t! I usually spend the last few hours of my day continuing my uni work in a more quiet environment with some earphones in. I try to do practical work if I can earlier on in the day in natural light, then catch up on written based work on the evenings.

This time is prime time for students to meet up for nights out also, there’s a huge night scene in Birmingham, so there’s lots of options to choose from.

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