5 Lessons I Learnt From My Degree That Weren’t On The Syllabus

I’ve officially moved out of my university house in Manchester and I’m back in my home town of London. After taking a break following our final hand-in, which was filled with plenty of well-deserved celebrations, I’m now eagerly awaiting to hear my degree result and make the end official with graduation. Whilst uni is first and foremost an academic endeavour, I think it’s important to look back at the ‘life lessons’ that my three years of studying for a Fashion Marketing degree has taught me…

01. The value of studying a subject you are passionate about.

Whilst I deliberated heavily about my degree subject and toyed with the idea of pursuing a course that would (supposedly) line me up perfectly for a career straight out of uni (physiotherapy FYI), I settled on a subject that I was truly passionate about. I believe that my genuine interest in both fashion and marketing respectively has made my degree subject one of the best choices I’ve ever made. I can’t imagine studying for three years in a subject that didn’t excite me… where would that Monday morning motivation come from?!

02. Artistic license

I’ll never forget the first ever task set by my lecturer- to visit the local gallery and submit a photo of our favourite piece of artwork that we found. The following week, the lecturer announced his ‘winning’ submission, which was, no less than a picture of the gallery floor. As someone who had picked out one of the feature paintings, I was embarrassed to have approached the task so literally. The unsaid rule of ‘thinking outside the box’ was a lesson I gladly learnt early on in my degree and I believe that applying the notion of artistic license, especially to creative briefs, has served me well ever since.

03. No one will share your interests as much as your course mates. 

On day one of my degree I met more people that shared my interests than I had my entire life. Finding someone else that wrote a fashion blog or thought that Drapers’ breaking news was genuinely breaking news, is beyond a superficial connection. I know that I can chat to my course mates about topics that no one else I know can relate to and it has taught me the enjoyment that comes from spending time with people that share your interests. My course mates are also the only people that can truly appreciate the struggle of studying knitting structures, economics and colour theory all in one year. The struggle is (was) real.

04. The importance of having people to keep you grounded.

Following on from the above point, sometimes you’ll need to spend time talking to the people in your life that don’t know (or care) what different knit structures even are. Having people there to keep me grounded when a missing font or a pixellated picture brought me to tears was equally as important as having course mates that were going through the same thing.

05. Don’t do what you are told.

Or maybe this point should read: don’t just do what you are told. Similar to point 02. on artistic license and thinking outside the box, I’ve quickly learnt that success in uni comes from going above and beyond the prescribed tasks. It’s easy to graze through lectures being spoon-fed information but my most insightful work, and hence highest grades, typically came from staying up-to-date with the latest industry developments. It really pays to stay on the ball, especially when both the fashion and marketing worlds are ones that work at lightening speed. P.S don’t be scared to be more up to date than your lecturers…it happens!

Madeline

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