The full title of my degree course was The Historical and Theoretical studies of Art, Media and Design. I honestly thought that there would be some hands on work with art and design. Idiot. This Course was pure academic.
The first three months made me realise that I was way out of my depth, a 50 book reading list, lectures I did not even begin to understand. Writing 3,000 word essays weekly on subjects just the beginning. My dictionary was extension of my hand for the first year.
The young students who had studied A levels were full of knowledge on the subjects, spoke the language and understood everything. Or so I thought. T was struggling.
I was getting Bs for my essays and half way through the first year I had a meeting with the Head of Year and told her I did not think I was on the right course. I explained why. Then said ” I just don’t know anything”. Valerie Swales gave me a huge smile and said ” Of course you don’t that is why you are here” , That made total sense to me. I was learning something new every day. She also told me not to be fooled by the younger students, they were also struggling. I was not alone. She said she had every confidence in me, that was enough.
I started to love the challenge of the Couse, one in particular was being introduced to reading paintings. Learning about the artist and where they came from, why they created their works was fascinating. Studying architecture and the metropolis was also widening my interests.
The second year was exciting because I was so much confident. I could not get enough of the work, I was like a sponge absorbing everything given to me and then going off and learning more. The other students and I had built up a rapport and we would swop knowledge and share information. I think what impressed them the most was that I could type at 70 wpm. I understood little about computing but I could stand my own at the keyboard.
The third year we had to produce three 10,000 word theses and work on our own. No lectures, nothing, just get your head down. I chose three subjects that I hoped would open doors and gain employment. The first one, The Politics of Restoration too me four months to produce, the second one The Space Allocated to Children in Museums about two months and the last one Art as a Complimentary Healer six weeks and was probably my best work.
The three years came to an end, I got my degree. I was quietly proud, as were my children. I had completed five years of full time studies as a mature student.