Reflections on my foundation/first year: what I enjoyed/didn’t enjoy so much (Michaela)

Having just completed my first year of my Filmmaking degree, I can’t help but compare my foundation year experience with the year that has just passed. You see, when I first started life as a uni student, I was analysing linguistics, unpicking literary texts and writing essays. But for my second year, I extended my usual commute by a minute and moved from the Geoffrey Manton building to the Benzie building. I made the switch from studying English to Filmmaking.

Obviously, switching from a more analytical degree to a creative degree was a notable shift. While both courses encourage you to exercise your creativity, the two subjects differ quite a bit. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy English. In fact, growing up, it was the subject I enjoyed the most (which meant it was subsequently also the subject that I did the best in).

So, you’d think that because I’m good at it, it would have been a fantastic idea to pursue a degree in English. Funnily enough though, after a taster of what that would be like, I ultimately decided against it. It was fascinating of course, but I know that with it being a subject that relied heavily on assessment through exams and essays, it just wasn’t the right course for me. One of my favourite parts of my current course is the free-spirited nature of the course. Whilst there is still some analysis involved, it’s more to inspire you to generate your own work and create ideas from, rather than just pure analysis. Of course, there are still some essays involved in Filmmaking, but there are definitely not as many as my previous course.

But life as a student is more than just what you do on your course. A big part of uni life that people always stress the importance of, is maintaining a social life – I really struggled with this. In fact, this is something that I struggled with even up to halfway through my first year. Making friends is really tough for some of us, myself included. Loneliness is something that you may experience, but it’s only natural. Uprooting your life and starting over is hard, but I’ve learned that you will definitely find your stride. You just need to remember that you don’t have to act like what you think university students act like. Yes, many will definitely enjoy nights out with alcohol and loud music, but many will also like quieter gatherings where you can enjoy a few snacks and binge watch something. Don’t feel the need to force yourself to do things you don’t enjoy.

Overall, I would say that the biggest difference between my foundation year and my first year is that I’ve become more confident. Not just academically, but creatively, socially and… just personally. I feel like I actually know what I’m doing, and I don’t feel as scared to do it. It’s very strange to think of myself as that clueless, homesick noob who first moved to this city a couple years ago.   

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