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Right then, where to begin?

Tomorrow is Tuesday October 3rd, officially the start of the university term. I’m not in Coventry to begin my third and final year as a photography undergrad, however. I’m in the Croydon flat I’ve grown up in getting ready for work tomorrow. I’ve chosen to embark on a year away from my home university. Of course, at the time of writing, a lot has already happened to bring me to this point, in fact it might prove important to give some context here.

I originally, almost an entire year before today, had a dream of taking an Erasmus year to study in Milan with my good friends, to swan about the city eating pizza and sipping coffee all day. Without re-opening old wounds this hasn’t materialised, it turns out photography students can’t study fashion (but it’s great that I got told three months after my application).

A n y w a y ,

This has left my year looking fairly up in the air as it stands. With the Milan fiasco occurring when it did, I’ve missed all of the alternative year-long study placements. Fantastic.

So, given that I want some time away from university to sort out some personal projects and gain some valuable experiences pre-graduation (in short, university is going by too quickly and I’m scared of the real world) I was left with two realistic options:

Work in the UK for a year doing something that will hopefully benefit me (anything to do with photography basically).

Try to secure a semester of study at a European University, but that wouldn’t be able to start until January (if I was to even get in).

I want to study abroad. Badly. I want the experience of living abroad and having a new culture around me, as well as of course being able to create new work in response to wherever I end up. From the options I’ve been presented: France, Sweden, Belgium, potentially Spain and potentially Holland, I definitely have a preference. Some of the older students in the year above attended Karlstad University in Sweden for a year and speaking to them it seems like a great fit for me course-wise. So although I’d be unfortunately traveling alone, at the time of writing I’ve applied to study in Karlstad (if I find out in the future that I’ve not been accepted then this post is 100% getting deleted by the way).

This decision brings me to my next thought, what to do until January (providing I’m accepted, this could potentially apply for the whole year though). I’ve been living with my mum and eight year old brother since finishing my second year, aside from my summer job, I’ve already had time to bum around and sit around the house. I can’t do that until January, let alone the whole year, so I’ve been desperately looking for work for about the last two months now. I’ve had meetings with careers advisors, revamped my CV and rebuilt this entire website.

Still though, the photography-assistant positions I’ve applied for haven’t worked out for one reason or another. The struggle that I face is that I really cannot afford to undertake an unpaid internship for what could potentially be a year, so even with my raw once-in-a-generation genius and talent, I imagine it being difficult for the companies/people of the calibre I’m applying to taking on an undergrad in a paid position.

It’s not a brilliant situation.

So having been otherwise unsuccessful in securing other roles and “putting out the feelers” with family and friends, I was made aware of an opening at the Urban Outfitters Photography Studio by course-mate Megan Bradley, who’s been interning there for a few months now.

I was at first hesitant to apply. On the surface a career in e-commerce was not on my radar whatsoever. However, following deeper inspection my attitude towards the role has shifted; set just off Old Street, the studio is just a five minute walk from Shoreditch, considered the heart of London’s creative sector. This, coupled with being exposed to “creatives” in a studio setting, has provided a clear networking opportunity that I HOPE could become potentially beneficial.

Having sent an initial enquiry as to the job description and conditions a few days ago, I’m delighted to learn that the position is in fact paid and so this solidified my decision to submit my CV.

And that brings us pretty much up to date. I’ve got the job... kind of.

I’ve actually got the job for the next four days.

So I’m not entirely sure how this will go, it is a bit of a shame that it’s only four days but it buys me a bit more time to apply to other roles and hopefully hear back from those I already have. I’m nervous about starting and keep telling myself that the silver lining of only having until Friday at Urban Outfitters is that I won’t have to endure it if I hate it.

We’ll see...

I’ve tried to keep this preface to my year-out as concise and coherent as possible based on quick notes that I make whenever something happens, but reading it back I recognise that I’m really droning on a bit. Sorry.

I’m not exactly sure how often / to what length I’m going to be posting here; given that this novel has been the summary of a few months. In any case, right now on this Monday evening I am psyching myself up for my first day as assistant at the photo studio.

Wish me luck.

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