Final Major Project VS Mental Health #MHAW17

It’s been a while, a really long while. In fact, five months since I last wrote a blog post on here and it was the beginning of my last ever university project. It was all about confidence VS creativity and how I have a lack of confidence with creative work. If you want to read it, you can click here. 

We’re half way through #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek2017 #MHAW17 and I have finally completed my degree.

18301473_1517238668317391_7738521552652200148_n

As it is #MHAW17 I thought I would share you my struggles with my FMP, incase someone else is going through the same thing and to let them know, they’re not alone.

All three years are over and done with and I’m confused to how I’m feeling. I’m glad the pressure of third year has been lifted. However, there is still pressure of what grades I get at graduation, or even if I do graduate. As well as whether I get a job in graphic design and where it’ll be, or even if I’m good enough to go into industry. To be honest, I don’t think I am ready to leave education. But when will I ever be ready if I’m not now? I just kind of wish we had just one more project to do.

My final major project at university was a ride and a half. To start, I did a FMP (final major project) proposal in first semester of third year and it was for a sub brand for Lamoda of creating stationery for them. I had it all planned out, researched and was more than ready to go. When I got my grade back for the proposal I got my highest I ever got whilst at uni and this made me so excited. It wasn’t until after Christmas and we got going with the actual final major project I found, it really wasn’t for me. Nothing inside me wanted to open my computer and design for stationery. In fact, I couldn’t of thought of anything worse.

If you’ve read my blog before, you will know I suffer with a mental health condition called Trichotillomania. If you are new here, I’ll explain briefly. It is an impulse control disorder that makes you pull your hair out. No matter how hard you try, you just cannot stop. It is incurable and you just need to focus on ways to get through each and every day.  It is, however, personally for me triggered by stress, anxiety and depression.

With my ideas changing and people in my class getting things done, I felt behind. I felt like the more I saw them, the more shit I felt about my own work. This was down to their work being incredible and mine wasn’t even started yet. The question of was I good enough to even complete my third year, was all that was going through my mind. Every night I would wake up and brainstorm what I would do instead of a stationery brand.

It was around seven weeks into my thirteen week term, that I finally started to get ideas come together. The final idea was to create a zine which focussed on beauty standards of society focusing on women. I had recently done my dissertation in the first semester on this and researched a lot, so I knew about the topic. I went to class for lots of weeks running up to this idea and I kind of just got through each meeting – how? I don’t know.

It wasn’t until when I was sat with my friends and they started getting really into their projects and I hadn’t even started mine yet I panicked. I didn’t want to start because, I genuinely didn’t think my work was good enough. I was seeing my class produce work week by week and I adored all of their work, but there was something in me telling me – nope! You’ll never reach that standard of work. That’s when I called a meeting and I was given three solutions.

  1. I could terminate the term. I could do it at a later date, but it would mean I wouldn’t graduate with my course friends.
  2. I could get extenuating circumstances. My mind just wasn’t with the course due to one thing or another.
  3. Or, I could just get my head down, ignore what other people were doing and just focus on my own project.

I don’t know if any of you have anxiety or suffer from any MH issues, but the thought of going home and telling my family that I wouldn’t graduate until November or even later scared me. Genuinely, all I’ve ever wanted to do is graduate with the people I spent my last three years with. I wouldn’t want anything more than that. Anxiety did not let me forget those options throughout the whole course.

I can safely say, that chat really kicked me up the arse. I had 8 weeks to do enough photoshoots to cover a zine and a website with different content for each, illustrations to draw, editing of skills to show, film to be written, filmed and edited as well as create a website solely from scratch.

I had panic attacks after panic attacks, but they wouldn’t effect me in the day they effected me at night. Night time was when it really got serious. Nine nights in a row I had a panic attacks. To accompany them I had the most terrifying nightmares. They were SO bad. Not only was the panic attacks and nightmares the worst of it all, but when it did come to morning I was so exhausted from having to deal with that half way through a sleep, that I had no energy in the morning. I didn’t have time to go for a doctors appointment so looked in the local Boots and picked up the tablets ‘Kalms’ especially for night time. I was a bit sceptical at first using them, because I didn’t want to rely on them, but they literally saved my last few weeks at uni. They didn’t help me get to sleep, they help me not wake up in the night having panic attacks and helped me sleep through. If I could I would make a special acknowledgement to them in FMP.

Towards the end, people were producing more work than they needed to and to be up to that level I felt I had to do the same. At one point I had four days to complete a website, edit my video and do other extra work on top to build my CAT credits up.

In the end, my FMP consisted of:

  • A 32 page zine, all creatively directed photo shooted/edited by me. Illustrations drawn by me and the writing, written by me.
  • Five interview conducted for both the zine and the website.
  • A 20 something page website, with every single page developed and designed by me using Adobe Muse.
  • GIF’s made by me.
  • A video filmed, edited and styled by me.
  • Flyers/posters for campaign reasons created by me
  • A second 12 page preview zine for the next issue designed by me
  • A 64 page development book, completed.

Zine pages:

Website examples:

Sketchbook examples.

I’m not going to lie, I feel so proud that I created all of that in practically 8 weeks. Even though, my mental health really challenged me, as well as life, I did it. I completed the whole three years, with the people I had studied throughout the whole course with and handed together as a tag team.

If you are going through a similar circumstance and you need someone to talk to, to help get you going and a kick up the ass without being TOO harsh, message me. I will always be here to help you through.

YOU CAN DO IT. If I could do it, so can you. Believe in yourself and get your head down.

Remember, diamonds are made under pressure.

A special thank you to my friends, tutor and family for being a massive support throughout the completion of this whirl wind adventure.

Confidence VS Creativity

So, it’s got to the main crucial part in my whole degree… my FMP. An FMP is a final major project and it’s the last ever project I will do at university. You will then potentially show future employees after you leave. To me, that sounds scary.

I’ve been studying fashion graphics (which is basically fashion and graphic design combined) for three years now. I have enjoyed myself throughly on the course and I have definitely learned skills I never thought I had or could have. One of skills being digital illustration. My mum is very good at drawing and so is my uncle, so I’m guessing that’s where my creativity comes from. I love showing off the work I’ve created and proud of to people who follow me on social media, people I know and see day to day and professionals at interviews for work experience/freelance.

However, I am not that confident. To be honest it scares the living life out of me the need to be confident about ideas. I’ve never been that person in class that puts up their hand first to answer a question in a full class and I am definitely not that person who voices their opinions to a massive crowd. I have grown to be OK with that and accept it as part of me. This isn’t a blaming game but I do think school and the people who constantly used to tear me down and rip me apart have played a major role in shaping me to be this person. Of course, my anxiety isn’t exactly the biggest help either.

With my confidence not being the best, it effects the way I create for my degree and other pieces of work. I am never, ever confident with my ideas and every time I submit a piece of work I worry for hours and days about if it could of been better. I’m sure lots of people have this too but I will not rest about it. I always don’t think I’ve pushed myself to my full potential and this is probably the main reason why I feel this way. I want to ask for people’s opinions on things more and I want to ask for help if I’m stuck on something but my confidence just won’t let me.

I absolutely love seeing people do their best and do well. Nothing makes me happier and I am 100% routing for them. Yaaassss!!! But with everything I have, I just wish I could do the same for myself. Instead of sitting there for hours comparing myself to creatives I see/follow online and creatives I see on a daily basis, I wish I had the confidence to say “IM GOOD TOO!”

This lack of confidence is something I’m going to try my absolute best with in the last four months of uni – yikes!! I want to be able to leave my degree after being so proud of what I have achieved through my FMP and actually show my full potential and not hide back on ideas. Not to let my brain win when it tells me “don’t do that someone else would have done it better” or “your idea is rubbish, you share that everyone will laugh” I want to come out of this degree shouting my opinions around and not have those awful feelings after. After all, everyone is entitled to their own opinion.


At the end of the day, I am my own worst enemy. If it doesn’t change now, will it ever in the future? Will I get that dream job with no confidence? It’s time to make some changes

Follow my graphic design instagram if you’d like, it’ll be updated with my inspiration and development as well as personal projects along the way. Who knows, there could be more creative posts on here in the future!

Life, uni and art.

I did it, I have finally completed my second year at university. In my first year, with homesickness after moving away I wasn’t sure if I’d even make it to second year, but… here I am sat here in the house I’m living in at university saying I’ve completed it and boy am I ready to start my third and final year!

I’m not going to say it was the easiest breeze through second year, because it wasn’t. In both aspects of personal and educational ways. It’s 100% true what they say, second year your work in your degree steps up a lot. I was just about getting away with doing my three month long projects, in just over a month in my first year but second year has really made me work hard. There was no time for last minute projects everything had to be done to a schedule – as much as I could do anyway. There has been advantages of second year to first year, one being that I never knew how to properly use the programs we use in first year i.e. Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign, Premere Pro, Muse etc.. I had only used these at basic level in my diploma. I now feel so much more confident on these softwares, and have now been Adobe Certified in Photoshop after taking an exam, yay! I love learning new skills and then feeling that ‘Yay I did it!’ feeling after. I can’t wait to learn these programs in a deeper level.

This year not only did my degree work step up, but I had to balance a job on top to be able to pay bills/rent etc. It is only a weekend job and not for many hours at all, but when you were used to leaving your work till the weekend then not having them anymore, that made a huge difference. I had to learn how to utilise my time in the week as much I could.

If you’ve read my blog before, you would know that I’ve become more open about mental health, in hope that it would either help someone who’s suffering the same or raise awareness to people who may not know what it is to go through it. I’m going to admit, I struggled this academic year with mental health, battling it away as much as I could. In my first semester I had just started a job and if you’ve read my blog posts before you would know that me and change do not go hand in hand at all. My anxiety rocketed and I started having panic attacks that were waking me up in the middle of the night. I can say now, that because I’m used to my job and nothing is new anymore the panic attacks have settled down and not as crazy as they were, unless I have a dramatic event coming up such as interviews for internships etc, as they usually flairs up a bit then. I now know how to control them more with having experience with them. I still get anxiety at work a lot but because I’ve experienced these before I have ways to solve it myself, and know how to get myself out the situation and take a few minutes to chill out and know what triggers it and sets it off. There are times however that it comes on when I least expect it and there are still times in daily life which get me. I suffer from anxiety outside of work and on more of daily tasks, but that’ll be in another post. Anxiety is one of the underlining issues of Trichotillomania for myself.

In my second semester, I found out some awful news that shook me up, and of course that started everything off again. I noticed I wasn’t focused on my work as much and I didn’t want to be down at university anymore, I just wanted to be home. I did, however, turn my graphic design work in units as a way to get out emotion, especially a project which I did a lot of photo manipulation. (That project in the unit got a 1st! YAY! but overall the unit got a high 2:1 – boom!)

*Images in original state not owned by me. The artwork from these images are done by me and owned by me.*

I love the fact that I’m able to portray my feelings and emotions through the means of art within my degree course. I love the way that art doesn’t have to be a certain strict answer and can be interpreted in different ways, depending on the person. Sometimes it could be a scribble sometimes more in depth but its art.

I have a lot to thank for art. Art is literally my happy place.

Internships/Work placements – My thoughts/experience.

Lets start with the fact that this post is very lengthy and completely my own views. I have discussed my views a lot on social media about work placements/internships. I have particularly expressed my irritation of work placements which you have to work for free. I one hundred percent get that work placements/internships can be highly beneficial for the fact you get (or should get) experience in the industry which you are hoping to professionalise in. That experience you will gain should let you see what it is like to work in the career you’re hoping to go into as well as getting to maybe make contacts, gain additional skills and be part of a team.

I’m an aspiring graphic designer. When I’ve finished my degree I’m hoping to go into the advertising part of graphic design. My dream has always been to work for huge high end brands creating pieces for the outside public space as well as digitally through the mediums of social media. Now, I know I’m not going to get there overnight. I will have to build my portfolio up and get my work out there to get recognised. I also know that experience is definitely vital to get to my end goal.

Now, what I do not understand is that the majority of the graphic design internships/work placements, especially in fashion graphic design are unpaid (to be quite honest I’m not sure about other career paths as I’ve never researched or looked into them). I know the fashion industry is a hard industry to break into and that you have to put your whole heart and soul into it. What I don’t understand is why, we as interns, are not paid at least the minimum wage. After all, we are fresh eyes for a company with brand new ideas which maybe a company hasn’t thought of before as well as creating content for a brand. Whether that be research done for them through creating mood boards of ideas for a brand to maybe even designing actual prints for fashion pieces for a company, a promo video for a company or a look book.

The majority of internships/work placements do however offer expenses paid, which is usually 9/10 travel and/or lunch. I’ve been looking personally into internships/work placements within London as this is usually where all the bigger opportunities are. I recently had an internship/work placement which I stayed a total of three days at. This was because:

  1. The interviews. I went to a few interviews before I took this interview which I had to pay for from Southampton. Each day in travel alone cost me £34, maybe more if I had to get a train from Southampton in peak hours, as usually I have to reschedule my interview times to afternoon because of this – annoying for both the company and me.
  2. Getting to the place for the internship/work placement. I was lucky enough to stay with a friend for a week in London which I will forever be grateful for, but not everyone is as lucky as that. I did however have to pay £30 for just the train fare from Southampton to London and back, and thats with a railcard. I know the majority of you are thinking that isn’t expensive but the internship/work placement would have been six weeks long. That’d be way too much money, never mind the cost of getting from Waterloo to my friends and around London for the whole week. On top of paying rent back in Southampton monthly, bills and food. It was way too much as a student with barely enough money to pay rent every month.
  3. Then there is food and general living costs whilst being there. I was lucky my internship did pay for lunch, but there was of course food in the evening and mornings. I wasn’t going to let my friend make me food every morning/night. She is in the same position as me as a student and it just wouldn’t be fair on her.

All in all, the whole cost of doing an internship/work placement was a major downfall as well as other issues which I won’t talk about on here. The whole internship/work placement just felt like it wasn’t for me. I did, however, learn quite a lot considering the time I was there for. I learnt how to connect with companies, how to produce a look book/make a look book and made an Instagram video for their social media. I, however, felt like I needed a more design based focused internship/work placement within a bigger company, so there was more opportunity to learn from others as that is the whole idea of one.

I was so grateful for the opportunity I had with this internship/work placement, and one thing I’m super grateful was the lessons I learnt along the way in just the small few weeks.  I’m on the look out for another one, which pays. They are however, far and few between but with each one I find I feel I could fit in I apply for. They are out there but as you can imagine they are very competitive, but who doesn’t love a little competition? I’m not just gonna apply now out of panic to make my 100 hours for my degree, for any one that I see.

Have you had the same kind of issues with and internship or work placement? I’d love to hear about them if you did!

Speak soon

x

Trich is trichy.

YAY! Lets start this post off with a positive.. I’ve just finished my second year of university! What a year it has been, full of ups and downs but its now d o n e. I’m looking forward to the break although I’ve now just started an internship in London, so its full on still with trying to mix that with work.

However, this post will be a little different to my other posts of reviews and such. This week is Mental Health Awareness week and to start it off I thought I’d write a little bit about me I don’t usually share and show you some uni work which is related to this. This blog post will tie in with one of the latest projects I’ve done for uni. It was a Triptych project which we had to create three pieces of art which work alongside each other and cause a reaction of any kind to the public. Whether that be shocked/intrigued or gets people thinking what on earth is that about once they’ve seen it. I took this opportunity to base it on a mental health illness which is close to me. I saw this as an opportunity to raise more awareness for it as not many people know it exists.

I suffer from a mental health condition called Trichotillomania (or Trich for some). To start Trich is a condition where a person has a impulsive control  hair pulling disorder, whether that be one of many things: eyebrows, eyelashes or hair pulling from the top of your head – which is what I currently suffer from. No matter how hard I try to stop pulling, the more I think about it the more I pull and it is exhausting. Imagine cleaning your carpet week to week and pulling up massive hair balls from it from the way you just cannot stop pulling. For me, even the thought of going bald in places still doesn’t ‘stop’ me. There’s something that tells me “yes I know you want to pull but…. there could be hair on your head that is ‘dead’ or has a massive split in it, which you do not need.” This disorder is exhausting and debilitating. It makes you feel sad and it makes you feel angry at the best of times. Many people just don’t understand you, the more they say “Don’t pull” the more you get angry and feel like shouting back “I WOULD IF I COULD!!!” Believe it or not, it doesn’t make us feel any better, instead it makes us feel worse about ourselves.

I do have triggers which set it off. Usually if I’m feeling stressed, anxious, sad or maybe I know this sounds weird but even bored can set it off. I suffer a lot with feeling anxious about a lot of things. There could be simple things such as laying in bed at night and knowing that you have turned the oven off but just the small thought of it even being on could set me off and the only way I can control it is… pulling at my hair. I’ve been at interviews recently and the only way I can control not feeling unbelievably sick or worried is by pulling my hair. I guess its seen as a way to relieve and pull out that part of me which is making me feel so so ill and worried, who knows? The brain is such a weird thing.

TRYPTCH FINAL

I just wanted to share with you all a little bit about me which I don’t make public a lot, unless you know me to raise awareness as well as sharing with you all the latest piece of work I’ve done from uni. I’d love to know what you think about this… what is your reaction and do you ‘get it’?

Thank you for reading this far if you did, it means the world to me.

Speak soon,

Charlotte.