Studying at Wycliffe from 2008-2012 has been an extremely enjoyable experience to reflect on. I would personally put this down to the fantastic facilities, friendly staff, and abundance of extracurricular activities available to each individual student. I originally attended Ivy Grove and transferred to Collingwood for my A Levels where I studied Art and Media. At the time it was unusual for an A Level student to only study two subjects, however I felt it was the most suitable option for me. I often found subjects such as mathematics and English frustrating and impossible, which I believe was due to my dyslexia. At GSCE level I successfully achieved a handful of A*’s and A’s, which would not have been possible without the 1:1 help from different members of staff. Although I enjoyed many lessons, I found myself thriving with the creative subjects and decided to peruse these for A Level. I received an A* in Art and Design and A in Media at A Level, which then left me with the puzzling question of what to do next?
I went onto Stroud College of Art where I studied a Fine Art Foundation Degree. Studying here was a completely new experience for me compared to Wycliffe because there was a lot less structure and I began to truly think and work without assistance. At first it felt unusual studying one subject, but it allowed me to really focus and expand specific ideas. During this period of study, I watched my peers divide down many pathways such as; travelling, opening their own businesses, and going to university. I researched and visited a multitude of universities, and whittled down which ones would be best situated, and achievable for me. I revisited the head of Art and Design at Wycliffe to discuss which university would suit the style of art I wanted to peruse. My shortened list comprised of; Oxford Brooks, Cardiff Metropolitan, Edinburgh, and Newcastle which asked for different grades. I applied to them via UCAS and attended both digital and physical interviews. This experience was both daunting and exciting as I was looking forward to the next chapter in my life, but felt rather under-prepared and unaware of what was to come.
I was given an unconditional offer from my first choice, which was Newcastle University. Newcastle not only has a great nightlife, affordable housing, amazing attractions and beautiful surroundings, but is also ‘ranked top in the UK for Art and Design’. My degree has taken me on a four-year whirlwind adventure, during which I worked in a range of mediums such as; paint, print, photography, sculpture, performance, installation and video. Additionally, I read History of Art, where I covered topics such as; Art and War, Gender and Contemporary Art, as well as Issues in Modern British Art, all of which I enjoyed studying immensely. My hobbies during University included hockey; where I was vice-captain of the Newcastle University ladies’ team, volunteering and riding, where I evented to CIC* level with my horse, who travelled up to the north with me. I am currently assisting with the fundraising and marketing for the London Degree Show. I am now in my penultimate year of study, where I am in preparation to exhibit my Degree show within the Fine Art department in May, as well as in the Hoxton Arches, in London, in June. To view my recent artwork please visit alpartwork.com or alp_artwork via Instagram.
As part of a self-led external project, entitled ‘The Nature Project’, I decided to review and write of my own experiences of going through University, and how I could help children through some of the toughest decisions they will have to make; such as what subjects to peruse at A Level, tips on moving away from home and applying to university. I focused on Fine Art, as I am hoping to do a PGCE and become a teacher in the future. I organised to do a week of work experience at Wycliffe where I could talk, listen and assist with the teaching of pupils. I had a fabulous time, and thoroughly relished in taking a trip down memory lane, where everything seemed the same, but slightly smaller. I had a lovely time catching up with teachers, and discussed with them how they could help prepare students for the enormous step up from A Level to the real world. To thank the art department and school for all they have done for me, I decided to donate embroidered aprons which I designed and produced with the help of my fellow Wycliffians Marian Hewish and Olly White. The couple own the successful clothing and embroidery company, Goose and Gander LTD, which is situated in Wooten.
I believe it is integral for students to be advised on what is available to them after school, and what route would best suit them. For this reason, I encourage any recent graduates or professionals to revisit Wycliffe, and discuss your experiences.