Thursday, 29 April 2010

Times are Changing

Since my last post (which felt like a month ago!) a lot has happened. I can now mention things without fear of jinxing it or upsetting people. (I hope!) However I shall start near the beginning to avoid confusion (mostly my own!). :)

So I have not been getting on well with my University course for some time now, it was very different to the Diploma I had just done at college - and I knew that there would be a lot of programming within the course before I started. However I did not count on there being THAT much programming on the course and the expectation that everyone had come from a reasonably strong computing/mathematics/programming background. I was getting good marks in some areas of the course, but the amount of work that I just couldn't hand in as I just couldn't get my head round it mounted up fairly quickly. Then being told that I was suffering from various ailments, as it were, did not help. One such issue with my brain turned out to be Dyslexia, most notably symbol recognition, which means that I have a tough time with letters, words and numbers and the order in which they are supposed to go in to say things correctly. This went a long way to explaining my frustration with programming, as I was fine with the concepts behind it, was more than happy to to decipher code and put it together to create the desired result - it was the learning of the coding language and the writing of it that caused no end of upset with me.

After much talking to tutors at the Uni as well it soon became apparent that the course was set up to produce competent games programmers not designers or anything else. Now I know that a degree in programming is something to be proud of and can get you many places, however I began to realise that it wouldn't really get me to the places that I would like to go. I also really started to miss the more creative aspects of something like the diploma I had just done, as that course was the first time that I loved going to a place of education for many years having not done well at college all those years ago. Also the nail in the coffin for that course came when one of the lead programming tutors said that I should have probably not been accepted on the course with the background I had and that they were now thinking of changing the entry requirements so that a computing background was a necessity. (That and the budget cuts, protests, thefts and general stressed atmosphere I didn't feel comfortable at the Uni any longer - the right place for some in the past, just not the right place for me now.)

So while thinking about all the work that I had to hand in before the Easter break and only making small progress on it I started to have a look around at other Uni's out of curiosity, falling out of love with Brighton in the last year or so for one reason or another I was also looking around at places that I had been or different. Which was when I remembered that a friend of my best friend had graduated from a design course in Newport Uni and was now working for a games company in France after achieving a fair amount of fantastic things during the course of her degree. This then made me take a peak at the website for the Newport School of Art, Media and Design, and then take a look at the BA in Computer Games Design, which instantly caught my eye. Having family back in Newport also made my brain tick over and then realise that I could go to Uni there move back to somewhere I knew and not have half the financial worries that I have down in the South. After much research and chatting with the recent graduate of the course I decided to give it a shot and get a UCAS application in for the course (as it was Route B on the applications I had just under a week before the final deadline.) Thinking that if I didn't get in I could always stick in out where I was, move back anyway and rethink things or go back to what I was doing before I caught the education bug again.

The UCAS application went well, and I then got asked into an interview at the Uni for which I had to prep my portfolio for. Now this was a little out of date, having mainly stuff from the diploma to show and some coding pieces I was proud of and very little sketching. So I decided to concentrate on the digital side of things and use my laptop to show things off but also use the sketchbooks from college to show of design ideas and thought processes. (Taking out the older sketches from my portfolio in the processes which on reflection was not a wise idea as it was the only criticism in the interview.) The interview day rolled around and it was a wonderful sunny day and the campus was relaxed and pretty and had the most fantastic views across some very green welsh countryside. The more I heard about the Uni and the course on the day the more I realised that this could really be the place for me. Going into the interview suitably nervous I was very happy to realise that I got on with the two tutors interviewing me (at least I think I did) and that I impressed them (aside from the lack of sketching!). Travelling back home again after that was almost heartbreaking as I really just wanted to stay at the Uni and start there and then! However I had to go back and then play the waiting game with the post that would provide me with the answer either way for my suitability for the course.

This game ended a couple of days ago, and I am very pleased to say that I have an informal acceptance letter for the course that I am now very excited about. My partner has even said the course is tailor made for me and what I want to do, and the way in which is run and put together is even better. As at the end of the day I was a course that I enjoy, can sink my teeth into and be good at and succeed in it and from it. This course so far looks to be what I was looking for, and as I know by now with me it appears that I always having to do things once before I get them right the second time. :)

So this means that I am moving away from my home for the past nine years back to a place that I spent nine years in as a child. My fiancĂ© is also accompanying me and I already have family and friends that either sort of live up there or are more than happy to come visit, but it's still a big change and it is still leaving behind people I know and a place I have become very familiar with. Though there is that phrase 'familiarity breeds contempt' I guess but I would not swap the experiences I have had in this city or wish to leave it behind completely. Yet this upheaval and change is needed as it's a chance for me to get back on my feet and take that one step back to then take two steps forward as it were. :) Now however is the issue of packing and sorting things out - and there is a lot of sorting to be done! Yet for once I am moving at a more leisurely pace than I have done before  and currently my excitement over a mini-fresh start is overcoming the nerves and the upset of doing all that sorting and packing. :)

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Interesting Times (Again!)

Yep as always I am living in interesting times, which kinda sucks as it means that I have not had the time recently to finish off the New Zealand blog and photo's. Between bouncing around the country to see family, attending Weddings, troubles at Uni and general life issues clogging up my very confused head I feel that there is never enough time to do anything. That and I'm probably not organising it well enough...

Anyway have had some long hard thinking to do about things recently and have had to come to some difficult decisions about things. Also have had to take a good long hard look at myself and the way I do things, as I have not been the best of company recently to those close to me as I have been so stressed. That stress over some pretty major things is understandable the stress over stupid minor things is not, and I need to learn to not let things get to me so much and just get on with what's important.

One such important thing is due in next week and I am very nervous about it, there is a lot of work to do and so far today I have not been very productive. I think I maybe trying to do too much at once again, as I always do! I am dying to work on the New Zealand blog as well as the Dreamstone site, yet there are other things that need to take priority, such as this new project that I can't do into too much detail about yet. I would like to say again that there is never enough time....but as I said I really do think that it is my poor management of it that is causing that feeling. (oops!)

However this means that a full update on goings on is not possible at the moment as I am just waiting for the washing machine to finish before I jump in the shower and get all the day to day things done like cleaning and food shopping before getting on with things that I have been putting off for one reason or another and also chipping away at this new project that needs all the attention I can give it right now as it will change everything for me.