Sunday, 23 January 2011

Coventry University

Reason for the missing post yesterday: had to attend a portfolio interview at Coventry University for Graphics and Illustration.
How did my
day go?
I'll type out the highlights since I don't want to end up writing a 3 post account like I
did with SHU.

4am, wake up time. I recall dreaming about my art classroom turning into a science classroom and instead o
f having an art teacher we had some random science teacher guy. We were preparing for a hiking trip and so the science teacher taught us how to pack for the trip. He pushed the tables to the side, whipped out a huge luggage case, zipped it open and poured PVA into the case. Afterwards he told us to put our stuff (covered in plastic bags) into the PVA lined case. Before I even got to put my stuff inside this case my phone alarm went off (in real life) and my dream was abruptly interrupted by 'Rain is fallin' - W-inds. ft. G-Dragon.
6:30am (approx.), train station, was the only one on the platform.
6:43am, train arrives, other people
8am, arrived in London hauling my heavy portfolio around. Stepped into McD's and ordered myself the breakfast pancake meal (£2.99). I regretted it later on. The pancakes tasted like manufactured crap, sausage looked like a burger, poured too much pancake syrup and slapped on too much butter. I felt quite sick afterwards. At least the taste of the Tropicana orange juice saved me from puking.
9am, headed down to the underground part of Liverpool St Station. Had no problems making my way to Euston. No crowded trains. Trains come like once every minute, twas perfect~ If I miss the first one there's always the second one that would come 1 minute later - this is why I love London; efficient and flexible public transportation.
Though the advert of the CGI babies rollskating around Evian bottles that I found in the underground made me w
onder if I was dreaming another whacky dream in my sleep still.
Arrived at Euston, it looked beautiful and sophisticated. Didn't bother to visit shops, my energy was draining already from the heavy portfolio.
I decided to take th
e 9:46 train rather than the 10:46 - just encase there was a delay during the journey thus potentially making me late for the interview. The train was London Midlands, twas a pretty train, very sleek and stylish on the outside with spacious inside. Whilst on the train waiting for it to depart I watched a couple outside of my seat's window running towards a Virgin train, as they neared it the train moved, they had missed it. The reaction of the couple looked painful.
Passed by Northampton (the stop where the train splits), remembered that my friend (Lisa) went to Northampton uni, texted her to say that, and found out she was back at home in Oxford. What a coin
11:28, arrived at Coventry. Great, 2 hours till the interview, letter said that they don't expect me until 1:15pm. Pretty much spent 1hour 15mins at Coventry train station bored out of my mind, watch people walk past and count the vast amount of Asians that entered and exited the train station. Wow, Coventry was like a second Sheffield, East Asian populated with them actually walking around in public - whereas here in Ipswich you don't see Asians walking around in public.
I regretted not taking the 10:46 train at this point - would've arrived in Coventry at 12:28 with like 15mins to hunt down for the loo before I set off to the university.

12:45, time for me to head off to Coventry university. Google maps said it would be a 10-15mins walk, but I have a heavy portfolio with me = contant stopping while I rest my hands, so I doubled the time.
I had checked my map and directions multiple times during my long wait at the cold train station,
was pretty confident for a second until I realised that the station area was big and I had no idea if I was facing North. But hey, I eventually found the path that I was meant to take. Finding the university was easier than I thought, they had signs.Whilst I was on the footbridge I saw a board placed on the middle divide of the road underneath saying "Coventry Open Day" with an arrow pointing North West, that was a good sign. I also realised that Google maps tends to make roads/streets appear longer than they do in reality, Friar Rd looked like a long stretch of houses on Google maps, but it was super short in reality!On my way there I noticed that the shops looked tacky, like the ones you see in the outskirts of London. So already I didn't exactly like Coventry, didn't help that the weather happened to be cloudy as well. Coventry seemed like the child of the outskirts of London and Birmingham, I still see it that way.
Passed a large group of mandarin speaking Asians - diverse Universit
y hurrah!
When I neared the university I noticed a large group of people
come out from one of the university's streets, looked like a tour of the university lead by a student ambassodor. Woohoo! I was there!

1:10pm (approx.) I arrived at the steps of the Art and Design block, saw an applicant standing near it with her portfolio, texting, probably waiting for a friend. I passed her and was walking up the stairs already when an Indian girl who was also carrying a portfolio asked her if she was attending an interview, I overheard the girl saying she was attending a Graphic and Illustrion interview - SNAP!
When I was nearing the doors the Indian girl managed to catch up to me, and asked me the same
question. We talked for a short while, she was an applicant from Birmingham applying for Fashion Design, her portfolio looked far lighter than mines.
When we both went inside there were loads of people there already. Darn I should've left for the University when I arrived at Coventry then?!
I noticed one Asian guy sitting on the floor, against a pillar, looked like he was sketching something or playing a game on his phone - can't remember. Also spotted another Asian girl who was a student ambassodor.
Signed myself in, stuck a sticker onto my portfolio and placed it on the side as instructed. Then took a seat at the waiting area, it was packed so I had to sit on the outer area where I couldn't converse and possibly befriend with another applicant *sad face*
As I waited I spotted a woman coming down the stairs, a lecturer possibly, she was thin and had red lipstick on, looked like a fashion degree lecturer. She smiled at me when she walked past, and coincidentally took my portfolio somewhere o-o

About 5 mins later a man started calling for names for product design I think, he called for 2 guys. Then 10 mins later another man came and called for names, people who were doing Graphic and Illustration. I was hoping to be called at that moment, and I did get called! Hurrah! Quick interview! I was the fourth to be called, and coincidentally the fifth name was something Chon/Chong..? Yeah it was the Asian guy I saw earlier. Wow!
5 names for the Graphic and Illustration course was called - 3 guys and 2 girls, and I already see diversity, 2 white, 1 black and 2 yellows. Far better than SHU's everyone-is-white and one yellow (me). I was worrying at this point if this was going to be a group interview like the on in SHU, thank God it wasn't!
We were guided up the stairs, brought into a huge room and were explained about the course briefly - at this point I noticed a makeshift green screen at the far end of the room, and was introduced to our student ambassodor who would kindly take us on a tour around the place later - her name was Senna (sp?). Also asked us who attended open day, everyone did but me, felt so left out ; - ;

After having things explained he told us to wait outside on this black sofa, the man was going to rummage through our portfolio and take us in to be interviewed one at a time.
At this point Senna asked who wanted a tour around, I asked for one and the black guy - John (?), asked for another tour around too. Through this tour I found out that this course would probably be the best for me, I could basically do anything in this course like Art and Design in A levels. I could incoporate textiles, screen printing, clay modelling, t-shirt printing (Senna does this), fashion, photography, etching and etc. into my graphics work and we get tutorials on using certain stuff. Awesome! There were also 3 Mac/Apple rooms and a PC rooms for those who were...Mac-challenged..?
But yeah, by now I really liked the look of the place.

We were taken back to the waiting area, seemed like the girl went to be interviewed first since it was the white and yellow guy left on the sofa. Senna asked us if we had any questions, I was first to ask - what sort of questions were we going to be asked in the interview. She didn't know, but she assured us that we would be fine. Then the other guys asked questions too finally until there were no questions left to ask. Senna then left, leaving us waiting in complete silence - we were total strangers to each other.
Eventually the man came back with the girl who had her interview done, and asked who wanted to be next. I didn't really mind, other guys didn't mind either, since the man asked me first he told me to go in and wait for me.

When I went in I spotted my portfolio with all its contents spilled out - wow he really did rummage through it.
He came back, gave me a brief summary of what he thinks about my portfolio. Asked me a few questions about myself and my work. Weren't hard questions at all, thank God he didn't ask stuff like what I would bring to the course or how would I transfer a certain skill or piece of work into the course.
Eventually he pointed out a flaw in which I forgot to mention when he asked me what feedback did my Art teachers give me about my work - I answered that they told me to take photos of people but I avoided that by taking mutliple photos of mannequins in different poses instead which he thought was a problem solving technique (?). But the flaw he pointed out was that I never stay on a certain thing for too long. I tend to jump around a bit. There's never a...focus. I'm well aware of that;; But luckily he reasoned with it, saying it could potentially be my style or some sort of progression to become entrepeneurial - which he got from my Gaia Online artwork commissions. Not that I really want to become that entrepeneurial;;;
At the end he said he would offer me a place, but my application would have to go through a panel of judges first. Would take 10 days...I hate waiting ; - ; I really hope that it isn't a course change to an extra year in foundation, that would kill me.
Interview ended. Was surprised he could zip up my portfolio with no problems! My portfolio folder is incredibly difficult to zip up!

Anyway I left the building, ovejoyed that I'm likely to get an offer. Noticed it was like 2:15pm when I left! I could catch the 3pm train back to London and arrive before 5pm! Meaning that I have 5 hours to kill in London. Screw the initial plan that I had of waiting in Liverpool St Station for hours before taking the train back to Ipswich at 10:30pm (advance ticket)! Why initial plan? Because I thought the interview would end at 4pm thus forcing me to take the 5pm train back to London arriving at 7pm and thus having 3hrs to kill. I wouldn't have minded waiting at the train station with my portfoflio for 3 hours. But 5 hours? Screw that! I'd rather drop my portfolio off at Liverpool St Station's Left Luggage for £8 (wallet cries) and roam around London!

Okay I'm too lazy to type the rest. Shall type the rest tomorrow when I have a whole day - BOOYAH STUDY LEAVE WITH NO EXAMS!
Only woke up at 3pm today - was dead tired when I got home last night with 4 hours sleep on night before.

Overall I wouldn't mind going to this uni, the course sounds perfect for me. I like the structure of the building, locations of the rooms as well as the setting/interior of each room. It doesn't feel overly modern and hi-tech as SHU but SHU has slightly smaller and compacted rooms whereas Coventry have larger rooms. Each person gets their own worn down desk in the work room - gives it that slight traditional/vintage/old school graphic design feel to it, and have access to pretty much everything.
The only thing holding me back from going to this uni is the town itself with its tacky mini privately owned (?) shops. Plus the closest city is Birmingham, which I don't like going to at all because the place looks depressing.
But it is highly likly that this place will be my insurance as long as they give me an offer.

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