You’ll never be younger than you are at this very moment

From my experience, there seems to be two different ways that people feel before making the journey to University. The first being, “My parents are doing my head in! I want space and want to get to University as soon as possible”, or the other, which was me, “Can’t you come to University with me, mum and dad? What if I forget to wash? What about if Bubble forgets me? What is everyone hates me!?”. And even though I spent the night before I left crying my eyes out, doubting ever applying in the first place, “I’M NOT GOING, I WILL DIE, I WANT TO STAY AT HOME FOREVER,” I obviously got in the car and made my way to the University of Lincoln. And here I am, 3 years later, looking back at the best decision I ever made.

 There is not much I would change about my time at University, but there are a few things that I wish I knew before I began. But not just before beginning University all together, there are things I wish I knew about second and third year too. So I’ve written this blog post to try and make things easier for you if you’re starting University in September, are a first or second year worrying about your next year at University but also, if there’s any of you out there unsure about University is for you to try and prove to you that University is for absolutely everyone.

 Firstly, although the movies and tv programmes make out that University is just three years of partying and sleeping, without any outcome, this is obviously not true. You come out from it with a degree, that’s happens to cost you a bomb so you don’t want it to be a degree that you picked because your best friend was doing it too. Pick a course that YOU want to do, a course that will help you move forwards on your career path and a course you think you will still be interested on 3 years down the line. And this applies to your choice of University too, don’t be a fish and follow the flow, go visit some Universities and see what they provide for your course (and check there’s nandos and wagamamas there too). It’s really important to see what the course provides, because even though you will be graduating with a degree of the same title, all Universities have a little bit of a twist to their course. Some may focus on things you prefer, others not as much, so research it.

Once you’ve chosen your course, your University and got the grades necessary you’re not far away from the big move. So eat as much food as you can. Like literally, empty your parents fridges, pantries and drag out the ‘I’m leaving for university lets go out for dinner as it may be my last one’ as much as you can. Because food is not free and food does not cook itself.

 “What if my housemates don’t like what I wear?” “What if they laugh at me because I live on a farm?”. When you begin University you’re a stranger to everyone and they’re all strangers to you too. You could, if you wanted, turn up and say you are Beyonce’s cousin, with millionaire parents and I’m sure you’ll have people begging to be your friend. But then what’s nice about that? You’ll have to live these lies for three more years and you’ll have people being friends with you for your assists, (your lies) and not for who you are. It’s so important to be yourself, don’t worry about what people think, you will make friends! It is impossible not to, you’ll be put in halls with housemates and neighbours, you’ll be bombarded with social events in fresher’s week where you will meet hundreds of new people, you’ll meet people on your course, your friends will have friends… you see where I’m going with this. Just don’t forget that everyone else is in the same boat. You’re not the only one there who’s new to the whole experience and who wants to make friends too.

 So once you’ve unpacked your stuff and had a tearful goodbye to your family, leave your door open. Whether it’s with a yellow pages, a doorstop or a sock, just leave your door open! Don’t be scared. Knock on everyone’s door, ask everyone if they want to go for a walk and explore your new hometown. And then in a few hours fresher’s will begin, hands down the best week of your life. Considering I can’t even handle two nights in a row, I have no idea how I managed it but I did 8 nights in a row in my fresher’s week and I am so glad I did. You’ve got to go crazy, make friends, don’t be scared, get drunk, get everyone else drunk, do jager trains, take photos, just don’t hold back. And please, don’t stress about lectures and deadlines too much in first year. As long as you pass the year, your grades will not count towards your final degree so your priorities should be getting drunk and making friends and memories.

 You need to prepare to share. Even though everyone will arrive with their own washing up liquid, toilet roll and frying pans, when they’re hungover and their pan is dirty they’ll use your pan. When they’re out of toilet roll and aren’t up for popping to Tesco’s hungover they’ll ask to borrow yours. Just go with it, because I’m sure you’ll need a favour from them too. Life’s too short to treasure fairy liquid.

Before I went to University, and even still today, people say “You can’t have fun at University if you’re in a relationship,” and this bit of advice is really important to me. I remember when me and Lewis realised we liked each other and we worried so much about what other people would think, I’d think no one would want to be our friends if we were in a relationship. But me being with Lewis whilst at University has just made things better, we have the same friends, live together with our best mates and have not lost out on anything at all. So if there’s someone you really like at University, don’t hesitate, as after all a boyfriend/girlfriend is just another best friend you gain from University.

In first year you have no choice who you live with, but in second and third year it’s up to you. But don’t stress too much about it. You don’t need to find your second year housemates in the first month, just let it happen. You’ll naturally become closer to your best friends, you’ll notice annoyances in people you’d rather not live with and you’ll notice the friends who’s company you don’t get sick of and who make you the happiest. I ended up living with Lewis, Cameron and Chris in second year and Lewis, Cameron, and Daniel in third year. I remember so many people thought I was crazy living with boys but bloody hell I’m so glad I did. Ignoring the odd toilet seat left up and the non-stop football talk it was definitely the best decision I made at University.

“You’ve got your freshmen, ROTC guys, preps, J.V Jocks, Asian Nerds, Cool Asians, Varsity jocks, unfriendly black hotties, girls who eat their feelings, girls who don’t eat anything, desperate wanabees, burnouts, sexually active band geeks, the greatest people you will ever meet and the worst: beware of the plastics.”

And lastly, I’m going to be completely honest, before University I could count the friends I trusted on one hand. University isn’t like Mean Girls, High school and Sixth form where the social ladders are too high and reputations are too adored. When you go to University you move away from the past, you move away from cliques. Everyone grows up and everyone is equal.

I’m not using this blog post to tell you University is easy, because it’s not. Moving away from home is so hard, managing your own money, growing independent and meeting degree level deadlines are all very challenging but I just hope that even if it’s only one of you I convince, that if there’s someone the other side of the screen reading this post unsure about going to university that you do it! I promise you that you will meet your best friends in the whole world, make the most unforgettable memories and realise what’s most important in life. And for those of you who are already at University, make the most of every minute, it will be over in a blink! Go buy a bottle, get drunk and go out.

“Enjoy your youth. You’ll never be younger than you are at this very moment.”

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Time flies, when you’re tipsy

I’m sat on a tiny uncomfortable sofa, in a horribly located, smelly house, whilst I’m hungover and hungry, and this is how I’ve spent my last year. And hands down, I have had the best year of my life.

For my second year at University I’ve lived with three of my best friends, Cameron, Chris and also my boyfriend, Lewis. Ignoring the constant talk of football, sound of Fifa related cupboard punching and the smell of corned beef, I couldn’t have picked three better people to live with.

 Today is my last day and night here, and I’m about to meet mine and Lewis’ parents for a drink before our pub dinner this evening. But beforehand I have to say goodbye to Cam, who I’m going to miss a huge amount. Not going to say anything else nice about him incase he reads this and gets even more cocky… if that’s even possible.

 I’ve been very lucky at University, making a lot of very special friends, and a few who I know will be my best friends for life. It’s quite weird really, there are people I’ve know all my life but will never have the same friendship that I have with a few people here. Perhaps it’s because I’ve spent the past 2 years constantly around them, through the best and worst times. They’ve seen me tipsy, crying because I miss home, moody because it’s that time of the month and absolutely elated because my crispy seaweed has arrived.

 I’ve also been lucky enough to meet someone extra special to me at University, Lewis Everett. I don’t want to let you in on too much because I believe relationships should be kept between the two of you, but we’re both very lucky to have met each other. Although living together at University has proved difficult sometimes it has also helped to make some of the best memories of my life. And I know University will be one of many special memories.

 It’s ridiculous how fast these past two years have flown by, it’s a bit scary really. And now I’m welling up a little because, even though I’m happy to go home for summer, I’m sad to leave this life again.

 But I’m back in September for my past year. Probably sensible to give the liver a break anyway…

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And I can breathe again

 

“What course do you study at University?”, “Fashion Studies”, “Oh, so you spend 3 years colouring in?”. Fantastic.

I chose to pursue a degree in Fashion studies because I’ve always preferred working practically over academically, have a creative flare and a passion for fashion. Surprisingly enough it isn’t because it was the only course my grades allowed me to study and that they offer a £50 Topshop giftcard to whoever passes. In fact I left High school and Sixth form with 12 A-C GCSE’s and 1 A and 2 B’s at A Level resulting in enough UCAS points to have got on most of the courses at this University.

As a course, BA Fashion studies students are given freedom to work and no limits within what they design, whether it be a simple cotton shift dress, or a clowns outfit made from cellotape and pencil sharpening’s.  But if I want to walk away with at least a pass, there is absolutely no freedom within the amount of work needed to complete.

It grinds my gears when people say that Fashion is a cop out and University is just 3 years of drinking and sleeping. I’m not one to determine what other courses are like, but for me the last 2 years have been the hardest years of my life, and I have never put so much effort into something.

After a large number of all-nighters, tears and tantrums I’ve just ended my second year by handing in 20 sketchbooks/portfolios, over 10,000 words of essays and 4 final garments. And over this summer, I will have all of my Norfolk incestuous toes and fingers crossed, hoping that my hard work pays off when I receive my results, and that I can put to rest the upsetting myth, that us fashionista’s are brainless.

I hope that you’ll have yours crossed too

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Putting the original into Aboriginal

Personally I have always felt that ending my education after sixth form, at the young age of 17 was never an option. Although I knew where my passions lied, I was still unsure of the paths I wanted to take in the future. Yet I knew 100% that I did not want to go straight into a 9 till 5 job. My mum has always said to me, “University were the best years of my life”, and my dad always told me that he regretted never going.. And who better to look up to that your parents, right?
So I took the leap, and began my life at the University of Lincoln in September 2011 and hand on my heart it was the best decision I have ever made. Not only have I become independent and strong willed,  I’ve learnt who my true friends are, how to manage a student loan and more importantly how to get up for a 9am lecture after rolling in 5 hours prior.
But more than anything else, I have climbed mountains on my Fashion Studies course. Before starting my degree I’d never had any experience with Fashion, which I found really set me back at the start as there were students on my course who were doing similar repeats of a Fashion course, or had been doing Fashion at college for numerous years. But now looking back at the 2 years, I have already filled 9 sketchbooks with detailed illustrations, designs and working drawings to a set theme, designed and manufactured 3 dresses and 1 shirt and knitted 1 jumper and 1 dress. I have also been fortunate to take part in many competitions including one designing for George at ASDA, learnt how to use illustrator and photoshop towards my designs and exerted a number of presentations of a room of 40+ individuals and lecturers. In addition to this I have written 14,000 words worth of fashion related essays, and have already handed in my dissertation proposal.
Two of my favourite garments are from my aboriginal collection. First shows my dress, created from both cotton silk and coated cotton satin which I printed my own design onto. For this design I decided to create my own pattern block, rather than using a template, as this allowed me to create a very unique garment. I used the swirls from the aboriginal image to emphasise certain areas of the female body in my design. The image here shows my garment before completion, in addition I added length to the dress and an arm with a flared, peplum sleeve. I will post an image once my garment has been returned from marking.
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My second garment is a knitted jumper. In addition to pursuing my aboriginal theme we were asked to add ideas from sportswear into our final design. I looked into the traditional argyle print, commonly used in golf, and by using the accustomed circle from aboriginal art, I created an argyle print of my own which I then incorporated into my punch card. Alternatively changing the second yarn after every 12 rows, created the tricolour fabric. The bottom of my garment was created through hand stitched cable holes, which took me days and days of patience and bacon sandwiches, but has created a very detailed and delicate lace effect. My jumper was finished off with ribs created on the dubiet machine, using my very own secret method. I hope you like my garments, and I’m looking forward to finishing more so that I can share them with you. Take care x
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There’s a first time for everything

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To say I know what I’m doing would be wrong. I feel like i’ve just walked into a party where everyone is already friends and I know no one. As easy as it would be to stand in the corner, with a drink and a nervous smile, that’s too easy. I want to be noticed, but for the right reasons. I want my posts to interest and inspire you, whilst gaining followers that do the same to me.
 I’m Zoe Cole, and I’m 19 years old. I was born in the city of Norwich but that’s about the closest I get to being a ‘city girl’. My family are farmers, my house is a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere, and I’d rather lose a finger than be a vegetarian. I have a very close knit family, my immediate consisting of my beautiful, physiotherapist of a mum, commonly known as a bit of a milf. My father, a grumpy old man, who seems to only be happy once a year (once the harvest’s done).. But deep down he’s the best, and I’ve always been a daddy’s girl. My sister is 17, and as I’m sure many teenage sisters are, we’re best friends one day and enemies the next. My younger brother has just discovered the xbox and masturbation, so I don’t see him much..
I went to Pulham Primary School where I learnt the words to ‘He’s got the whole world in his hands’, at Archbishop Sancroft High School I learnt to avoid teenage boys and began to notice my passion for art and design. Onwards from here I went to Bungay Sixth Form where I discovered alcohol, high heels and the talent I have for textile, and the attraction I had with fashion. Since then I have been studying Fashion studies at the University of Lincoln and am absolutely loving it.
My blog will be a place where I come to when I feel inspired and need a rant. A place where I can share my opinions and my special memories. But mainly a place where I can use big words from the dictionary and pretend I know what I’m doing.
Take care x