It’s already the end of September! This month has gone by so quickly, mostly due to having to re-adjust not only to university starting again, but to whole new modules, new lecturers, and of course, it being all online. I think I’ve finally hit a good spot for balance, which also means I can finally update my blog with some real life news!
This year is the third year of my Digital Media degree. I actually can’t believe I’m in third year already, the first two years at college have absolutely flown by. So the way this degree is structured is: first two years at college (you get an HND for it) and third and fourth year are at university. So, very technically, now I am “at university” — but I don’t like this idea that college is somehow “inferior” to university, so I’ve always been calling it uni. However, this does mean I have to get used to completely new lecturers and the uni’s way of doing things, so to speak.
This year, because of the pandemic, all my classes will be online. It’s taken a bit of time to adjust to that — where to look for things, where are the links, where do I access this seminar, etc. — but I think I’ve now got a perfectly working schedule for my classes. On Mondays I watch the new lectures and do the reading for my two seminars on Tuesdays; my third and last seminar is on Friday afternoon, so I do the reading for that later in the week, but it means that I can enjoy a mid-week free Wednesday.
So this is going to sound a bit weird, but one of the very first things I had to adjust to was the sheer amount of free time I now have while studying. I know some might say, “Free time?! In third year?!” but you have to understand that I come from the super practical two years at college, which were incredibly demanding. Right now, I’m still at the end of week 2 of my uni classes; this time last year, at college, we were already preparing to plan, write and shoot the first video production assignment of the year (and 8-minute video) — note that I said the first because the plan last year was for us to shoot two 8-minute short films before the beginning of April, which gave us about 7 weeks per short film — and we were preparing to host our own two-hour radio shows for radio production (and that was only the first of three practical radio assignments). We had six different classes just for the first semester alone, all with an average of three assignments per class.
In contrast, this semester I only have three modules and two assignments per class, which are all spread out. That is already half the workload I had to do last year. One of the modules I took is Screenwriting, and for that class the assignment is to write a 15-page screenplay, which we have twelve weeks to do (it isn’t due until December). That’s just writing a screenplay — there is no production at all involved. Last year I had less than that amount of time to make a fully finished film, edited and all — all the while having to still write essays for other classes.
Do you see what I mean when I say I have more free time now at university than I did at college? I know it sounds incredible, but it’s true. College was really tough last year and left me with almost no free time. (This is one of the reasons I don’t like when people say “college is easier than uni” because sometimes it really isn’t, and it certainly doesn’t ring true to me.) This year, I really feel like I have buckets of free time in comparison to last year.
I won’t lie — it’s nice to have this much free time. At college, I always felt like I was rushing from assignment to assignment, but here it feels more like a leisurely walk. 😆 I absolutely welcome this change! I’m excited to use my free time to finish my youtube projects and such!
I’ve also adjusted quite well to everything being online. Mainly I’m happy to be saving a) travel money; and b) travel time to get to the university and back. Turns out that was a lot of money and a lot of time to be spending on travelling every month, and it honestly feels great to not have to worry about that anymore and to actually be able to save up now. This obviously also adds to the feeling of having so much free time, as I’m not spending any of it travelling to and from the uni anymore. I feel like I’ve just found a treasure chest and inside there was all this extra time just waiting for me!
I’m also happy with most of the classes I took this semester. There is one module that is mandatory for all of us, but the other two modules that I chose are Magazine Journalism and Screenwriting. The latter still feels a bit too basic, but I guess that’s to be expected since it’s aimed at students who have never written a screenplay before, however to me it feels like a cakewalk just now. 😆 As for the former, I actually switched to it this week — before I was taking a Documentary class, but after week 1 rolled by, I realised I wasn’t enjoying that class very much because it was all very academic. We had to watch documentaries, which was the fun part, but then we’d get assigned long pieces of reading to discuss at the seminars, all written in weird academic jargon that was very hard to comprehend. When I realised I was spending more time reading the academics’ opinions on the documentaries than watching the documentaries themselves, I decided it was time to jump ship. So I switched over to Magazine Journalism, which has turned out to be so much fun! Every week, we get to talk about a famous journalist/writer and we get to practise our own writing which is amazing. It’s not at all about a “strict” journalistic style, it really encourages us to be creative with our pieces — and even the journalists we read, their writing reads more like a short story than an article. Plus, because they’re actually good writers, reading their stuff is super fun and interesting, even when their articles are 30+ pages long — I always feel like they’ve enriched me as a writer. (As opposed to the academics’ writing, which always tired me out considerably, even after just a couple of pages. These writers, on the other hand, are actually trying to reach a wide audience, so not only are they fantastic at writing, but they are also much better at communicating in general; whereas academics really feel like they’re just writing to show off that they can use a Thesaurus. I’m sorry, but often academic articles are just badly written and I stand by this.)
So I feel positively about uni, which is kind of a surprise. I hope this lasts. ✨
I’ve actually been pretty busy scripting, filming and editing things this summer!
Firstly, I’ve become a contributor for BBC The Social, which is one of the big news of this post! I actually joined as a contributor way back in March, but I took a long break during lockdown to look after my mental health and make sure I could finish college assignments, so I only started working on my first video around July. It’s been in the works for a while, but it’s finished and I hope it will be online fairly soon! 💫
After my quarantine video, I started editing a very silly Umbrella Academy compilation video of Luther and Diego being total himbos in season 2. 😆 It’s actually been finished since the start of September, but I’ve been fighting a long battle with Youtube’s copyright claim system and am currently trying to bypass that so that this video can finally see the light of day. I didn’t put so much effort into editing it together just so nobody could watch it!
And finally, lately I’ve been tackling my Belle analysis video, where I analyse her reading habits in the remake and how, I think, those change her character and impact the story as a whole. I’ve only got about 5 more minutes to edit, so I’m hoping to upload it in October! 💫
This is actually why I am enjoying having so much free time from uni — I can do more personal projects and focus a bit more on youtube videos and such! ✨ I can’t wait to upload more content on my channel now that I actually have the time to dedicate to it!
I was also involved with some projects and events started by the Creative Film Fife Network! My quarantine video is now part of their Our Lockdown project, and Life After Z was screened as part of their Online Showcase just last week! I also digitally met all the filmmakers that had submitted their films to the showcase. It was a great evening and it felt really great to put Life After Z out there again and have it watched by new people. ✨
More exciting news: I am getting involved with another magazine! 💫 I don’t know what is it with me and magazines, but I felt really inspired to get back into this type of writing after I switched to my magazine journalism class. I came across a magazine that’s starting up in Scotland about the film and TV industry and I decided to send them a message as I really wanted to get involved. I sent off some of my articles and photos that I did for RockShot and they really liked them! We had a digital chat on Wednesday and I was made an official contributor for the magazine! I am so, so excited about this and I’m really looking forward to writing for them! ✨
Last thing, because I don’t think I’ve actually mentioned it before: I was selected as a writer for the Asexuality Zine! This happened way back at the end of July, but boy was I (and still am) super duper happy about it! 💜 I’ve already written my piece and I’m pretty happy with it so far. I’m thinking maybe one more edit and then it should be fully finished and ready to publish. I changed my idea halfway through and am much happier with the story I have for it. Definitely be on the lookout for the zine, it’s going to be amazing. It’s also my first ever contribution to a zine! I’m so excited! 💫
These are all the major updates I wanted to write about in this post. I’m thinking of posting my writings for magazine journalism here as well, just to have them all in one place. Plus, I want to use the extra free time to update this blog more and write all those posts that I have backlogged on my Google Keep! So definitely expect more updates in the future. ✨