My honest perspective of uni

I couldn’t wait to start my university chapter. I’d packed my bags weeks prior to the move. I made friends through group chats before I even moved to the toon. Some even became by bestest mates. But I’d be lying if I said it was everything I expected my uni experience to be. It’s quite the opposite actually. I envisioned it to be like the tv show ‘Fresh Meat’, you know, when they all become housemates and stick with each other for their entire uni journey. I saw myself being a bit like Josie ; making loads of mistakes but having fun along the way. You all have breakfast at the same time and go to the local pub for a cheeky pint in the evenings. Haha omg I was so wrong about uni.

Fashion courses are a lot of work!

Like I said, uni wasn’t what I expected it to be. It’s actually hard being a fashion student and trying to balance a social life too. Something I freakin’ hate is when people look down on me as if i don’t do a ‘real course ‘ … oh okay then hun. It’s actually a lot of work. Not to blow my own horn here, but I’ve always been a high achiever… until uni. I just couldn’t get the social and work balance right. I remember I was sat in a lecture and my tutor said that if I wanted a first, I had to eat live and breath the course. Of course, like any student would do, I just sniggered and said ‘yeh right’. But she was completely right. I failed first year and had to resist a module during the summer and i genuinely felt like I’d failed. A high achiever like me failing ? It’s a massive reality check.

Mental health is a real thing

I’ve always been a happy person. Before university, I would do everything and anything without question, but uni has had a huge toll on my mental health. I went from being the happiest person in the world to the most depressed person in a matter of months. I just couldn’t recognise who I was anymore. I’d sit in my room and cry over the smallest things and I felt like I just wasn’t worth while. I tried to fill these voids with huge drinking benders and relationships. I thought it would just bring me some sort of happiness but trust me when I say that it only makes you feel more alone. I was always at counselling meeting with university or crying to my friends about how I felt. Of course, I couldn’t expect my friends to fully understand what’s going on in my head when I didn’t even understand it myself. I’ve lashed out at my closest friends because of my own emotions. I’ve been a complete bitch at times and that’s just not okay. I needed to deal with my emotions differently.

I had to start dealing with my deep routed hurt which I did by visiting home more often to be with family and speaking to people who are there to help. So many people are dealing with the same things so don’t keep it bottled up; just let it out. It did get a lot better once I was honest with myself about how I felt and although I’m still dealing with it, I can honestly say I’ve learnt so much about mental health and to not be so judgemental on others peoples emotions.

Relationships just ain’t worth it

I’ve had my fair share of boyfriends and guys I’ve seen during uni. Some have been really nice guys and I’m still friends with them to this day, but I promise you it’s not the end of the world when some are nasty to you. If I could turn back time, I wouldn’t have even been so bothered about being lonely if I didn’t have a boyfriend. Who actually has time for relationships at this age anyway? I’ve been in relationships that absolutely tore me down but I’ve been in some that have made me feel amazing. Honestly, they’re just not worth the heartache when you’ve already got so much going on in your life. Go have fun while your young because that’s what I want to do now that I’m a 21 year old single Pringle. Oh, and they don’t actually miss you at 3am in the morning… just saying.

I’m skint

Being a student is f*cking expensive. I can’t count how many times I couldn’t even afford a loaf of bread. It’s even more embarrassing when your card gets declined at Greggs. My parents couldn’t afford to give me monthly allowances but would help me out here and there when I needed it which has been so helpful at times. Most of my money went on soho trebles and swingers entry ( I miss u 80’s room) which isn’t the most responsible thing to do but we move. I live for the memories. But no joke, after 3 years, i still can’t pay rent on time and buy proper meals…. my adult life isn’t looking good for me. But seriously though it’s expensive! Who knew rent was so expensive? I ended up having to work a lot during my time at uni (all bar jobs ) but these mess with your sleep patterns. The first bar I worked at was Soho rooms and i’d finish at 3am … not bad I guess but it was horrendous. They made me sit in the window to draw guys in lol. Felt like a prozzie. My second job was a place called Holy Hobo and some nights id finish at 5am. I loved my job at hobo, I met some incredible people working here so the late nights weren’t that bad. You’re not really expected to get a job while you study full time but it sure as hell helps. Plus, it’s funny seeing your mates come in drunk trying to get you to sneak a cheeky trebs deal for 75p.. yeh oops I forgot to press the 0 button on the card machine. My bad.

Overall, my uni experience just has been completely insane. One thing I can say out of this is that I’ve made the most incredible memories with the most incredible people. I wouldn’t change the last few years for the world. Yeh uni is a huge stress and things happen but it made me so much stronger and I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the experiences I’ve had. The city will always remind me of the incredible growing moments in my early life and I definitely have a lot to tell my grandkids one day. I’m gonna miss you Newcastle. LY❤️

How I’ve kept my motivation over lockdown

I use to be bedridden … like no joke I’d only move if I needed coffee or food. I barely did anything other than watch Netflix or a cheeky night out in the toon. There’s nothing bad about that, although I had deadlines coming up and my stomach churned with anxiety knowing I’d wasted the last few weeks doing absolutely naff all.

Since I moved home from university, I wasn’t able to stay in bed as long as I use to without my mum telling me to get the hell up. I’ve been living a completely different lifestyle than I was back in Newcastle but I kinda like the new me? Is this the lockdown glow up I wished for ?

Like I get it, it’s okay to lounge round some days but it was getting me nowhere in terms of personal deadlines. I began to write lists of things I needed to do, broke them down and created a table on word. I would break each tasks down into small doable chunks and organise them into a weekly plan. Let me show you what I mean

A list of things I needed to do
I organised them across the week so it seems a less daunting

This hugely helped. Like many of us , I have a thing called ‘self doubt’, so when I need to do something important I freak out and i don’t know where to start! It’s so simple yet so effective. I kid you not, this has been a life saver. I finish a day of tasks and I feel even more motivated to do it again the next day. It’s all about building confidence and knowing you can actually do the tasks that you set out for yourself

Another thing I’ve been doing is cutting out bad habits. A bad habit of mine is staying in bed on my phone for long periods of time when I first wake up. Like hello? You get headaches from this Becca. There’s nothing worse than having a bad start to the day. I decided to change the way I did things. Yes, I can go on my phone in the morning I but only for 5 minutes before I have to get up. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t difficult, but like any habit, you’ll soon break out of it. It’s made me feel so much more fresh and ready for the day. Try it and I guarantee you’ll see a difference.

With any habits, you need to reward yourself with something that you love. For me, it’s a facial. I have soooooo much skincare ( I ain’t joking ya ). I’m obsessed with it, so every Sunday I reward myself with a pamper routine. For example, I run a bath, use facemasks and pore strips, lather myself in serums and lotions and congratulate myself for my achievements that week. I’m not saying I physically sit infront of my mirrors and talk to myself ( if that’s what you do then you do you b ) but I just think of what I’ve achieved and how far I have come from being a lazy bitch 10 weeks ago.

One thing you need to remember is that everyone burns out and that’s okay. Doing things you love will give you that mental recharge you need. Whether that’s playing games or doing your makeup, it’s good to have time for yourself and do things you love doing the most. I’ve been drawing and making festival clothes for me and my friends to wear. It’s almost therapeutic. It’s also a great distraction from things you might be worrying about. You just need to do you sometimes.

I hope this has helped people with keeping their motivations to personal, work or uni deadlines. Hard work seriously pays off but don’t overdo yourself. A candle doesn’t burn forever, but it sure can be relit.

6 things I learnt about myself over lockdown

As it approaches the 11th week in lockdown, I’m literally desperate to keep myself busy in some kind of way. Sitting on the couch stuffing my face with homemade lemon drizzle cake is only going to make you gain a few pounds… and it doesn’t make you a Mary Berry either. I’ve actually given a few things a go that I never use to do. Exercise ? Why not, it’s only been about 3 years since I last jogged. Cooking? Maybe not this… mum always complains the onions are ‘ still raw’ when I say it adds a little bit of crunch to the food. 

All this free time has given me a lot of time to try different things or even work on projects that I didn’t have time to do before. But I thought I’d write a list of things that I’ve personally learn about myself over the lockdown period 

1 : I took being with my family for granted

When I moved out at 18, I was so excited to finally be on my own. I made my own rules up and I didn’t have to tell anyone that I was going on a 4 day bender. I could eat what I want, drink what I want and do what I want! It was great, until you started being sick after drinking too much tequila and had no one to bring you a nice cuppa. Even though I have moved home now and I’m still someone independent, i didn’t realise how much my parents held me up and supported me through university. I did begin to miss them a lot. 

While I’ve been home it’s been nice having the girlie nights me and my mum once had again. We pop open a bottle of Prosecco and sing along to Les Miserables. I didn’t realise how much I valued this. Me and my dad play on the PlayStation VR and absolutely crap ourselves on resident evil. It’s really amusing when dad craps himself when something jumps out at him then tell us he’s ’going dizzy’ when he doesn’t want to play anymore coz he’s too scared. 

They’re like my best mates and it’s been nice living with them for one last time before I fly the nest and start my career. 

2: True friends will always support you even if they’re far away

I miss my friends so much. If I didn’t have them I wouldn’t know what to do with myself. The lockdown period has had its effect on each one of us, but what’s nice is when your friends begin to send quarantine cards to each other to show you that they’re thinking of you and they’re proud of you ! With snapchat streaks reaching above 70, they are there to chat with you and talk you through personal decisions you may have to take. I’d be lying if I didn’t cry at each card I received. I’m gonna miss you girls next year.

3: Turning 21 in quarantine wasnt as bad as I thought!

I’m finally 21 ! It’s mad to think that I’m one year closer to 30. Yikes!. Every year I genuinely don’t look forward to my birthday, not because I’m getting older but I just don’t like realising who my actual mates are. Is this just me ? It was a surprise waking up to my living room covered in balloons and banners. My dad had made me a Oreo cake which was UNREAL. I genuinely think it’s his hidden talent. 

I got absolutely hammered as well. My friends were shocked as I was downing tequila shots one after the other on our zoom quiz. 

“Becca are you seriously pouring another one ?”

I must of had at least 8 as well as g+t’s and Prosecco that I got off the family dog ( cheers Marley ). Apparently he got me ‘ organic Prosecco ‘ because … and I quote “ you’re veggie and all “.

I actually had a fun day. Obviously I’ll be celebrating with the girls later this year but it was as good as it could be. Oh and weirdly enough I didn’t wake up with a hangover …. 

4: I actually like workouts 

For anyone who knows me, I’m so lazy. I HATE exercise. I just never enjoyed getting sweaty and gaining muscle because luckily, I rarely gained weight. But over this quarantine I looked myself in the mirror and thought ‘ come on bex you need to start getting in shape a bit”. Don’t get me wrong, I love how my body is but I’d be lying if I said my ass wasn’t dimply and my belly is starting to pudge. 

I ordered some resistance bands for a tenner and began to follow workouts on a YouTube to give me a bit of guidance. Me and my friends even made private stories to encourage each other to keep working to our fitness goals. It made me realise how unfit I actually am but I’m actually enjoying the drive of completing a workout and knowing that I actually did it. I’m deffo going to carry on with this so one day I can be someone’s Kyle Jenner. 

5: I can do a lot more in fashion than I originally thought I could.

It began with a portfolio I had to submit to Leeds Beckett for my transfer in university. I looked over my first year work and laughed at how awful it was. Like how was I meant to submit this when I genuinely can’t even produce a decent project?

I had to put my mind into focus and try to make the work somewhat decent. It was just half arsed work that needed so much doing to it. I began by making lists of things i needed to do and over time, my work was slowly improving. I designed a lineup that I actually thought was good ! I can’t draw properly and I’ve always found it hard to come up with ways to make my drawing look good. I scrapped my original designs and designed new ones based on new ideas. I was so impressed with myself ! 

Then for my 21st my parents got me the new iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil. I was so excited to start drawing on it. This actually gave me confidence to upload my drawings to my fashion Instagram page ( @sherringtondesigns) and share my work for the first time in years ! 

I’ve also made bucket hats and I’m currently making a pair of festival trousers. I’ve been constantly expanding my skills so that my confidence grows with it. I’m so proud of myself as to how motivated I have been with it all and what I can actually draw and make. I might even give myself a project to do over summer. 

6: Don’t piss off the dog …

… he will bite you and won’t want to chill with you anymore 😦

How I found my first year as a fashion student at uni

I’ve always wanted to go to uni and study something that I love. Since I was 3, I’ve always wanted to paint and draw. My grandma use to roll out wallpaper for my brother and I to paint with our hands and feet. ( sorry grandma for getting paint on your carpets )

I was so thrown by which uni I wanted to go for. I LOVED Leeds Beckett as I’d been to GFW with them back in 2017, but Northumbria uni in Newcastle was more appealing due to me being an 18 year old girl getting sick of living with her parents. I wanted to go as far away as possible to become the independent gal I thought I could be and well… I still don’t know how to be independent at 21( I still ask my parents to wash my clothes and buy my food). Northumbria is a really good uni, the course is fab and freshers week was mental. Like I’ve never had so much fun in my life. It was absolute jokes. I met some of my best mates in the first week and I genuinely couldn’t of asked for better people to be surrounded by.

First night of freshers

Freshers was utterly mad. I weirdly picked up the geordie accent after one day and I genuinely couldn’t get rid of it for like 3 weeks. Anyone had this experience or just influential me? One thing I did learn in freshers was to not bother buying a freshers wristband. I kid you not you’ll end up sneaking off to other events and falling in hobo piss ( yes this did happen to me) or even being filmed by ‘street smart’ to have a video of you all over social media that still haunts you TIL this day.

Then came the day my course started. I would say I’m an anxious person and when I try to speak to someone I have the worst stutter ever, so when I started and didn’t see anyone I recognised I was thrown completely into the deep end. My course was fun but I ended up switching from fashion to fashion design and marketing after a week. I was kinda interested in the marketing side. It was a bit more versatile for when you wanted to enter the great big world of fashion. The course was okay, but experiences I faced around the same time shuddered me from going to class which inevitably ended in me almost failing first year ( yeh I was that type of student ). I guess I just wasn’t fully prepared for uni life.

I did manage to pass though which I’m genuinely surprised by. My work was shocking and I look back on it now and think ‘what a load of shit’. The classes were quite fun ( even though I rarely went). I genuinely loved photography and my teacher was a fitty (hi Leon if you’re reading this ) He was the only reason I went. The different aspects of the course make you completely change your perspective of what you wanted to be. I’m pretty sure I wanted to be a photographer and stylist in first year whereas now, in my 3rd year, I’m wanting to be a knitwear and weave designer.

What I’m trying to say is that it has been a huge learning curve for me. During my time at Northumbria I have been battling with depression and anxiety and maintaining high grades was impossible for me. But I learnt that I needed to start believing that I could achieve what I put my mind to. Although I decided to leave Northumbria after my 3rd year and I will be joining Leeds Beckett for my remaining 2 years, I now know what I can accomplish and it’s time to kick my ass into gear and become that successful person I once use to be.

Welcome !

Hi there! My name is Rebecca Sherrington and this is my story of being a fashion design student at university in the UK. Trust me, I have A LOT of advice and experiences to share. My uni life hasn’t been easy sailing and I’ve had to resist a few years of uni ( due to mental health ) but I’m not ready to give up my dream of becoming a women’s knitwear and weave designer. Mental health can kiss my ass.

I can’t wait for you to join me on my ups and downs of my student life and challenges I face as a fashion designer. Feel free to follow me along on my social media platforms too! Now pour yourself a cuppa and delve into my life ( because trust me, it’s a drama series )

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