From my experience and observations, how would I advise a newbie art student? Just a few points, in no particular order:
*You will be self-directed, so set yourself a routine straight away in order to make your decisions easier. If you know that you get up at this time and go to uni at that time, it means not having to decide each day about these things, giving you more brain space for creativity.
*Be open to ideas and to people , they will enrich your experience. Join in.
*Go to everything you can, learn as much as you can. You get out of it what you put in – so enjoy this opportunity and make the most of everything.
* Have fun and experiment.
*Keep your sketch books up to date and use them to help you. Most importantly, they are there for you, a visual thought process, as well as for assessment.
*Ask for help and guidance if you need it. Push, if necessary, but always be honest, pleasant and fair.
*Be positive and supportive and you will find that others are too.
* Find the library and use it. The stock will be fantastic – too many books/films, too little time.
*Don’t be fooled into thinking your dissertation doesn’t deserve your attention – a good dissertation can make a grade of difference to your final result. Read the criteria carefully and come back to them throughout the process. Use the summer vacation to get this mostly done. Use inter-library loans. Enjoy the opportunity to really get stuck into a topic.
*Use essay writing as dissertation practise. Find out what is acceptable and what is too idiosyncratic as well as how to structure and reference.
*You will have times when creativity seems to evade you. Work through them recognising that they are all a part of the process. Just keep going.
* You will find that there are no definitive answers and everyone sees your work differently. Go with your gut instinct, listen to that faint internal voice rather than ignoring it, it is the most reliable.
*Have a blast!