I think there can be this idea pushed in schools that by 18, we should have some sort of roadmap for our futures. We’ll get A levels, go to a particular university, get that degree and then go to work for 50 years. That’s a message that can be pretty overwhelming.
Thankfully in my experience, life isn’t as straightforward or as predictable as that. And, for me at least, things worked out much better once I stopped expecting and instead decided to make the most of what came my way.
From a young age I was never really into school. I was much happier fixing bikes in my garage or putting together Lego. The only subject that really felt ‘me’ was design technology, so when it came to 'what’s next', product design felt like my way out of the classroom and in to a workshop – a real environment with all the sights and smells and sounds of real life.
From the very first open day it was obvious that Portsmouth was a good fit.
So, I applied to a few universities without much expectation, really just to see what my options were. From the very first open day it was obvious that Portsmouth was a good fit. The course was more hands on than other Universities I’d visited and there was a greater emphasis on making products in the workshop rather than just thinking about them in the classroom. On top of that, the lecturers were very welcoming. I was only 18, straight out of college, and having lecturers that were as friendly and enthusiastic as the students made the experience way less nervy.
The course itself was great, we made what we wanted to make and the University even set me up with an internship at a local product design company in my third year. That gave me my first real taste of working in a business. After graduating I moved to London to study for a Master's, in order to broaden my knowledge and learning, and then took a real punt and moved to Hong Kong. I had no job and no firm plans. But as I said, sometimes having no roadmap or preconceived idea of what you should be doing is the best plan you can have.
All this has been made possible by following what feels natural and by the leg up that Portsmouth gave me.
Even though it was a risk, the combination of having an undergrad degree and a Master's, and being able to demonstrate everything I’d learnt along the way, put me in a good position. In fact within a day of landing in Hong Kong I’d had a couple of meetings and very soon after landed a job at a branding and design agency. I couldn’t believe it! Then, a year later when things were feeling a little stagnant at the firm, I struck out on my own and started my own agency.
All this has been made possible by following what feels natural and by the leg up that Portsmouth gave me. So even if you weren’t the biggest fan of school I’d encourage you not to rule out university – at Portsmouth it’s a completely different experience. Get in touch and see what they have to offer; it’s worked out for me.