studio diary

Final Week Before Assessment | Art School Diary #13

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The final week before my semester one hand in date was quite hectic. With two projects needing to be finished not to mention an essay which still hadn’t been written. Being my first hand in at art school this was quite stressful, coming into the course from college made it hard knowing what level the lecturers expect you to be, when it comes to your work. But I’m glad to say I coped with the week, CFS problems and all.


I know I just said this week was stressful, but that isn’t quite the truth. One of the most important things I learned at college was time management. Adding in the chronic fatigue on top of that means I have to be extremely organised when it came to deadlines.

I wasn’t stressed by the work I had to do. I had planned my time out so I knew I would get everything done before the deadline. But I was stressed by the amount of work which had to be done. Sometimes it can be overwhelming to see such a large number of things needing to be done in a short space of time. This is where I rely heavily on my bullet journal because it helps me figure out what tasks are more important.


Everything had to be planned out because some tasks needed to happen before others. I can’t bind my publication until I’ve finished designing the content. To bind the book I need paper which has to be ordered in advance. Throughout all this, I have to document my design process which is time-consuming in itself.

The hand in was for Monday at 9 am of the next week. But because the department wanted a physical submission I had to do quite a bit of planning to get my coursework finished on time. I didn’t want to wait till the very last moment to hand my physical portfolio in which meant that had to be finished first. Fortunately, my under camera artwork poster was almost complete. I made a few slight design changes but it wasn’t a huge amount of work.

My modernist art publication was where I spent most of my time. Technically the hand in for this had been the week before. However, unlike college this was more of an interim hand in. I was used to handing in each project separately. University is slightly different, all the work you do for the studio module is handed in as one submission. You then get the mark for that module based on all the work you did.

This means I spent most of the week working on my publication. I was very fortunate that I had worked on the student magazine and had already done some editorial projects at college. I knew almost everything that needed to be done to get the project finished. The actual design of the publication wouldn’t take long to finish. I just had to bind it together. This wasn’t a lot of work to do, it was just time-consuming.


Unfortunately, since I didn’t have anything timetabled this week I started catching up on various appointments I had put off. This meant finding out at the very last minute I would be having a small surgery. Though not major in any way it was slightly stressful because additional appointments meant I would have less time to work on my portfolio.

I managed to get my portfolio finished and set up in the studio by Friday. Though it was a self-imposed deadline I didn’t want to leave handing my work in any later than that. This meant I had the full weekend free to finish the essay for my lecture module. Almost the full grade for that module was based on the essay so it was important that I did this well.

I actually found this essay to be really hard to write. I’ve been blogging for 6 years now so I’m used to writing, but academic writing is very different. It has been a long time since I last wrote a proper academic essay, almost 10 years I think. I probably would have found it even harder if I didn’t have experience writing for my blog. I wouldn’t say I finished that essay, it would be more accurate to say I gave up after getting bored with writing it. This meant I was very surprised when I got my first-semester grades back.


Unlike the other posts in this series. This particular post is being written a few months after it happened. Which means I’ve been given my grades for the semester. I was both happy and disappointed with these grades. For my essay, I got a B1 which is a very good grade, one away from an A. I was really surprised by this because I found the essay so difficult to write. I was honestly expecting to get a C or worse.

For my studio module, I also got a B1. Again it’s a very good grade, my lecturers even said it was a very good place to be at this particular stage of my course. Considering I entered at second year and was having problems with my health. But still, it was frustrating. All the way through college I had got As. I went into this course wanting to achieve that again and I didn’t quite make it.

The most frustrating thing is I know part of the problem was my CFS. With graphic design, it’s not like you get a better grade if you just study harder. I was too tired to spend as much time on coursework as I could have done. This definitely showed in my overall mark for the semester. I know I shouldn’t beat myself up over this but it’s hard not to.


This post marks the end of semester one at university. I’ve been writing these posts each week as they happened. Though decided to wait before publishing them. This means I have no idea what sort of reception they are going to get. I’ve really enjoyed writing these posts. I would love to hear your thoughts on the series so far.


Course Induction & Matriculation | Art School Diary #1
Project Briefs & Lectures | Art School Diary #2
The Lives of Others | Art School Diary #3
Chronic Illness & Coursework | Art School Diary #4
Under Camera Artwork | Art School Diary #5
A New Design Brief | Art School Diary #6
Reading Week & GDFS | Art School Diary #7
First Project Hand In | Art School Diary #8
Risograph Printing & CFS Problems | Art School Diary #9
Photography & Essay Writing | Art School Diary #10
Darkroom & Artist Books | Art School Diary #11
Meeting With Disability Services | Art School Diary #12
Final Week Before Assessment | Art School Diary #13


  • Dan Antion

    I would echo your inner thoughts about not beating yourself up. I will also add (as I pointed out for my daughter, years ago) if you end up interviewing for a job that isn’t only dependent on your artistic skills, remember the part about time management. That is a very important skill. People who manage it often take it for granted, but it’s always worth pointing out, because it’s a valuable skill to have.

  • Aimer Boyz

    Don’t beat yourself up. As a master at that game, I can attest to it being a waste of time. Keep chugging along, and one day in the near future you’ll be looking back at what you’ve accomplished and patting yourself on the back 🙂

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