I have always found myself getting excited about the idea of going to see anything to do with live theatre or film. Ever since a young age I have always been drawn to creative pursuits, in secondary school I was always wanting to give drama a go, but I did not have the confidence and found myself drawn to art and music instead. It was not until I saw the musical Chicago live, that I knew I had to somehow give myself a chance to explore this interest of mine.
The musical itself and the talent that was on stage inspired me so much that I wanted to be on that stage myself and dive into the creative industries and see what it had to offer. I began my university experience by studying the University’s Performing Arts foundation degree for two years, which was based on the Cardiff and Vale College Campus. I then had the choice to top up my qualification to a full degree and decided to study Theatre and Drama for my final year at the Atrium. I was excited to be able to finish my degree and I chose to study at USW on the basis that from first impressions it seemed like a very relaxed and inclusive University. The Atrium is in the heart of Cardiff, which was a great selling point for me as this meant I could experience city life whilst attending University.
My favourite part of the course has been the research module in my final year. We were given the chance to explore our individual interests with a series of projects. I chose to research whether musicals can impact society positively through their entertainment for my dissertation, which further fuelled my final project which was a 25-minute musical called ‘COVID-19 The Stay-at-Home Musical’.
Both projects were inspired by interviews and surveys from real people and their viewpoint and feelings surrounding the pandemic. I was given so much freedom to study what I was truly interested in which made my final year so enjoyable.
USW has given me many opportunities, including the time when I got to perform alongside Jack Whitehall for his ‘Stood Up’ tour at the Motor Point arena as a backup dancer in my second year. Another cherished memory would be landing a principal role in the musical ‘Disco Inferno’ held by CAVC in my first year, this was truly out of my comfort zone and terrified me as I had never sung in front of a large audience before but was probably one of the best experiences I have had.
The opportunities I gained whilst being a student has given me a huge confidence boost and gave me an insight of how the creative industry operates. And lastly, I got the chance to have some valuable work experience during my Employability module, which included video editing for Hijinx Theatre and Overseas Estate Agency, Girasol Homes.
Although the pandemic did slightly affect my experience at university, I would say student life was good. I’m probably not your typical student, I didn’t live in student accommodation and I’m not a massive drinker, but I still managed to have a fulfilling experience and enjoyed forming close friendships at my time at university. Student life also gave me time to figure myself out as an individual, which was so important to me. Oh, and I loved the student discounts, who doesn’t love that?
Well, I always imagined graduating with the typical cap and gown in person. However, I never thought I would even go to university, so even if it is virtually, it’s an exciting and proud moment for me. Although I am terrified to make the transition from student life back to the working world, but I know that if I ever need any guidance, the University will happily help after graduation.
I am quite indecisive when it comes to deciding what my next steps are in my career. I enjoy doing a range of different things. However, in an ideal world I’m hoping I can gain employment in a post-production/editing/ advertisement role or even an exciting graduate scheme. I am hoping to land a role that is creative, challenging, and exciting. Although, I would not say no to any acting jobs.
Take the opportunities with both hands, do not be scared to ask for help if you need it, experience new things even if they scare you, don’t stress about the little things. And just live in the moment. Make the most out of your three years, they will fly by! Have fun!
One more thing I would like to mention, if you are debating on not going to university because you think it’s too late, or you’re ‘too old’, don’t let that doubt stop you from studying something that interests you. I was 23 when I made my choice to attend University, it was drummed into me that you go to university immediately after school. I almost felt guilty that I left my full-time job to follow my interests, but I am so glad I took the risk to study at USW. I have had an amazing experience.