I always loved back-to-school season growing up–shopping for new school supplies and picking my “first day of school” outfit was as exciting as Christmas somehow. (#nerdstatus) I haven’t been on an academic calendar in a while, but now that I’m headed back to school I thought I’d make some new school year “resolutions” for my year at Goldsmiths. The weather here has been appropriately rainy and London-y, so I’m getting especially in the mood.
Having already spent a year studying in Britain, I have a decent idea of what to expect–and know what I could do differently this time around. I’ll have different priorities than I did in Exeter, and won’t have an already-established community of friends and a professor from my alma mater coming along with me. So I’m doing a bit more on my own–which is exciting but also mildly terrifying. I find comfort in planning and setting goals. And I find joy in seeing how they all get changed around in the moment. So without further ado, the resolutions I’m hoping to set for this new school year and this new chapter in my life.
Learn in new ways. That’s effectively the point of my Contemporary Art Theory degree, and I’m eager to examine a subject I love (Art History) through new and evolving theories. My biggest goal, of course, is to do well academically and utilise what I learn in the classroom to help advance my career. I’m especially excited to see how the course fits into the Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art, the new art gallery on campus.
Get involved in campus life. Flaking out on societies ended up being my biggest Exeter regret–I joined a few, went to one meeting and decided it wasn’t for me. I obviously made friends anyway, but I’m hoping to branch out beyond my flat and course this time around to meet some more fellow students. The societies I’m currently eyeing are Visual Cultures, Veg, and Yoga! I’m also hoping to get more involved in Student Union events and campaigns at Goldsmiths–something I shied away from a bit at Exeter, as I was a visiting student and didn’t feel I really “deserved” to do so. Now I feel a bit more eager to get involved as I’m actually getting a degree from this school.
Be smart with money. Also known as “don’t use Primark as a cure for homesickness.” A relatively generous living stipend from Kenyon + suddenly being in a new environment where everyone was ~COOL and BRITISH~ + feeling woefully out of place = me buying a lot of unnecessary stuff in Exeter. It’s not like I became destitute, but it was kind of shopping for a “fantasy self” as a way of coping with culture shock. Now that I’m (hopefully) more self-aware than I was at 20, I can spot this behaviour before it makes its way to the cash register.
Something I’ve also been exploring more since I was in Exeter is cheap and healthy meals! When I was in Exeter I made a lot of “fancy” vegan food, but didn’t manage portions terribly well (I was also really excited by, for the first time in my college career, getting total control over what I was eating and not having to resort to weeks of sad cafeteria salads when there were no good dairy-free options). I probably spent about 30 GBP a week on food, which seemed cheap to me but looking back was WAY more than I needed to be spending. I recently found Cooking on a Bootstrap, which features lots of vegan recipes coming in at well under a pound per serving. I know that site will be my Bible this year!
Gain CV experience. Of course I’m at Goldsmiths to study, but I’m also hoping to gain international work experience, hopefully in a museum or gallery. I can work up to 20 hours a week in term time, and with a more stable schedule than I had in Exeter (with lots of required weekend trips), I’m hoping to make use of that time to earn some money and experience. I’m glad I gave myself a year to work and gain some experience before heading off to grad school–job searching seems less daunting now that I’ve done it before.
Become a “Londoner”–whatever that ends up meaning. Before I first visited Goldsmiths in March 2017, I had never left Zone 1 on a trip to London. There’s lots to see in Central London, of course, but part of what drew me to Goldsmiths was its location in a place where Londoners actually live. Going to uni in Central London kind of felt like going to uni in Midtown Manhattan–busy and full of activity, but not really with much local flavor. I already know I love London (and they might never let me back into New York for saying this, but it is the best city in the world), but I’m excited to get to know London as a local.
So there are my school year resolutions! We’ll see how I stick to them–maybe I’ll check in at the end of the spring term to see how they’re holding up.
PS – I’m trying to get in the habit of using British spellings because I’ll have for coursework, so please forgive any stray Us 🙂