So You Want To Study… Film and Television!

Hello all! This week’s “So You Want To Study” post, in fact, comes from yours truly.  I spent four glorious years studying Film and Television Studies at the University of Glasgow, and I had an absolute ball.  So today I thought I’d tell you all about it, in case you are considering taking the leap and studying it yourself!

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I like to think the incredible television show 24 is responsible for my decision to study Film and TV.  Sure, I’d loved films and television all my life, but it wasn’t until I watched that first series, seeing Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer for the first time, experiencing the revolutionary style of the show, and becoming consumed not only by the storyline, but by the entire process of the show, that I realised I was more than just your regular TV fan.  I was fascinated, watching the behind the scenes features on the DVDs time and time again, reading interviews with the producers and writers online, and writing my own little reviews (which the world never saw – I didn’t have a blog back then!).  I just thought it was incredible, and I remember thinking – I could keep watching and talking about this forever, and never run out of things to say.

The first thing I’ll say about making the decision to study film and TV, is that you have to figure out whether or not you are interested in the technical side of things.  This will decide which sort of course you should apply for, and will therefore affect which university you attend.

I, however, wanted to write about films and television, learn about the history of these two mediums we take so much for granted nowadays, and explore the ways in which they interact with and influence our society.  I wanted to study different genres, and talk about different writers.  Basically, I wanted to do an English Literature degree, but studying the big and small screens instead of books.

So if you decide that sounds like the kind of course for you, keep reading! It was one of the best experiences of my life, and while I might have gone on to study a Masters in something different, I wouldn’t change those four years for the world.

False Perceptions…

One thing to expect from a film and television studies course is that, despite the fact it is a widely respected subject now, you will still meet the odd person who, when you tell them what you’re studying, will say: “Is that even a thing?!”, or “Yeah, because sitting watching films all day counts as studying.” Ignore them.  Films and television shows have a huge impact on our society, from the traditional notion of “Water Cooler” conversation pieces, to the way news is reported (which is particularly interesting in terms of politics at the moment).  Today, social media allows us to share in global television experiences, and even things like the certification process of movies is inextricably tied to our ideas of what is age appropriate – something which, I can tell you, has changed a lot over the years. The types of films and shows made in different countries can tell us so much about different cultures, and don’t even get me started on the gender and sexuality implications of what we see on screen (trust me, the Gender and Sexuality module, which was part of my second year course, was one of my favourites – we could be here all day!).

Don’t Study Film and Television if…

1) … you don’t like the idea of the way you view films and TV changing.  It sounds obvious, but once you study something, it becomes very difficult to view it in the way you did before.  Once you’ve broken down film conventions, TV trends, audience engagement, and all of the other things you will look into over the three or four years of your studies, it inevitably changes your relationship with it.  I’ve had people say to me countless time “But surely you can’t enjoy it if you’re analysing it all the time? Can’t you just sit and watch a film?”  The answer to that is, I don’t know.  In some ways, I don’t think I can just watch a film any more, but truthfully, I wouldn’t change that.  I LOVE talking about and analysing television (if you’ve seen my original YouTube channel, you’ll be only too aware of this fact!).  I still get completely caught up in the story of whatever I’m watching, but I do always notice the writing and the camera work, and I always question why certain decisions were made behind the camera. And nine times out of ten, I will go online afterwards and start reading up more about whatever I’ve just watched.

2) … you don’t like watching subtitled films.  This is one I’ve heard a lot – people saying they “just can’t concentrate on watching the film and reading the subtitles at the same time”.  If you choose to study film and television, you will be viewing subtitles on a very regular basis, sometimes doing entire units worth of foreign cinema.

3) This leads me on to point three – don’t study film and television studies if you only like Hollywood blockbuster movies.  They will make up a very small portion of what you watch over the years. You will watch a lot of incredible indie movies, as well as some very strange, often very disturbing films. Eventually you will become somewhat immune to these, but prepare to be slightly mentally scarred to begin with. Ever heard of Jean-Luc Godard’s “Weekend”? Yeah. That was an experience.

4) … if you think it’s going to be easy. I once did an entire module on Children’s Television and spent five hours at a time watching and analysing In the Night Garden and Lazy Town  – in theory, that sounds like a breeze, but (aside from the fact that after an hour of Lazy Town you’re already close to losing your marbles), the critical theories involved are far more complex than you might imagine.  There are a lot of essays, even more reading, and, quite possibly because there are still some people out there who question the subject, your lecturers will be sure to really challenge you, so you have to be prepared to really put in the work. It so worth it though!!

What might you study?

Every course will be different, but the following list makes up the modules I studied over the course of my four years of uni:

In first year, we studied two large modules titled “Reading the Screen: Cinema”, and “Reading the Screen: Television”.  In second year, our modules were titled “History, Aesthetics and Genre”, and “Spectatorship, Audiences and Identities”.  Then, in our Honours years (3rd and 4th year), we were free to select  individual modules from a long list.  I chose: Film Analysis, Television Analysis, Contemporary Television Drama, Media and Cultural Policy, Asian Cinema, Screen Audiences, Screen Performance, Animation, Scotland: Film and Television, Children’s Television and, my compulsory Dissertation.

My dissertation was 12,500 words long, and examined the representation of familial relationships in teen television.  I studied Veronica Mars and Gossip Girl, examining the trend of complicated parent/child relationships on television aimed at a young audience.  I can say, hand on heart, I loved researching and writing my dissertation, and it makes me sad that I don’t hear more people say that.

I should also mention at this point that on my particular course, by third year there were a couple of more practical modules to choose, which involved some behind the camera work for the more practical-work-orientated students!

The best things about it?

One of my favourite things about my course was the passion everyone felt for what they were studying. In my experience, film and television students are an incredibly passionate bunch.  Yes, you will meet a few pretentious people along the way – but I’m willing to bet that’s the case with every creative subject. The love we all had for films and television led to fascinating conversations, lively debates, and some brilliant essays. Secondly, I got to write about such a wide variety of film and televisual texts, and discovered films and genres I would never have found, or given a chance otherwise.  But most importantly, it completely widened my horizons, gave me much more cultural awareness (not only of our own media and culture, but of cultures at an international level), and taught me so much about how interconnected our society is with what we’re watching on screen.  It also opened my eyes more than ever to issues of gender inequality and feminism, thanks to some of my absolutely incredible lecturers.

All in all, it was an amazing experience, and I was genuinely heartbroken when we graduated and it was all over. Aside from the course itself, I met some of my best friends during those four years , and it was our love for what we were studying that brought us all together *cue sentimental music*…

So, to any of you out there considering studying Film and Television Studies, I hope this post was helpful! Let me know in the comments if you are on a similar course at the moment, or if you’re heading off to study it after the summer!

Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend!

Lynsey x

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So You Want To Study: Digital Media!

It’s that time of week again! Friday’s are all about sharing our experiences of studying different courses, and I’m loving posting these fantastic guest posts from students or graduates. This week’s post comes from Jilly, the lovely blogger behind My Name Is Jilly, who is studying Digital Media. If you like the sound of that, keep reading, and you might find that this is exactly the course for you!

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When you make the decision to study, either at College or University, it doesn’t always mean that you know exactly what you want to do with your life. After leaving school at the end of 5th year, I managed to get into University a year early to study a Bachelor of Arts degree in Digital Media. I’ve always been into media, whether it be watching the news or writing my blog, so I took a risk and decided to make it my career objective and to study it at University.

I wanted to study Digital Media because I had always had bad experiences with journalists. Having a family member who regularly featured in the news gave me exposure to the harsh reality of cut throat journalism. I wanted to aspire to become a better journalist than those I had encountered. I love to write, one of the main reasons I started my blog, and so I decided to go for it!

My course consists of Film Studies, Writing for the Media, Radio and also some design aspects. If you’re looking for a course which can give you a few career paths, then I would definitely  recommend Digital Media at the University of Stirling. The most surprising thing about my course was how much freedom we had, being able to choose what we could write about and the medium in which we presented information, in documentaries, radio shows and magazines. At school you are very much restricted in how you do things and I love how University allows you to choose what you’re best at and go with it.
The reality of Digital Media is that if you hate writing, it’s not the course for you. Even if you want to make documentaries or radio shows, the workload of writing is intense. Last semester I had over 14 essays due, totally around 10,000 words written which is a lot! Even when making documentaries, you must fill out risk assessments, schedules and treatments, making it just as heavy writing wise as making a magazine.

In our course, we don’t have exams in first or second year. Instead, we do a graded unit which sees us making a documentary, magazine, film or online content. Although this means you don’t have the pressure of exams, the workload means that you have strict deadlines which cannot be changed, meaning that organisation is key to pass the course.

All of this aside, I would’t change my course for the world as I feel like I’ve already learned so much in the such a short space of time. If you have any more questions which I haven’t covered please feel free to contact me!

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Thanks so much to Jilly for writing this post – I have to admit, I’m now seriously intrigued by her course, it sounds as if it would have been right up my street! Why can’t I just stay at uni forever and go and study course after course?!

Hope you’re all having a lovely day, and if you have exams this week I wish you lots of luck!

Have a great weekend!

Lynsey x

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So you want to study: Veterinary Science!

Happy Friday all – I’m so excited to bring you the first in my new series today! “So you want to study..?” is a series I mentioned a few weeks ago, where guest bloggers can create a post telling you all about their experience of studying a particular course!

First up, we have the lovely Emma from A Little Freckle.  Emma is studying Veterinary Science, and kindly took the time to give us a little insight into what it’s really like to study to be a vet.

So take it away Emma!

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First things first, if you want a job that will make you rich then stop reading here…Veterinary is not for you!!!

It is a common misconception that vets are rolling in the money. Their salaries are often compared to that of Medics and Doctors, which is just not how it is. If you want to be a Vet you have to have the passion to want to do it, otherwise you might be left very tired, stressed and disappointed.

I’m Emma and I’m passionate about Veterinary Science! I have wanted to be a vet ever since I can remember. Initially, it was because I used to watch Animal Hospital on TV and there was a vet on that called Emma, which I loved. As I got older, I looked into it a bit more and despite being told how hard it was, I was never put off. In fact, the more I learnt about it, the more I wanted to do it.

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Veterinary offers the chance to work with both people and animals! You can’t really say you want to be a vet because you don’t like working with people, because actually, you work with both sides of the lead and either one can be pretty aggressive at times haha!

You also get to play detective because ‘animals can’t talk can they?!’ – you would not believe the amount of times I have had this said to me! If you like problem solving, then maybe veterinary is something you’d enjoy as this is a skill you will need to use on a daily basis.

Before applying for the course, it is essential to have some work experience – my particular vet school ask for a minimum of ten weeks and it should include things like working in kennels, on a dairy farm, at a stable and in veterinary practices. As a five year course, it’s best to get an idea of what you’re getting into before you sign up! You will also be interviewed about these when applying so make sure you know your stuff!

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Having fun at the Vets Halfway Weekend in the Lake District!

The work load can be overwhelming at times but many of the vet schools have very active societies and organise lots of social events – work hard, play hard! It is like a big vetty family and it’s so lovely and supportive! You will have to give up more of your time in the holidays too in order to do compulsory placements, but these are usually really fun!

Getting into vet school is tough as there are only 8 in the country with limited places! It took me two goes and I was heartbroken not to get in the first time, but it’s so important not to give up on your dream – and this was mine!

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I have so much to say about this topic as it is without a doubt my biggest passion, so if anybody is thinking about being a vet, I would love for you to contact me to find out more!


Thanks so much to Emma for taking the time to write this post! You can find her blogging away over at A Little Freckle, or follow her on twitter at @alfreckle and instagram at @reils92!

I’m so pleased to have the first in this series live – keep your eyes peeled for the next post, which will go up two weeks from now!! And remember to check out my last post to find out how you could win a copy of the amazing book “How to be a Knowledge Ninja” by Graham Allcott!

If you would like to write a guest post for this series, please drop me an email at thestudentswitchboard@gmail.com, or contact me at any of the social media links below!

Thanks for reading – have a great weekend!

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Guest Bloggers Needed: “So you want to study…?”

Happy Friday everyone – hope you’re all well.  Can we really be a week into March already??!
Today I wanted to talk to you about a series I’ve been planning for this blog.  As much as I had an incredible time at university, and picked up lots of tips and tricks along the way, when it comes to advice on college/university course content my experience is more limited – one person can only study so many subjects!  During my undergrad, I studied Film and Television Studies, Theatre Studies and Comparative Literature, and then went on to do my Masters in International Marketing . So while I can give advice on student life in general, I’m going to need some assistance when it comes to discussing particular courses – and that’s where you come in!!

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“So you want to study…?”
I’ve decided to call the series “So you want to study…?”, with the relevant course name added to the title of each post. If you study English Lit, then, your post title will be “So you want to study English Literature?” (pretty self-explanatory!). Whether you’re studying at the moment or have already graduated, I want to hear from you! I’m looking for guest posts on as many different courses as possible – so whether you’re studying Medicine, Mechanical Engineering, Makeup or Marketing, drop me an email or leave a comment on this post!
These posts will deal with expectations vs reality, work load, pros and cons, the application process, and what made you want to study the subject you chose! It’ll be a great way to cover a wide variety of subjects, and will hopefully provide some really useful content for anyone contemplating applying for university or college, or even someone who is thinking about changing their course! Eventually I’m hoping to take the series over onto YouTube too, and do some uni experience collaboration videos, so keep your eyes peeled for that in the future!!
You don’t have to be a blogger to take part – but if you are, all your links will be included in the posts, so it’s a good little networking opportunity too! This is going to be an ongoing project, so if you’re busy with course work/assessments right now, don’t worry! Just leave me a comment or tweet me to let me know you’re interested and we can pencil you in for a post for later in the year!
You can follow me on Facebook or Twitter (@studentswitch) for more updates on this project, or email me at thestudentswitchboard@gmail.com!
Thanks so much for reading guys, and have a fantastic weekend!
Lynsey x
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