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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Exams: How To Prepare Like A Pro!

It’s mid April, which can mean only one thing – exams are just around the corner. Timetables vary from university to university, but generally exam season is late April to the end of May and it’s a period that results in a lot of stressed students camping out in the library, cramming for their final assessments.  Coupled with the fact that you probably still have coursework due in, April and May can quickly become the months we dread the most each year over the course of our degrees!

So this post is just a few tips on preparing for your exams like a pro! Taking all of these tips into consideration might make this stressful time a little bit easier.

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1. Get Enough Sleep

This isn’t just a study tip, but a general life tip, and it’s one that I’m still having to work on. And since it’s currently 1.30am when I’m writing this, I’d say I still need to improve! I’m a night owl, always have been, and there’s nothing wrong with that – if you’re at your most productive at 1am, that’s great! Just make sure that you don’t have to be up at 6am the next day. Your sleep pattern can be whatever works best for you, as long as you’re clocking up enough hours before and after a huge study session. Sleep does wondrous things for us – it is proven to improve memory (clearly a plus when revising for exams!), increase creativity and lower stress!

2. Get Organised

When you have several exams to study for, it can become overwhelming. You might have three exams in a week, so sitting with all of your notes for each subject scattered around your desk will not help you feel any better about it! I’ve mentioned enough times by now my love for To-Do Lists and planners, and these can be your best friends at a time like this! Write down all of your exams dates and prioritise. That way you know exactly how much you have to do and rather than worrying about it, you can just start working on it!

3. Figure out what works for you

Group study sessions do not work for everyone. When it comes to prepping for exams, some people like nothing more than to congregate with their classmates to study, and there are lots of benefits in this. Bouncing ideas off one another might spark something in you, and can be a great way of covering more ground quickly. However, for others, group study sessions are a nightmare – you begin to panic that everyone knows more than you (which they don’t!) and you’re lagging behind (you’re not!), and that can have a massive impact on your ability to concentrate. So just figure out what works for you and go from there. As long as it isn’t during a group project, there’s nothing wrong with deciding you study much better holed up alone in your room!

4. Take regular breaks

Your brain can only take in so much information at a time, so don’t try to force yourself to keep going when you’ve reached that point. If you’ve been in the library for five hours and realise than in the past twenty minutes you’ve read the same sentence ten times, while absent mindedly checking your phone, it’s time for a break. Going for a walk, stopping to have lunch with a friend, or even just giving yourself a half hour “social media” break to check your twitter/instagram/Facebook can work wonders. You’ll feel much better taking a deliberate break than you will if you accidentally waste an hour just sitting blankly staring at the computer screen!

5. Take the pressure off

This sounds like an absolutely ridiculous thing to say considering these marks affect your degree, but try to take the pressure off, and remind yourself that you can only do your best.  If you’ve put the work in, you’ll more than likely be absolutely fine. And if it doesn’t go as well as you’d hoped, it’s not the end of the world! It’s all part of the big old uni learning curve. This is something I was terrible for – I put a tremendous amount of pressure on myself round about assessment time, and it’s never conducive to a calm mind set!  Keeping things in perspective is always helpful – each exam is just one piece of the university puzzle, and while striving to do well is great, it’s never worth making yourself ill with worry! Put in the work, do your best, and that’s all anyone can ask of you!

If you have exams coming up soon, good luck!! I hope you’re managing not to stress too much, and just think about what a great month June will be!

What are your top tips for exam study?

Lynsey x

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So You Want To Study: Public Relations!

Happy Friday all – hope you’re having a lovely to start to the Easter weekend!

Today I’m delighted to bring you the second in the “So you want to study” series! This post comes from the lovely Sophie from Books and Beauty, who is here to give us a bit of insight into what it’s like to study PR!

Take it away Sophie!

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If you have always dreamed of working in the media, like myself, then a degree in Public Relations could be for you.

Since before I picked my GCSE’s subjects, I always knew I wanted to work in the media. When I say media, I mean magazines, newspapers and anything remotely related to that sector. Many people view ‘the media’ as the monthly glossy women’s magazines or daily national and regional newspapers. However the media is much more than that.

I always thought I wanted to study Journalism. I had the hazy view and false representation that journalism was interviewing celebrities and attending star studded events, possibly even becoming a news presenter. I even lined up work experience at my local newspaper to give me experience before I started university because I was so determined to become a journalist. When I went to university to study it, I decided it wasn’t for me and researched other areas of the media where I could still express my creativity through writing and discovered Public Relations.

Choosing to study Public Relations was the best decision I ever made. I had no clue what it was about or what was required to become the best PR practitioner. University helped me with that and my time there and studying PR is something I consider as the best time of my life.

In a nutshell, Public Relations is engaging with the public through the many aspects of media; social, print, online, broadcast. You are the person responsible for getting a company or organisations voice and message across to hundreds and thousands of people, and when you do it right and see your work in publications, there is no better feeling.

Expectation vs Reality:

When first studying PR, many of my course mates, myself included, thought PR was like Absolutely Fabulous and everything related to Max Clifford. If you have that image of what PR is like, get rid of it! Not to dampen spirits, but Public Relations is much more than that. It’s about communication, engagement, listening, speaking.

I thought my course would be filled with girls who dreamed of working with celebrities and high profile clients. Not to say this won’t happen, because it could! But you won’t start off doing that straight away. Despite my course being 90% girls, there were also plenty of males who knew what sector of PR they wanted to work in and were ready to face the challenges and assignments thrown at us.

Assessment:

Public Relations assessment at university is 95% writing based. Assignments are the main type of assessment but you are also required to do presentations on topics related to PR. In your final year you are also required to complete a Dissertation on a topic of your choice, or an Applied Project where you undertake work experience at a company.

Modules:

This is the fun part! Each semester you study three modules based around PR. These may include:

– The History of PR – PR Practices – Events Management – Professional Writing – Corporate PR

– Community PR – Celebrity PR – Issues and Crisis Management – PR Theory – Contemporary Issues in PR

Those are just a selection of some of the modules you can expect to study when doing a Public Relations degree. Don’t let the titles of some of them put you off, though! Public Relations is an age old industry dating back to the 1900’s and despite only being recognised as an academic course around 30 years ago, the industry is continually developing and fast becoming a preferred course for those wanting to work in the media.

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I hope this gave you some insight into what it is like to study PR! I now work at a PR agency as a Junior Account Executive and absolutely love my job. If you would like to know any other information on Public Relations or university experiences, please contact me! I would be more than happy to help!


Thanks so much to Sophie for a great post! You can find her blogging at www.booksandbeauty.co.uk , follow her on Twitter at @SBookBeautyBlog or Instagram at sopheleanor, or drop her an email at sbooksandbeauty@hotmail.com :)

Have a lovely holiday weekend everyone, and I’ll see you on Monday for a new video!

Lynsey x

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5 Reasons Not To Skip Class!

There’s a certain freedom associated with heading off to university.  For the past thirteen or even fourteen years of your life, you’ve been in school, with a strict timetable setting out exactly where you have to be and when, from 9 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon.  If you don’t show up to class, your teacher will notice, you will be pulled up for it, and if you miss enough, your parents or guardians are probably going to receive a call from the school!
When you go off to university, however, it’s like a whole new world! You might only have two classes in a day, and what’s more, you’ll find that there’s no-one there to chase you to them.  Suddenly it’s your responsibility to get yourself to class and do the work! While some universities have a clock in system for their classes to monitor your attendance, no one really has time to run around after you.  There can, then, be a temptation to relish that freedom a little too much!

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Picture this: you’ve been on a brilliant night out with your flatmates/classmates, and you have a lecture at 9am.  You wake up at 8 o’clock feeling a little worse for wear, running on about three hours sleep and instantly regretting that bag of chips and cheese that you just had to have the night before on the way home!
Your friend texts you and says: “No chance I’m making this class – it’s fine, lecture notes are all online anyway.”
So what do you do?! Drag yourself out of bed and make your way to class, or hit the snooze button and snuggle back up for another couple of hours?
Here are 5 reasons to do the former and get yourself to as many of your classes as possible!!
1. Not everything is in the lecture notes!
The internet is a wonderful thing, and the ability to post information for students to access out of class is amazing.  Despite what people tell you, however, not everything is included in the online lecture notes.  They are usually just that – notes! Bullet points, or snippets to get you started.  It’s often when the lecturer gets properly into the discussion that some of the most useful information comes up! A question from a student can lead the lecturer to say something that makes everything click into place for you – something that happened to me in one of my first year classes! If you don’t go to class, you run the risk of missing out on that crucial information!
2. Going to class gets you noticed!
In school you’ll probably be one of about thirty children in a class, sometimes less.  In a first year English literature lecture, you might be one of hundreds of students.  Making the effort to go to your classes, your seminars/tutorials in particular, means you will be able to build a relationship with your lecturers/tutors.  This can be helpful in the event that you’re struggling with an assessment, or need a reference for a future course or job.  If your tutors see that you’re putting in the work, they are much more likely to want to help you!
3. You’ll make friends!
This one is particularly relevant if you haven’t moved away from home to study, but it applies to everyone! If you deliberately skip class, you won’t get chatting to the people who are studying the same subjects as you.  If you make friends on your course, future group work projects will be easier, and you’ll have people to turn to for help/notes if you do end up having to miss a class at some point. Regardless of that, these are the people who have applied for the same course as you, so you’ll instantly have common ground and something to bond over – don’t miss out on the opportunity to meet people who might become lifelong friends!
4. Self-Motivation is a powerful thing!
Pushing yourself to go to that 4pm lecture on the topic you’re least interested in when a Netflix binge in your pyjamas sounds like so much more fun is a great thing! Working on your self-motivation means that when you go out and get a job, or even more so, if you decide to start your own business, you’ll be used to making yourself do the work when there’s no-one else there to push you!
5. You went to uni to learn, right?!
There are so many amazing things about university – the friends you make, the confidence and independence you gain, the nights out you might go on (if that’s your thing – it’s totally okay, however, if it isn’t, but more on that another time!) and the inspirational people you’ll encounter. When it comes down to it though, you didn’t spend all that money (depending on where you live, it can be A LOT of money!), just to have fun nights out, did you? You could have had fun nights out and saved yourself a whole heap of cash by just going straight into a job after school! If you’ve gone to university it means that to some extent, you are interested in the course you’ve chosen, so don’t let that passion go to waste and enjoy the experience of learning about that subject! You might find that this isn’t the course for you and end up changing to study something else, but you won’t know that unless you go to your classes!
So those are my top five reasons why you should fight the urge to curl back up under your duvet and get yourself to that next 9am tutorial!!
What are your top tips for keeping motivated during term time?
Lynsey x
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Introducing The Student Switchboard!

Hello everyone, and welcome to The Student Switchboard!

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For those of you who don’t know me already from my original blog Allsorts and Anecdotes, and YouTube channel, my name is Lynsey! I’m a twenty something year old social media and YouTube addict from Scotland, who loves to talk, tweet, drink tea and wear a lot of winged eyeliner.

Last month I decided to embark on a new little online project called The Student Switchboard.  I’ll just put it out there right away – I LOVED being a student. And not just in a “the student lifestyle suits me” kind of a way; I genuinely love learning, and studying is something I got so much out of.  I left high school and went off to Glasgow University to start what was the amazing next chapter of my life!  I graduated with an MA Honours Degree in Film and Television Studies in 2011, having had four of the best years of my life to date.  I made some incredible friends, wrote about some amazing films and shows, read some amazing books and gained confidence in leaps and bounds.  I was a shy teenager, and University made the biggest difference to my self-belief and brought me out of my shell.

Then I graduated and things all got a bit more complicated.  I managed to graduate in the midst of the recession, at the toughest time to be in the market for a job, and getting an interview never mind an actual job was proving to be near impossible.  It was made harder by the fact I wasn’t entirely sure what it was that I wanted to do – all I knew was that I really loved social media.  So I did the only thing there was to do – I got myself some work experience, working unpaid internships and doing freelance bits and pieces (that’s where my love of blogging and YouTube really came in handy!).  Then, at the beginning of March 2013, I took the plunge and jetted off to Australia for two months, travelling via Hong Kong, and exploring Sydney, Melbourne and Port Douglas.  It was one of the scariest, best things I’ve ever done. I vlogged the trip, which you can see on my original YouTube channel here!

The Student Switchboard Travelling
Chilling with my kangaroo friend in Port Douglas, Queensland!

When I arrived home, I was once again looking for a job, and it was an exhausting process.  I managed to land a part time job with a magazine, but what I really craved was the routine I had had when I was at University.  I wanted to work in social media, but every interview I went to ended the same way – “Your CV is really interesting, and you’ve got great experience – but you don’t have a marketing qualification.”

So, in August 2013, I applied to Glasgow Caledonian University to study my Masters Degree in International Marketing, and I never looked back.  Last year was one of the busiest, and most intense years of my life, and I learnt so much, so quickly.  I loved being back at University, wrote a dissertation I was extremely passionate about, and I graduated last November with Distinction. It was an amazing day.

The Student Switchboard Graduation
Obligatory pose on graduation day!

Fast forward to last month – January 2015.  I was thinking about how much I loved being a student, and all the tips and tricks I learnt along the way, and it occurred to me that I hadn’t ever seen a dedicated YouTube channel, solely set up to chat about all things college, university, and student life.  Being a student comes with a lot of practical and emotional ups and downs – from the costs of buying books, to finding productive ways of studying, to settling in after the transition from high school.  Having been through it all twice, and having the passion for YouTube I already have, I decided I was going to start a YouTube channel to do just that – to discuss any possible topic that could apply to student life.  And I’m really, really excited about it!!

So, a month later, here we are! The Student Switchboard is live, with two videos for you to check out, and all social platforms ready and raring to go! I’ll link them all at the end of this post for you to check out.

Thank you so much for stopping by, and please leave me a comment letting me know what you’re studying, or if you can think of any topics that might be useful for me to cover – I’m all ears! And if you’re interested, you can follow this blog at the link below, or subscribe to my channel so you never miss a video!

Hope you all have an amazing day!

Lynsey x

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