Wednesday, 24 March 2010You know when you dream of being a place it can seem so, so far away?
I've finally achieved a real dream, and I will work my arse off for it.
Friday 12th March, 8:45 I left my sister's house, decked in polkadots and armed with a portfolio, my stomach was doing somersaults as I made why way to Bermondsey tube station. There, I took the tube to the first step in doing something with myself.
I must have been a strange sight to the commuters this early in the morning, my hair sky-high and a large bow placed to the side of my head, the strange looks were a welcome affirmation that yes, my "I-made-this-yesterday" polkadot dress was just a bit strange, and I couldn't help but smile to myself.
Finally approaching Cyprus DLR station, I honestly didn't know how I didn't pass out from nerves. I was attending my first University interview at the University of East London, a uni that I quite wanted to go to, as it seemed to be very rooted in creativity, but also learning, and was a mostly independent university, where I could have room to grow as a person.
It was only 9:15 by the time I'd arrived in the AVA building, and with asking a very friendly man what on earth to do, I was shown into the admins office, where I was told to wait outside for N. Shah to come and take me upstairs at 10. Quarter of a pack of cigarettes where smoked by the time a girl and her friend turned up, her name was Devon, and she was nervous as you would be, but a really nice girl who was happy enough to chat over the sounds of orgasms in the background [Art installations are strange], and discuss about previous interviews. This was my first.
By the time eleven people had turned up for the same interview, my nerves were growing instantly. My dear friend Flo, who is currently on her first year on the fashion course, was nice enough to come over and try and calm me, by talking about the course, what the first year means, what she sees people do, what she has done, and even what her interview was like.
I was beginning to really like the sound of this course.
And immediately was more nervous than before.
By the time 10:15 rolled up, I'd smoked half a pack of cigarettes, my hands were shaking, but luckily I was escorted upstairs with the other ten girls for our interview. We met with our interviewers, one stern-looking woman with short dark hair and reddened lips - whose name I cannot recall- and a lovely-looking grey-haired woman with a soft smile and a black dress I'd of worn myself called Rosemary.
As is any luck, the stern woman took most of the interview, giving us a long talk about the university, the courses they do with fashion, and what you will learn in your semesters in the next few years. "We do not produce big-name designers" was the most memorable of what the stern woman said, and a good few faces in the room fell instantly. "We produce more high-street-store designers." Not honestly my cup of tea, but there is always ways of getting around this.
After her talk, she smiles at the room and asks the question "Do you have any questions for us?" I'm interested in what students and designers universities produce, and my lecturer had given me the best question to ask.
"What are your last year's graduates doing now?"
Her face fell as I asked the question, my mind now running the "Oh fuck I blew it" thoughts over and over again. The two of them spent five minutes uhmming and ahhing over who they could remember from last year.
The only name they could think of was Lucy. She was now working with Ralph Lauren.
After this near-mishap, we were taken to place our portfolio's down, which we just left as we came back into the Fashion Futures studio, which we were then given a literacy and numeracy test, and a sort-of questionnaire about ourselves.
"You are given full roam of someone else's house. What room shows their personality most, and why?"
A long-answer question. Easy enough.
Numeracy? Not so much. I have never been good at it, and spent a great deal with my mind spinning "OH FUCK."
And then the questionnaire.
"Pick five of your favourite movies"
Michael Jackson's Moonwalker
Alice in Wonderland
Memoirs of a Geisha
"A book that you find influential"
Haruki Murakami - Blin Willow, Sleeping Woman
"Three magazines you read and why"
Dazed and Confused - for cutting-edge, quirky photography
Kera - For Japanese fashion inspiration
Alice A La Mode - For interesting spins on Lolita
"Five of your favourite international designers that are NOT Westwood or McQueen"
As well as questions on What is a pattern cutter, What is a pattern Master, What is WGSN, and Who is Viktor and Rolf?
After they'd looked at all our portfolios, our tests were taken in, and they picked us out, one-by-one for our interview.
We were left on our own, talking amongst ourselves about our colleges, our aspirations, even our own fashions. [In which, one girl said I looked like her friend Hannie, and that I was an adorable Lolita.] The girl sat next to me, Attia, was so sweet and shy, and was hoping to get out of London College of Fashion, as she was on the foundation degree, and couldn't stand it as a university.
The girls that were called out came back to wish us luck, all with different experiences.
"It was awful! She's so rude!"
"It was alright. Not too bad."
"It went great! She's lovely!
After talking so much, it was 1:40. In the afternoon, before I was called. I was the last person out of 12 to be called out. And by now I was just bored, hungry and sleepy. My nerves had died completely. Rosemary called my name with a smile, and took me to the stern woman, where on the way my nerves grew, and I commented on being there for so long and that I was looking forward to a coffee and a cigarette.
As I was taken to the stern woman, my portfolio was open to the last page [Which happened to be two illustration pieces of Toshiya from Dir en grey, which you can see here and here], and she was going over my numeracy paper.
"Andrea." She said. For some strange reason I wanted to cry suddenly.
"Your maths is appalling." I knew that already. "Your GCSEs are non-existent." I also knew that. She made that strange noise you make when your suck on your teeth.
"Why are your GCSE's so bad?" Depression, I answer, my voice shaking. She holds her hand out and nods. "That is fine, I don't need to know anymore."
"You portfolio is very thin." Uh-oh.
"There wasn't enough sketchbooks." Oh God.
"You do look like you are going into illustration." You asked for drawing! "You really want to go for fashion design?" Yes, I answer. I just enjoy drawing a lot. She nods.
"I really shouldn't do this - marketing is going to kill me, but. I'm going to offer you a place."
I'm stunned. I'm nearly in tears.
My whole life I'm told that I will never get anywhere, my GCSEs will hold me back from university, I'll just never make it. And I have a place. On the spot. No one else had mentioned they had been given a place. But I have.
"But." I'm scared of buts. "You will have to keep up well. You must do marketing in the first year, and with your maths you cannot fail it." I nod. "I understand. I will do my best." "So you shall. If you fail, I will kick you off the course myself."
"Please let us know soon if you wish to take the place."
Oh believe me. I shall. Once UCAS updates, I will take it straight away.
Rosemary smiles, helping my close my portfolio, commenting "It was worth the wait, wasn't it?" I just grin. I would have waited all day for a result like that.
With a sincere thank you to the two, I bowed my head and floated on out of the building.
I really did it.
This Andii is a successful Andii.