Graduates / Journalism skills / Natasha Slee

Could 2013 be the best year yet? By Natasha Slee

January 2013: the very beginning of a guaranteed eventful year. Guaranteed, because by June I will have graduated from the London College of Fashion, leaving the education system forever and making my first tentative steps proper into the world of work. For the first time, I honestly have no idea where I will be in twelve months – how exciting! 2013 feels like the next big step; like a whole new adventure.

One tiny weeny somewhat significant issue: I have to graduate first.

Tomorrow is the first major deadline of the New Year, the hand in of a first draft of my dissertation. If you read my last blog post for Jump for Journalism, you’ll know that I intended to keep low over Christmas and study. I did study, however…those Christmas films, wheels of Brie, and an overstocked fridge of wine – it’s all just so tempting isn’t it?

Suffice to say, once the New Year celebrations were over, it was head-down and locked-on to the laptop and an endless pile of cultural theory books. There were tears, there were tantrums, there were midnight trips to the shop for Lucozade, but I did it. I wrote the requisite 4000-word literature review. In exactly eight weeks time, the whole dissertation is due. I’ve learnt my lesson this time; I won’t be leaving it to the last minute. She says.

Photo on 2013-01-08 at 00.12 #2 (1)

This week also marks the final unit brief of our degree, the scheme of work for the next two terms. Despite the unit being based on self-directed study, the handbook is jam-packed with tutorials and seminars, and a week-by-week schedule telling us where we should be in our project by each week. Eek!

As part of our final major project hand-in, we must submit a 3000-word rationale. This must build upon our research and analysis from last term’s project proposal, so we are expected to continue audience and market research throughout the project – as well as producing the magazine itself, of course.

Showing admirable enthusiasm, I conducted some further research this week by interviewing a male secondary school teacher about the behaviour of teenage girls aged 14-17. (I am producing a magazine for teenage girls for my final major project.) I was keen to interview a male teacher over a female one, as I felt a female teacher would be too sympathetic, having been a teenage girl herself. It was interesting to hear my interviewee talk about how girls interact, about how clever and calculating they can be, and how they manifest their worries and anxieties. Research like this is key to understanding my audience, and next I plan to conduct a focus group with mothers of teenage girls.

“Showing admirable enthusiasm, I conducted some further research this week…”

One of the main worries I had with this project was how to fund it. Printing costs alone are estimated to be £300-£400, and I feel its only fair to financially reward your contributors, if only for expenses. As my student loan all goes towards rent, and my part time job towards living costs, I knew there would be little money left over. I applied to my university’s final year fund, explaining my situation, and how important a supporting grant would be. I reasoned that, in order to fund my project, I would have to take up more part-time work, which would result in less time to dedicate to my studies – a catch 22. Fortunately they were able to offer me a grant to cover the entire project, fantastic news!

The next sixteen weeks are going to be hectic. The next six months are going to be…who knows?! Bring on 2013.

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