2 June 2016

Reflecting on 3 years of University - Obtaining my Degree in Performing Arts

I have officially finished University! I got my results this week and am proud to say I passed, with the results of this last semester being the best I have ever received. I now finally have a Bachelor's Degree in Performing Arts! Apart from a issue with my Canadian grades from my semester abroad being poorly translated into French grades, which robbed me of getting an honors, I'm very happy with the end of University. I'm waiting on a reply from my Uni concerning the latter, hopefully I will get the honors I worked my butt off for soon! 

I thought I would write down my thoughts about my University experience while it's still fresh in my mind!

  • Studying in France
First of all, when I chose to remain in France for University (having lived here since I was a child) it was because I wasn't ready to pack up and leave home, and also because my degree wouldn't cost me anything here in France. Most French unis charge about 150/year, however I paid about 15 for my degree, 5 per year for my student card. That is it. The thought of being 20,000+  in debt by the time I was 21 was too scary a thought, and so I decided to stay here in France for my studies. Being bilingual, I had no worries about language barriers or problems studying since I've only ever studied in my second language anyway. Looking back now, I wonder how different my experience would have been in England or elsewhere. From my experience, the Uni standard here in France isn't that high, unless you're in one of the major Universities situated in Paris.

  • Moving out of home into my own flat
My twin and I moved out of home at 18 and got our own flat that we rented for three years. The flat was in the town of Poitiers, a ten minute bus ride away from the University. I absolutely loved having my own place, it was my little haven away from home. It was also only 30 mins away from home by train, which allowed us to go home every other week-end. Living in a town for the first time was quite a shock to the system, especially after living in rural France for most of my life. I think living there was my favorite part of my University experience: I could walk everywhere, I could actually walk to the shops and get my food shopping, I could go to the cinema down the road whenever I wanted, and of course, my closest friends lived a few streets away. There was also a Zara 5 minutes away and of course a bakery right next door (priorities). It also allowed us to have more diverse posts on this blog, offering a choice of several different locations for pictures.

  • Standards and ranks
Being a 'free' university, and not a private one, it meant the budget can only stretch so far. Unfortunately the standard of my uni isn't that high (in my opinion). I won't go into too much detail, but to give you an idea, my University (Universite de Poitiers) is ranked at 736th in the worldwide rank, and number 19 in France. Having finished this degree, it has made me reconsider studying in England or abroad. I would have a scary amount of debt, but the University standard would probably make up for it.

  • Studying Film & Theater
I studied "Arts Du Spectacle" which translates to Performing Arts. First of all, the title was quite misleading. Yes, I studied Film & Theater, but my studies were concentrated on the historical and mostly theoretical aspect of them. I eventually had a few classes on acting, editing and writing (which I enjoyed the most!) and in my third year we had to film a short film (with a 75 budget. aha.)
However, I had very, very little experience on a film or theater set, which was a major disappointment as it's the area I'm hoping to work in in the future. If I decided to stay on for a masters, my break into the industry would probably be a lot smoother, but I've decided that I've had my share of the theoretical aspects of film and theater. Now I want to put all the theories to use and actually establish my creative vision into various projects. I will no doubt have to do more studies in a more precise field in the future, but for now, I'm just going to deal with the crushing, scary thought of being unemployed & no longer a full-time student. (Anyone else in the same boat??)
  • Studying Abroad
One of the greatest things my University has given me was my experience studying abroad for a semester. I took part in an international exchange program which allowed me to study in Ontario, Canada for my fifth semester. It was one of the most amazing, rewarding experiences of my life. Not only did I discover what it was like to study Film in another University, it was also the first time I studied in my mother language! I wrote a blog post about it here, and if you ever have the opportunity to study abroad, please look into it, you will not regret it!

Although my degree wasn't what I initially hoped it would be, I still gained a lot of knowledge from it, and I don't regret doing it. I've always loved the performing arts, and if anything doing this degree has made me appreciate it a lot more. I love films and television shows more than ever, I respect and admire actors, directors, scriptwriters and all of the hundreds of people who work on sets so much more. Whenever I watch something, I'm intrigued as to how they achieved that result. I love discovering the hidden symbolism and the foreshadowing, analyzing everything: the imagery and dialogue, all whilst admiring it at the same time. It has also helped me narrow down which aspect of film I would like to work in in the future. It's too early to tell at the moment, but I'm wondering whether or not I will in the future regret obtaining this degree instead of a more production-driven degree in Cinema. Either way, I have a degree in my pocket, and I'm looking forward to discovering what life as a graduate will be like. (hopefully not too depressing!)

Summer x

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