I wanted to study in London (I was already living in London at the time) and Middlesex was one of two universities that offered degrees in publishing. I didn't know too much about the university but was impressed by the prospectus and the course description.
I wanted to study publishing but I also had an interest in journalism too. It was the only course that gave me the opportunity to combine both publishing and journalism modules. I loved the fact I could pick and choose what I wanted to study from a list of modules.
I found the lectures really insightful as we learnt a lot of theory, along with the group tasks/discussions in classes. It was interesting to hear and bounce ideas around with other students. Although I roughly knew what direction I wanted my career to go in, I had an interest in lots of areas so I thought it was great that I could study travel writing, online publishing, writing and publishing for children and editing as part of the same course.
I started off at the Tottenham campus which no longer exists but the library was fantastic – great books and lots of computers to complete and research essays. I spent the last 6 or 7 months of my course at Trent Park. The grounds and the main [Georgian] building were visually stunning and again the library was a great resource. The canteen was a sociable place to meet up with friends. I didn't stay in halls and I'm not really into sports so I can't really comment on those facilities unfortunately.
Probably during my first month or so I would sit in lectures with the new friends I'd made and listen intently as I really liked what I was learning and felt that the course was ideal for me and my career aspirations. Socialising with friends was great too of course.
Do your research and pick a course most closely related to what interests you (it helps to be passionate about what you study). Attend an Open Day if possible so you get a feel for the campus and get any questions you have answered. Studying in London is also great as that in itself can open up lots of opportunities for work and work experience placements.
I'm currently on maternity leave from my job as a Picture Researcher but Middlesex University gave me the skills, qualifications and confidence to apply for my first role out of university as an Editorial Assistant for a brand new magazine. Within four months the editor position became available and the publisher asked me to fill the role!
Eventually I decided I wanted to work in pictures but my degree certainly opened the doors to the work placements I did after I left Middlesex and eventually landing my dream role the following year.
I used the theory and skills acquired in the book and magazine editing module throughout my time as Editor of Colures magazine. I put together a 'style' sheet as a guide for freelance sub-editors/proof readers to follow based on what I'd learnt at Middlesex.
Publishing/Media is the only industry I'm passionate about so I knew I definitely needed a role within the industry. The pros are it's very fun, creative, interesting and rewarding (it's great seeing people buying the publication you've worked on in the supermarket/newsagents). There can be great perks too – attending events/freebies. The cons are there's a lot of competition for roles so you really have to work hard to get in. When you start at the bottom the money isn't great and you don't get corporate bonuses!
I did quite a few work placements after leaving university and during the summer holidays of my second year too. It all looked great on my CV so when I applied for the role of editorial assistant I was more than qualified, along with my related degree.
Although I work in pictures now, it was such a confidence boost to get promoted from editorial assistant to editor in under 6 months. I'm also proud that I wasn't afraid to take the leap from editorial to pictures a few years down the line.
Apply for lots of work experience if you can afford to do so. Even a week or two will look great on your CV. Most places reimburse travel expenses and it will pay off in the long run as magazines/media/publishing recruit people with experience.
Gorkana is a really good source for not only jobs but work placements/internships.
Work hard, aim high and believe in yourself.
I didn't go to university until I was 23 as at 18 I was happy working in a PA/admin role. At 23 I worked out what I wanted to do and became a 'mature student'. I would say to my 18 year old self 'everything happens for a reason and don't worry, it will all work out in the end'.