It is OK to come home

Course: BA (Hons) Fine Art

15 April 2019

Portrait photo of Kira Barnard, facing left, long hair in pony tail, with shadow on wall behind

My name is Kira and I am a transfer student to Anglia Ruskin from another university.

When picking a university I wanted to move away and start fresh.  I chose my original university for its amazing facilities and different ways to produce work.  I am a Fine Art student, so I looked for the size of the printmaking room, photography studios and dark rooms, as that is what I use.

Within the first two or three weeks I realised that there was a reason for having a huge print room and loads of facilities: to accommodate the 86 students on the course in my year and the 203 people in years two & three.

The university offered every single creative subject you could think of, including a Masters and a Foundation course in all of them.  All of them shared the wood shop room and metal room on 12 floors of this massive building.  I quickly realised I was no more than one in a million and, because I wasn’t the loudest, I didn’t get the attention I needed from tutors to progress my work.

I started to hate the university, and my course, and didn’t get on with my flat mates.  My mental health really took a hit.  I would come home to Ely in Cambridgeshire every Thursday and go back every Sunday, which meant I had no money to do anything.  I felt alone whilst at university and, every Sunday, couldn’t help but get upset, which is when I knew I had to come home to finish my course.

Anglia Ruskin is my local university and the best place for me.  It welcomed me with open arms and really saw my potential.  Rob Holyhead and Benet Spencer have helped me develop not only my work but also me as a person, and made me feel confident about the work I produce. I promised them I would work hard and they have supported me so much that I now love what I do and my mental health has calmed down a lot.

Making friends was easy, as it was a small year of 30 people.  Throughout the experience I have learned that not moving away and staying at home doesn’t mean your university experience has to be any different.  As an artist, my work has never been stronger and I am excited to be doing my dissertation next year on something I am truly passionate about. 

I am a stronger person for getting through that first year, and have that experience to know where I want to be and what I want to do. I want to become an art teacher and influence the young minds of creative people to make any choices they wish, and be proud of any work they make.

My work has been exhibited on the Ruskin balcony and will, for a brief time, be shown in Mumford corridor.  I have ARU to thank for creating this opportunity for me.

To anyone who hates university, it is okay to come home.

Kira Barnard