Diary of a Student: The End of the Beginning, by Abigail Martin
Abigail reflects on what she's learned in the first year of her Creative Writing degree (and it's more than just better writing).
I came to Falmouth University with one main purpose: to become a writer. That is, to reach the next level with my writing; to take advice from those who are experts in their field; to find inspiration in places I hadn’t thought of; and to practice methods that would make me more disciplined and creative. I knew I had the potential to be a good writer, but also that I hadn’t found myself yet. I didn’t have a definitive style, and I knew I had faults in areas of my work that I didn’t know how to improve.
Now, looking back on my first year as an English and Creative Writing student at Falmouth, I can say that things have changed.
I remember seeing the university for the first time during an open day, and I asked current students how their writing had developed during the course. One girl said to me that her writing had changed drastically, in all aspects. It was from then I had a feeling Falmouth was the right place to come, and as I write this now, I realise that in just one academic year I have become a completely new writer, as well as a new person in some ways.
So far, the course has shaped my writing abilities by showing how adaptable I can be if I put my mind to it.
I’ve been used to writing only fiction for the past few years, but have now expanded my skills to things like reviews, blogs, research-based essays, a quirky zine, and a manifesto on the rules of writing.
As well as the content, my personal habits as a writer have changed. My lecturers have encouraged me to work harder than I ever have, saying I should try and write as much as I can each day. Otherwise, I know I’m not going to get to where I want to be. One of the most noticeable things that has come out of the experience is this newfound motivation that makes me want to try new things, broaden my horizons, and be creative in a variety of ways. It’s because of all this that I enjoy writing more than I ever did.
Aside from writing itself, being a student has changed me as a person.
I could talk about how I’m more open to thoughtful conversations with others, which is among the many things that have changed, but I think the most important thing is how my motivation for writing has also transferred to other things. Life on campus inspires me to try out new activities, since there are so many clubs going on and events to go to. Before, I was always hesitant to join in on these things because of shyness or laziness, but such a vibrant and positive community allows me to feel accepted and integrated, meaning I am far more likely to say yes instead of no.
It’s starting to dawn on me (and most other students, I’m sure) that the summer is approaching, and I will have to find new ways to occupy myself other than assignments and studying. Obviously, I will keep writing as much as I can, contributing to this website and running a blog, but I will have to decide how much time I will like to spend in Falmouth after Easter. It’s an opportunity to experience the environment fully without having to worry about work, so I am certainly tempted by it.
It’s likely I will spend a lot of the summer in Cornwall, because it’s a hugely inspirational place that keeps me creative; that's not something you will find in all universities, like those in crowded cities. I’m keen to explore the area more than I have, going on the ferry to St. Mawes, the train to St.Ives, and simply walking around Falmouth and Penryn to find hidden places.
That's something else that has changed in me since being at the university: an eagerness to get out there and find nice places; otherwise you don’t feel like you’re experiencing the world at all.
I'm looking forward to my second year as a university student, as things can only get better from my starting point. It’s so exciting to think about what I might write in the future, and how Falmouth will take me there.
by Abigail Martin