Photo Diary: First Year of University in Photographs

Blog, Photography, University

I love taking photographs. Ever since the advent of cameras being integrated into mobile phones I was always fascinated how easy and accessible it was to be able to capture a timeless moment forever straight from your pocket. As the old saying goes “a picture is worth a thousand words”, this photo diary series of posts is a collection of noteworthy photographs to recount memories of a certain time, and in this case my first year of university.

My first year of university was quite the interesting experience as it was the first step in my life to become independent, move out of home and into a town 200 miles away and live in a giant halls of resident with people around my age whom I’ve never met.

Nearly all of the photos seen in this post has been captured on my Samsung Galaxy S4 (GT-I9505) camera using the stock Samsung camera app as well as my iPod Touch (5th gen). This was before I made my big purchase for the Nikon D3300 DSLR camera towards the end of the academic year.

So without further-adieu on with the photos!


Moving out! A typical shot of the back boot of my dad’s car filled everything I’m taking to uni. I live in Ipswich which is located at the east of England while Bournemouth is about 200 miles away, this is going to be a long trek.


Moving in! Travelling from Ipswich to Bournemouth takes around 3 and half hours (even more with breaks in-between) so once we moved into halls me and my parents were really exhausted!


A panorama of my new room!

I was assigned to Cranborne Halls which at the time just re-opened after a year of refurbishments. There was a slight kerfuffle during check-in time because they mixed up the room assignments. I was basically given the option to choose between a standard room (a really tiny bedroom) or a large room designed for students with disabilities (hence the handles hanging off the ceiling in-order to call for assistance) because there were no students with special needs who applied.

Because the premium room had a lot more space and it was only slightly more expensive than the standard it was a no-brainer which room I wanted. It was only after a couple of weeks that I realised that even though there were a lot space to move around in, it was pretty much useless since I couldn’t do much with it. Also it gets really cold during the winter.


My ironically small desk and oversized wardrobes.

Since the furniture are all designed for disabled users in mind there was a lot of dead space at the bottom of the wardrobe, which was the perfect place to put my empty luggages!


The other side of my room! This photo was taken during freshers’ week and before the halls’ reception contacted me that they were going to replace the single bed for a double, which was delayed until the second term.


Halls surfing! Some brilliant panoramic views from the 9th floor. Sadly I lived on the 1st floor so there wasn’t any noteworthy view coming from my window.


The kitchen! Ignore the pre-drinks aftermath which occured at a weekly (then soon fort-nightly) basis.


Waiting for the bus outside to go to campus! Halls for freshers in Bournemouth are situated in Landsdown, an area that is not that far from the beach! However the main uni campus is located in Talbot (technically in Poole, a town adjacent to Bournemouth) which is a 40 minute walk from Landsdowne, meaning a yearly bus pass was purchased.


Nothing beats freshly cooked rice!


During fresher’s week our course’s lecturers arranged an animation quiz evening which was essentially the first ever meeting between my coursemates before the formal enrolment. Based on where we sat in the student bar we were grouped together to partake in the quiz. This was a photograph with names to remember and add on the usual social networks.


During the two-week long freshers’ week I often took strolls by myself around the center of Bournemouth (since it was within walking distance) to familiar myself with this town.


Bournemouth is often known for its magnificent beach. And seeing for the first time (as a fresher, saw it first time when I came down for the course interview) it was a stunning view.


At halls there was a launderette so that all residents can wash their clothes. This photo shamelessly marks the first time for me operate this domestic machinery.


Many drinking games took place.


During the second week of freshers’ fair the Bournemouth’s Visual Effects, Animation and Games Festival or for shorthand BFX took place for the first time. A week-long event where leading figures from the animation, VFX and games industry come to Bournemouth and give talks, with an opportunity to talk to recruiters to said industries about what they’re looking for for potential graduates.

With little to no knowledge in this area prior to the course (and spending £75 for a student ticket) I attended nearly all of the events while just being fascinated over all the work-in-progress material VFX companies exhibited which is the framework for all of the amazing visuals and effects that make their way into feature film, TV and advertisements.


Just a bunch of freshers’ waiting for the bus to uni.


My first ever model created in Maya! This was made in our introductory class in how to use the 3D software package Autodesk Maya. Remembering that time it was very overwhelming.


In the introductory workshop we were tasked to model a castle of our choice based on all the basic skills we were taught in the work shop.

The anime ‘Attack on Titan’ (2013) was airing at the time which featured medieval castle like buildings so I decided to use that for my reference.


During the first weekend after fresher’s week me and my new coursemates went down to the park to do some drawing for our life drawing exercise homework.


Computer programming!

Computing was a unit in our course where we had to learn fundamental but basic skills in Python and C++. This was one of the introductory exercises in coding in C++, which was a difficult learning curve due to the cluttered syntax and the fact that I had no programming experience at all.


Modelling exercise in Maya!

We were modelling a squirrel in Maya as we got to learn more of the tools and features we can use in the Maya 3D software package.


This was a common routine and sight while living at halls. Someone burns their (insert food or object here) in the early hours, the fire alarm goes off, everyone evacuates with their onesies shivering in the dark, the firemen arrive to control the burning (insert food or object here), sigh and then leave.


Late night animating in the labs!


Late night 3D modelling in the labs!


The common room in halls. I only ever go here to check on mail (the wooden shelves to the left) or somewhere to chill after someone sets off the weekly fire alarm.


Making use of my student finance and got myself an iPad Air!

… to which I returned for a full refund after the first term because after replacement after replacement it always had the screen display issue where one side of the side was always badly lit, forming subtle vignetting.


Baking! Had some free time so I thought it’d be a good experience to bake some sweet bread.


Looking around the uni library for reading material for my essay assignment. Came across the ‘The Animator’s Survival Kit’ (2001) by Richard Williams, practically a must-have for any budding animators.


When MS Paint is your last resort to demonstrate 2D transformations.


Lighting and rendering workshop in Maya!


Returned back home in Ipswich for Christmas break! Gotta love the Coke truck.


Lotta food from my parents to live on for the new year (2014).


Shots taken at Bournemouth Beach at the start of the year.





DDR! The amusments arcade at Bournemouth Pier miraculously had one of the more recent DDR cabinets to play on. As a fan of music rhythm games I often visited the arcades by the beach to have a few goes on the DDR machine; one of the few perks of living by the coast!


Had to go back home during the week break in-between the second term, meaning I had to make my through London for my connecting train. Just in time for Chinese New Year!


More strolls down Bournemouth Beach!


Animating Billy Bob for our animation assignment while checking in on Twitch Plays Pokemon!


A common occurrence; software crashing and losing a significant chunk of your work.


Had a go on my friend’s Canon EOS 1100D!


Bournemouth Beach looks gorgeous in the Spring time.


Evening skies.


Shadows look amazing during sunset.


Bought y first DSLR! After much research I decided to get the Nikon D3300, a really good camera for beginners!


Bubble tea joints are a rare find outside of central London, so it was surprising to find a place in Bournemouth (Flirt) that sells bubble tea! Very expensive but it’s very good!


Edging towards the end of the academic year and soon to move out and return home for the summer. So I decided to do final photo shoots around my bedroom!

This is my bathroom with a lot of handles designed for disabled users. The floor always gets flooded whenever I have showers and sometimes seep out of the room!


The area that many all-nighters took place.



Day before moving out, exhausting work figuring how to cram everything into the boxes.


Moving out day! My other flatmates have already moved out at this time.


The final goodbye to Room 6, Flat 9 of Cranborne House…

Or it would’ve been for this photo if not for me forgetting that I left my coat hanging behind the door (the door was opened the whole time I was loading stuff onto my dad’s car).


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