Reflection on Constellation

The process of constellation this year has been an interesting one. When I first enrolled on the course I didn’t realise that constellation was part of the process, so when I was informed about constellation I found the prospect of it quite nerve wracking. Therefor I naturally I wasn’t particularly excited at the prospect of being told that I had to go to a two hour study group every week when it wasn’t something that I thought I was signing up for at the start of the course, especially as I often find that I struggle to sit and listen in a lecture environment for a long period of time.
When I went to the constellation fair I didn’t find it particularly informative, this is because it was so busy and crowded so it was hard to see the stalls let alone even talk to the lecturers themselves. So when it came to making my constellation choices on Moodle I found myself none the wiser as I also found the information on Moodle about the study groups difficult to understand. But in the end I decided on Smells like teen spirit and the body in society study groups. I feel that constellation needs to be better advertised when students are originally looking to study at Cardiff met and that also students should have more access to find out about each study group and the beginning of the term, because after all constellation is quite a big part of the course being one third of our end of term grade, and I feel that it is essential that students feel like they know what they are going to be learning about and expected to do, especially as we pay so much money for these courses.

For the first term of constellation I was allocated the Smells like teen spirit study group, I thought that Cath Davies was a very interesting lecturer and she was very knowledgeable. The topic itself was quite engaging being focused around subcultures, however I found it difficult to work out exactly how these study groups would be benefitting my university course choice. I found that in order to directly relate it to graphic communication you would have to dig quite deep into each of the subcultures. Also, like I said previously I really struggle being in a contained lecture type environment for a longer period of time, so therefore I really struggled to motivate myself to get out of bed in the mornings for these lectures. However when it came to the content of this study group I found learning about these subcultures really interesting, especially the focus on the punk subculture. I found it really interesting learning about the fashions of the subcultures and how these subcultures and their style choices have evolved. I also really liked the method that Cath taught us for structuring our essays, the column method. I felt that this helped me break the essay down. So therefor, when it came to writing my formative essay over the Christmas period I found it really interesting researching into these subcultures more, however I failed to understand how I could relate this essay to my subject and how it would be benefiting me.

For the second term I was allocated the Body in society study group, at the start of the term I was really motivated to get up and aim to go to all of this terms study group after hearing good things from my friends who had done it in first term, however unfortunately there was a few times where my lecturer wasn’t there so this study group didn’t get off to the best of starts. Also the lecturer, Ashley Morgan, who taught this study group in first term didn’t continue teaching the body in society study group in second term so we had a different lecturer Davida. I felt as if because she was a fine art lecturer she related a lot of the lectures to fine art, so I really struggled to link this body in society course into my own course and also because I struggle to relate I felt that I didn’t take anything from any of the lectures. Also, when it came to having the tutorials about out 2500 word essay with our constellation lecturers, I had mine with Ashley Morgan, which I thought was unusual because I had never been taught by her, or even met her before. Therefor I found that constellation wasn’t very personal, unlike in my actual course where I feel like I can speak to any of my lecturers about issues I am having because I feel like they take the time to know me.

Therefor when it came to the writing of our 2500 word essay I decided on basing it on the Smells like Teen spirit study group, because I felt as if I learnt the most from this study group, and I felt as if I had the most to say because I found the topic of subcultures particularly interesting. I decided to look at my formative essay and I decided to expand and develop the concepts in this essay. I also decided that in order to try and get the most out of constellation this year I needed to try and relate my essay to my course more, otherwise I felt as if I wouldn’t be benefiting at all from this whole year of constellation. So in my essay, I looked at what symbols and design the subcultures use. For example when I was talking about the punk subculture, I researched a lot of punk cover art, so I looked at the book ‘The album cover art of punk!’ by Malcolm Mclauren. I really liked this book because it contained so many examples of graphic design in the punk era, there for I felt that this really benefited my course.

Overall, in the end I feel that I can see how constellation has benefited me this term, however I feel that a lot more should be done for students at the beginning of the year to make the whole process of constellation a lot less confusing.