Jasmine Damaris, a Creative Writing and English Literature (including foundation year) BA (Hons) student at London Met spoke to us recently to tell us about her time on the course and at the University. She told us about her passion for writing, future career ambitions and why London is a great creative backdrop for her studies.
Why did you decide to study at London Met?
I had looked at the course online and it seemed right up my street. It also had an option to do a foundation year which was great for me because I hadn’t done A-Levels in this area (I did a Music BTEC course instead) and I’d been away from education for a couple of years.
Do you think studying in London is helpful in your studies?
Yes, definitely for my degree. London is the UK’s hub for book publishing and it’s great to have access to all the museums, libraries, theatres, and events that take place in the city. It is also helpful to creatively engage in London’s history and culture, especially as a creative writing student.
Do you feel supported by the lecturers on your course?
Yes, our lecturers are always so passionate – it’s actually hard to not engage in lessons. They have all been extremely understanding and supportive throughout the pandemic too. Going out of their way to put on extra workshops and meetings, even throughout reading weeks and holidays. It has been stressful for all of us but they work hard to keep up morale and to keep a sense of community alive.
Do you have a favourite author or literary work?
I usually say Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë because it was the first novel I read that opened my eyes to the world of literature. However, this course has introduced me to some great writers like Toni Morrison and Elif Shafak so it is hard to pick a favourite now.
What inspired you to study creative writing at university?
I’ve always loved writing but it was hard to stay motivated when I didn’t have the creative tools to write. I also want to work in publishing and this course was perfect for providing actual insider knowledge of the trade.
Do you work on any personal projects alongside your studies or have you done any work experience while studying?
During my foundation year I joined a band and then in my second year I started my own band as well. So, now I’m in two bands and work on my music in my spare time, which feeds into my studies as I creatively engage in lyric writing and the things I study often influence my songs.
What has been your favourite project or piece of work you’ve done so far in your degree?
I wrote a piece last year called Take Me To The Other Side that featured in the anthology we produced with design students, Anthology IV. I worked on it over the academic year in the module “Writing and Editing Fiction and Non-Fiction”. It was a piece of life writing and I think it turned out well because we kept workshopping in lessons, returning to the editing process over and over to perfect our pieces. I worked hard to produce an authentic story that engaged in social issues.
Do you have a favourite place in London?
Most recently it has been South Norwood Lake and Grounds to go for walks and connect with nature. The lake is gorgeous at all times of the day.
Why did you pick London Met and particularly your course over other institutions or courses?
Before joining London Met, I attended an open day where I instantly made friends and met staff, tutors and students who were really enthusiastic and helpful. The University provided great information on the course and they kept me in the loop about different events and opportunities. I also liked the locations of the campuses and fell in love with the libraries.
What was the most challenging or interesting idea you've come across so far on your degree?
I think the more philosophical ideas are harder to grasp but also the most interesting to discuss in class. We’ve been reading some ecological texts this year that engage in the ideas of Heidegger – I’m reading his essay What Are Poets For? for our next class and when I say reading, I mean more like wrestling with it! However, I am excited for the lecture.
Any tips for new students who might be thinking about studying Creative Writing and English Literature at university?
I would say go to an open day, or a virtual one at the moment if you can and/or any other event that the university is offering and don’t be afraid to ask questions. I’d also say that it’s important to build a community so don’t be nervous when approaching other prospective students because they’ll be feeling similar to you, whether they are mature students or international students or fresh out of high school.
Do you know what you’d like to do in the future or which career path you’d like to take?
The course has provided me with lots of information on how to get your work published and how to be a publisher, both are great for me as I want to be a writer but also an editor or literary agent as I care about the future of books.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your time at London Met?
As another piece of advice, if you’d like to work (for extra income and/or for some all-important work experience) while you study then London Met loves hiring their students! I have found some great opportunities via MetTemps.