When John Stanbury contacted me to let me know about the latest addition to his project, I couldn’t quite believe that I had never come across it before. John is the founder and project manager of Advice to Sink in Slowly, a project whereby an ongoing series of posters is designed by graduates for the purpose of passing on advice and inspiration to first year students. The posters are given as a welcoming gift to freshers across the UK when they start University. I fell in love with this idea as soon as I heard about it and thought that it really is a lovely and worthwhile project. Going to University is an adventure and a massive learning curve, not only in academic terms but also in general life skills. It’s a time when you start to discover yourself, who you are and what you want from life and this can be quite daunting. You’re also surrounded by new people, and have far fewer boundaries than when you lived at home with your parents. It really is a time when major life lessons are learnt. So the idea of receiving a poster in your first few weeks away from home is lovely because it not only helps you to settle into your new surroundings and make your room feel slightly more homely but it also enables you to learn from some of the wisdom gained by those students who went through all of this before you.
- I also love the concept because it is a creative, non-instructional way of passing on advice. When you start University you want to figure things out on your own and you don’t want people telling you what to do with your new-found freedom. But these posters enable graduates to pass on the lessons that they have learnt in a way that is almost sub-conscious and will sink in slowly. It doesn’t feel intrusive, but rather like something you should bear in mind while you’re muddling your way through all that University has to offer. And I think this kind of advice, in this format will appeal to freshers.
- I was really homesick when I went to University and I took any opportunity I could to jump on the train back home to see my family and my boyfriend at the time. I was also kind of a geek and studied way harder than most of the people I lived with on campus. Whilst everyone else was busy partying and enjoying the social life, I was often in my room, head in a book or in the library trying to get my work done before the weekend so I could go home again. I could have really done with one of these posters reminding me to embrace the social side of University as well as the academic side. If I had any graphic design or illustration skills myself I would have designed a poster that offers the advice “Remember to live a little”. Below you will see a selection of lovely posters along with an explanation from the designer.
I spent a lot of time thinking about a piece of advice I wish someone had told me as I started on my course. Looking at my own students I finally fixed on “Finish what you start”. I’ve seen so many potentially excellent, but unfinished works. Hopefully it’ll help someone to carry on.
- Irina Troitskaya
I spent much of my first year at University locked away in my room and even when I was in attendance I continued to hide away by building a small room in a corner of the communal studio space. So in part my advice is about getting out and immersing yourself with University life from the start, but it also refers to life in general because no matter how difficult it seems it can only get easier.
- Ben Javens
The idea behind the poster is to have belief in the process and to not jump to the final outcome. There is beauty in lines and marks that are imperfect and the happy mistakes that can happen when you are working. Believe in yourself, what you are putting down on paper and what you’re putting your mind to.
- Stephie Ginger
This message is at the heart of my work and though it’s a cliche, it is one I wish to spur on and truly believe in. I once read something like: ‘Do what you love, because it’s the only thing you will ever have enough motivation to actually get great at.’
- Andy J Miller
Little breaks help you to be considerably more productive. Ten minutes here, a quarter of an hour there, and you can go at your work for an entire day without feeling too overwhelmed or mentally withered. A cup of tea, a snack, a break in the sunshine, or even a toilet run. Whatever you feel like doing…do it (for a little while) and it can give you a refreshing boost to a hard days work.
- Owen Davey
The posters are free to students but some of them are available to buy along with a lovely wall calendar. The proceeds are used to cover the costs of sending the free advice posters. You can visit the shop on the Advice to Sink in Slowly website.
There is currently a Kickstarter project that is seeking funding for this project and it needs your help. Please donate to help students settle in to Uni life.
Is this not an absolutely lovely idea? What piece of advice would you give to new students from your time at University? I’d love to know so please leave a comment below.