I need some advice, I'll be graduating my graphics degree with a 3rd


New Member
Hello everyone, I hope you are all good on this gloomy Tuesday evening, I am new to Graphic Design Forum and have come here for some help/advice…. I apologise in advance if this thread is too long.

So I got my results midnight last night although I wasn’t shocked I was very disappointed I missed achieving my goal of a 2:2 by 3 marks…..

To give you a little back story if you’re not from the U.K I studied a graphics arts degree which was 3 years long. My particular course only graded you for your final year of study, I’m unaware if other universities in the U.K grade like this but I know on most courses you get your second year grade combined with your third which gives you an overall grade for all 3 years. My first and second year of study was classed as ‘skill building’ so I didn’t have no grades to fall back on.

Without making too many excuses, there are so many factors to why my grade is so low (THE MAIN ONE BEING ME) but the main one was not having a starting point for my FMP (final major project) early enough to be able to push this creatively in so many ways. This was a massive part of my assessment which required a lot of thinking and planning that just wouldn’t come to me no matter how long I stayed up at night doing research and looking for inspiration. I just had creative block after creative block after creative block…..you guys must know that feeling right? At one point one of my tutors said that I was ‘trying to hard’ which really kicked me down even more as time was ticking.

Some other modules I need to collaborate with other student on my course which I struggled with because of my anxiety, people were so rude and 2 faced. I was usually left with the jobs no one wanted or to forced to do something which creatively wasn’t my area but I did it anyways. I would get stomach aches walking to uni having to face these people. I kept myself to myself I didn’t have many friends.

I am so ashamed and embarrassed that I will be graduating my degree with a third, I don’t even want to go to my graduation at this point. I feel like I have wasted 3 years…..was graphic design ever for me?? My submission consisted of sketchbooks, publications, risographs, screen-prints, some photography and other stuff. Some stuff was great but some was basic I NEEDED MORE TIME, I just wish I had asked for extra time but again my anxiety stopped me from doing this. I didn't have great relationship with tutors I bet you can guess why, yepp my anxiety.....

I know there’s nothing I can do now about it all and I can’t resit the year. I had plans to do a masters but without 2:2….. I’m stuck. ☹
I don’t know what to do? How can I improve my portfolio without university facilities? With out a good portfolio I wont have a good chance on getting an internship which I desperately want as 3 month in the industry would determine if I’m cut out for graphics or not. Has anyone ever been in my position, can anyone give me any advice on what I can do? I Don't want to stay in my room sulking and crying I want o make an action plan and get on with it.

Thank You so much for reading.


Active Member
How can I improve my portfolio without university facilities?
Buy the necessary software and start creating stuff.

What is it you enjoy doing most? Posters, photography, 3D, comics, book illustrations? Do what you most enjoy, put everything up on a website (your own or a portfolio site) and then market yourself. It's this last part that may be the hardest. There are thousands of graphic designers - many of them on free lancer sites. But with some determination and a lot of emails, phone calls and even knocking on doors you can still find work.

I use loads of graphic designers for all sorts of projects. I've never once asked any of them if they have any sort of qualifications.


Well-Known Member
You'll get plenty on here telling you it's not about qualifications, it's all about your work and what you can do. As long as you have learnt something from your course, you need to put that into
good use and concentrate on building your portfolio.

First of all you need to sort your health out. If you haven't sought any help before, then do it now. This was obviously a big reason for you not doing well and would probably have
been worse for you going back to do a masters. Talk to friends and family and seek professional help. Keep fit and eat healthily. Maybe get yourself a part time job to build your confidence while you do
graphics in your spare time.

It's so easy these days to put together a basic portfolio site. To fill it, just make up a few briefs and concentrate on the kind of work you enjoy doing. There's plenty of free software out there
or you can get Photoshop for £10 a month which is fine to get you started. Post some work on here, we'll help you out.

If you don't find an internship you could start trying to find work on a freelance basis. Knock on a few doors, ask family and friends. Maybe there is a friendly Printer nearby you could work for,
even if it's just to build your experience and confidence. Don't dwell on the past and overthink things, just do it!


I am usually the first person to tell any of the army of ‘I want to be a designer, which youtube video should I watch?’ have-a-go-heroes to ‘Go and get an education’. It matters. Why does it matter? Not so you have the piece of paper to wave about – although, undoubtedly a good degree from a good college is always going to help. No, ultimately it’s about learning things you didn’t know before from people who know more than you.

Even though your degree is not what you had hoped for, you still have the benefit of three years of education and knowledge – assuming you were listening!

Besides, it’s only after you have finished your education that you start to learn to be a designer anyway. It never stops. You always keep learning something new.

The creative block thing is all about finding what makes you get your head in the right place. That can take years to figure out, but you’ll get there. Let yourself off the hook a bit. In a way your tutor was right. It is too easy to get yourself in to a tunnel and get yourself into that cycle of self-loathing, ’I can’t come up with an idea because I’m shit and because I’m shit I can’t come up with an idea.’ It is a dangerous and never-ending spiral, that actually takes you further away from your goal, rather than nearer.

When people say walk away, it’s true. Best thing you can do. Trying too hard is a killer. For me, I think about the problem, then I’ll either go outside, go for a beer with a book, take a bath, or more often I will pick up a bass and play for half an hour. This allows my brain to mull over everything I have been thinking about, while I’m not looking. I will sometimes then go take a 10 minute nap and quite often in those moments as you wake, you find your head is in exactly the right place and ideas start to just pour out. That’s me. I know other designers with other techniques. It’s all about working out how your head ticks.

A pastime outside of design is a good idea. I play in a band for exactly that reason. Like-minded friends, beer and lots of belly-laughs are also very useful.

All that said, the other thing is, as Wardy rightly says, is just do it and then do it some more. It’s fun and it’s supposed to be fun. Of course we have to earn a crust as well, but just play. Find your passion. Draw lots. Go down paths you’ve never been down. Make mistakes. Only from mistakes come new ideas. If you go down well-travelled paths, you get the same views every time and you’ll just come up with the same ideas everyone else does.

What is the thing that drives you, excites you? What area of design most gets you fired up? Follow it.

Dear god, I’ll stop now. Just realised how long I’ve been rambling on. It’s 4.50am! I should be asleep!

Stick around here, there are loads of people who’ll help. Post stuff, get it critiqued. Ask advice, opinions. All adds to the pot. Trying to do it in isolation is a recipe for ending up in that destructive spiral and you’ll convince yourself you’re shit.

‘For crying out loud, I thought you said you were stopping’

OK, I’m gone…


Staff member
Welcome to the forum. :)

All of the above is true and judging from what I've read I think people can relate to how you're feeling.

Firstly, design as a whole can be a big distiller of self doubt and anxiety or I prefer to call it...."A Total Mind F@ck".
Only last night I was having a conversation about the same topic regarding myself and I've been in the industry for 30 years.

Personally, I don't even have a degree so you've topped me there for a start. :D

I'm one of the people that doesn't think (knows) a university education is essential to work in design although I do feel you do need some sort of foundation as a base, be it formal or self initiated.
You now have this with bells on!

As has been said, this is the time you really start to learn and in this age, it's all out there if you have the internet.
I took a big break from design to travel and stuff at the time it turned digital so I had to re-learn when there weren't these resources whilst living in a friends attic on a Blueberry iMac with 'borrowed' software. ;)

Start doing some of the things that you like doing in the way the suits you and get a Behance profile which is free and build a folio.
There's literally LOADS of resources out there to learn and improve from for free.
Sign up to Skillshare.
I've just done a two months free trial and when I went to cancel at the end, they gave me another month for free! YAY!
Lynda also do a free month as I recall.
Never stop learning!
You can now set yourself your own projects and not those handed down to you by tutors.

Post some projects on here if you need some input from others as we're happy to help.
Sometimes the feedback can be a bit blunt but ALWAYS well meant and constructive.

I know it hard when you're fighting anxiety but try to get involved with some sort of creative group with real people.
I did this when a mural company put out a call for help and I ended up working on some fantastic projects and had a ball.
I was around other creatives with a similar mind set and I got a great deal out of it and it took me places I never expected. QUITE LITERALLY. :oops:

It sound like you're really piling the pressure on yourself which is very easily done, especially with design.
Do what Wardy says and if you feel like you're going down that rabbit hole don't keep it to yourself.