April 23, 2015

First Year Perspective: Annette Cheung in SIAT


Annette Cheung is a first year student in our School of Interactive Arts and Technology. Last Fall, she recieved the Dean's Academic Excellence Entrance Scholarship for the Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology.

As Annette wraps up her second semester, we have taken the opportunity to check-in with how her first year went! We are excited to share her experience as we prepare to welcome another class of outstanding first year students this Fall.

How did you first hear about SIAT? 

I first heard about SIAT through my high school’s Digital Media Academy program when they had their digital media expo event. SIAT had a booth there and I met the most wonderful academic advisors, who helped me through the application and admission process. 

How have you adjusted to university life?

I don’t think I have quite yet! (Other than drinking more coffee, staying up later, and having mini panic attacks/eighth-life-crises when exams come around.) Everything is a lot faster paced, that’s for sure! 

Overall, what has your first year been like? What’s been the best part of the year?

My first year has been awesome! It’s been super busy, as I’ve been trying to keep up my marks, while also going out to have fun, meet people, and book photo shoots. The best part of my first year would be all of the new friends I have made in and out of school. 

What has been the biggest learning curve so far, for you?

The biggest learning curve for me would be learning how to absorb content faster. In high school, there was so much time between assignments that it was easy for me to do really well. Now, I find that it is a bit more difficult, with shorter deadlines and denser course material, on top of the extra-curricular projects I’m pursuing. 

What has surprised you the most about being a SIAT student?

The battle between Macs vs. PCs is strong. It doesn’t matter though - what matters is what you can do with technology. 

What extra-curricular activities do you like to participate in? How do you find balance between those activities and your academic studies?

When I’m not studying, I’m a fashion photographer. My work involves collaborating with other local professional artists, designers, and agencies to create photo shoots for magazines and clothing campaigns. This means that on a regular basis, I need to keep up with what’s happening around Vancouver by attending shows, having coffee meetings, and emailing like-minded people to make arrangements and plans happen. It’s really fun, but a lot of hard work goes in to setting up these shoots before I can do what I love the most, which is photography. 

I balance my photography and academic studies by scheduling my time carefully. I always keep my agenda close to me to keep track of the list of things I need to do every day. Organization is key; there is always enough time, you just need to manage it well. Of course, there will be days when the pressure to excel becomes incredibly overwhelming, but taking things step by step helps me gather my thoughts and succeed. I also find that talking to close friends about your ideas helps with being effective with your time.

What advice would you offer to new students considering this program? 

I would recommend being really open-minded about trying things, and really taking the time on your own to research about design work, creative direction, etc. Also, get inspired by exposing yourself more to the creative process and by iterating ideas. 

What is one thing you wish you had known in high school?

I wish I had known to not worry so much about how people think of you. It was something I really struggled with then, but it’s become better now. Carry yourself with confidence.