What Happened When I Tried to Document University Life in Seconds

I started this whole project with the ambition of documenting an entire year, maybe even the next decade, with one-second-long video clips.

I planned to start on New Years and to keep going for potentially the whole new decade. However, I forgot to film my New Years Day clip, and reframed the concept as each day of the second academic term, starting from leaving home. Little did I know that the day I was set to fly back to Victoria flights at our regional airport were being either canceled or delayed due to a sudden snowfall, which shifted my attention away from the project I was working on. This clearly wasn’t the ideal start.

Once I got to Victoria, the project was simple enough, but after a week, I ran into a few new issues. The first being that it was difficult to find content. I wanted to be mindful of my peers’ privacy, not show any copyrighted material such as course resources, or any of my own course work.

This led to a lot of repeated shots, such as ones walking in between classes, to Cadboro Commons, and between my dorm and CARSA. After looking over my work in progress project, I realized that I tend to do a lot of the same things each day, and deviations were often experiences in the classroom or when I would hang out with friends. By being present in the moment, it was difficult to document what was happening, but if I focused on trying to document what happened, I wouldn’t be as present in what was happening around me.

The format of one second of video per day was also challenging. It’s incredibly hard to capture what was going on that day. Many of the nighttime clips were while walking back from CARSA after a dance or yoga class and, to me, represent a ritual of maintaining my mental and physical health through activity but out of context is just campus at night.

Repeated shots from inside study cubicles, to me, are representative of how much studying I was doing to achieve my academic goals, but to someone who doesn’t know me, they may think I pass up a social life and balance to camp out in the library. This was even more probable because I didn’t include clips of me with my friends. It’s hard to represent everything that happens in a day, let alone in one second of video.

Two of my favourite clips are the red clipboard and the final clip of a sidewalk covered in equations. The red clipboard segment was taken when I was walking to my designated area while volunteering at Explore UVic. This was a super exciting day for me since I didn’t get to attend it while I was a prospective student, and now I was getting to welcome those in that stage to campus for potentially the first time ever.

The last clip was taken during my last walk around Ring Road the Saturday before I moved out of residence due to COVID-19. Some students had recently used chalk to practice some equations of a less-traveled sidewalk, and I thought it was a neat way to study outside.

I stopped recording video clips the next day as the pandemic situation continued to develop. Since I knew in-person classes were suspended and believed it would be hard to diversify clips if I was staying in my room to physically distance from my peers and prepare for finals, I stopped recording new clips.

At this time, I didn’t plan on sharing the compilation of the clips to MyUVic Life because there was no clear storyline, and it wasn’t particularly eye-catching content. Since being back home with my parents, I’ve been looking through stuff from my time as a prospective student.

What started with the undergraduate viewbooks, admissions, and scholarship related papers that I was digging through, I started reconnecting with my thought process during that time. During study breaks in grade twelve, I would often look through YouTube and different blogs and websites to learn about student experiences, which ironically is how I started reading MyUvic Life and eventually applied to become a student blogger.

Being able to see student interpretations of the universities I was looking at, whether intentional or not, helped me choose what I wanted out of post-secondary and where I had to go to achieve it. I decided to release the compilation of one-second clips because even though it’s not a masterpiece, it’s something that I would have watched before coming to UVic, even if it failed to fulfill the initial concept.

One of my goals as a student blogger is to show what the day to day aspects of the university are, not just the highlights. So here’s the final product, complete with some cheesy stock music.

Be sure to watch out  for some ducks, snow in Victoria, peacocks, a rare empty view of the David Lam Auditorium when class was cancelled, and Craigdarroch Castle in the video.

I’m always open to questions, especially from prospective students. Hope to see you at UVic!

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