Here, we celebrate and honor some of our best students ever in the BSc (Hons) Creative Computing program, who reflect on their journey with the Bath Spa University Academic Center RAK, their struggles, achievements, and most importantly, their advice for the students after them!
Meet Nella Rose Bermudo, BSc (Hons) Creative Computing 2020-2023
How do you define yourself?
This is a question I will spend my whole life trying to answer. Here’s what I have so far:
My friend calls me a free soul, someone willing to break the normal expectations of life and do what makes the most sense to me. I like their definition a lot. I’m flexible. I flow. I bend to whatever life throws at me while still maintaining my form. I am a leader. I have a never-ending stream of ideas that I love to mix and match with whoever I work with. I like to be efficient and compassionate with how I lead, making sure everyone has a purpose in the team and a say in what we do. I have a passion for hearing and telling stories. I enjoy consuming them mainly through auditory experiences: music, podcasts, ambient sound, sound design, and conversations. I process the world and my thoughts mainly as audible conversations in my head. I, myself, am made up of many people’s stories. The story of how my parents met; the story of my family’s heritage, the places they’ve reached and the people they’ve been; the stories of the people I’ve met; their stories of things they’d seen and learned and felt. Everything I know and more can be traced back to a story. I aspire to tell great stories of my own. Or to be the one to share others’ stories with the world.
What is your academic mantra?
The closest thing I have to a ‘mantra’ is to constantly remind myself that I’m a human. I forgive myself when I don’t do as well as I wanted. I vow to, as much as possible, never lose sleep over a project. This meant having to pass a few things lately and paying the price for it. But the dedication to prioritizing my body, health, and sanity has been better for me over the long term. I’m not some kind of machine that can churn out excellent work every single time; I’m human - I cram, I panic, I burn out, I lose interest, and I often get overwhelmed.
When I do take a genuine interest in a project, I zero in on it and pour most of my attention toward it. Conversely, if I’m not interested or the concept simply doesn’t make sense to me, I turn in a pretty rushed and mediocre output. It just happens. It took a lot of time to figure out which workflow worked best for me and that just happened to be breaking down big projects into small parts that I could work on slowly and in 2-hour sessions of deep focus per day. That workflow doesn’t happen every day, but when it does, somehow the work feels infinitely more gratifying.
Reflect on your journey (learning, achievements) in the Creative Computing program.
The 1st year and a half of 2nd year were done online, so that was honestly quite a blur. The latter half was me going out there and trying as many things as I could. I could sum up everything I learned academically into the interconnected practices of designing, programming, problem-solving, ideating, storytelling, working with other people, documenting, and critical analysis of existing digital work. In my second year, I got the chance to work with my group to do an internship with an existing school website redesign and experienced working with a real client. Now, in my final year, I’m working with that same group trying to leave a strong impact. We work well together, and every day I’m more excited about what we can accomplish together. I really do want to emphasize problem-solving. I started in this program not wanting anything to do with code - it scared me because it required constantly having to face more mistakes than successes. I was more keen on the storytelling and design aspects, but I constantly struggled with implementing my ideas through code. With a lot of patience and the sheer acceptance of failure as a stepping stone to my goals, I kept trying and failing and trying again. I’d like to think that I’m finishing the program a more resilient person.
What’s next once you graduate?
A lot more learning. If Creative Computing taught me about… well, all the things I mentioned previously, and if I’d also learned a great deal about myself as a person and my importance to the world around me, then naturally, I would seek out whatever I can learn next. This might come with an internship, a job, a hobby, or an experience. I will seek out learning no matter where I go and what I do.
Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
Oh, God knows. I barely know how I’ll be tomorrow. I don't think of who I’ll be or what I’ll be doing 5 years from now anymore, it often stresses me out more than it motivates me. 2018 Nella would have wanted to be something completely different. I can only hope that I’ll be better than I am right now.
How will you remember Bath Spa University RAK?
The bonds I formed with the people I met. I can’t tell you how the chemistry I have with my friends has made this entire experience that much more priceless. I found people I could relate to but also regularly challenged me in my thinking and my work.
I also greatly appreciate the time and flexibility we’re given. I have friends in other universities that are constantly swamped with meaningless tasks and extra subjects they don’t really need for their major. It’s burning them out and my heart aches for them. I’m glad the courses and class hours here are structured with focus and intent.
What would be your #1 advice for your juniors in the program?
Make a genuine effort to bond with the people around you.
Always always always let your tutors know what you’re struggling with. they cannot read your mind, but they’re there to help.
Grab all the possible opportunities to learn and have fun, inside and outside the campus.
I lost 1.5 out of the 3 years I was meant to physically experience in university to the pandemic. I was not a very optimistic person and I’d hit so many rock bottoms that I might as well have hit the earth’s core. Somehow I convinced myself to not waste the remaining half and that decision transformed me as a person. You really should just make the most out of it.
We wish Nella the very best in her career and life ahead, hoping to stay in touch! God Bless.