Alice Peach, 20, Italy, Basicyear

"The first semester was definitely challenging, but I was expecting it, and it was exciting. I guess it depends on how committed you are as a student as well. Because if you are, the course can be really absorbing and it becomes difficult to focus on anything else.

Working in a class with 20 people is inspiring, maybe overwhelming at first, but you get used to it after a while. It’s really amazing to be surrounded by people who share the same eagerness to make and learn. Everyone is doing so many different things, developing and growing so much already.

It can be confusing at the beginning to have five teachers giving completely different advice, but at some point you realise that they aren’t supposed to have answers to all your questions or doubts, they can only suggest possible ways for you to reach those answers by yourself. Once you understand this, you really start opening up to all the possibilities the school offers, and you start growing.

I think for me the most important thing in the process is getting over the first stage, the beginning. Starting is always a struggle, because I tend to have too many ideas and deciding which one to stick to is so hard. Making choices is the most difficult thing to learn, but the more you trust yourself the easier it gets. It’s all a matter of time.

For the open day we covered the classroom in transparent plastic sheets and in the middle we built a big black box where each one of us was going to either perform or show their individual work.

It was tough to decide what to prepare and it took us a while to come up with an idea that everyone agreed on. Teachers gave us a few assignments that were meant to be starting points, to help us come up with ideas, but everyone ended up developing their own project. The black box is the space where they all come together, and it gives all of us a chance to express our individuality. I prepared an installation of overlapped photographs printed on matte and transparent paper.

I think it's important for everyone to give yourself time to understand the importance of failure. Because everyone will tell you that failing is good, but you probably won’t believe it at first. Give yourself time to develop trust in yourself and in your choices. It’s the only way to truly enjoy your work and learn from it."