Hey, welcome to my profile!
Thank you for making it here, to the RMHub and to my profile. I’m pleased that after reading everyone else’s insightful profiles you want to give mine a shot too, and I hope it’s worth it!
What do I do at the moment? Tough question.
Currently I have a part-time position as a Retail Assistant at Primark whilst I prepare to hopefully return to university to study International Development, but I do a lot more than that. Outside of work over the past year or so, I have taken strides to improve my skills through creating my own businesses and communities, writing for a range of publications, managing social media and marketing for non-profits, taking part in active citizenship programmes like Samsung Not a School, doing a TEDx Talk and being an activist for youth empowerment, mental health, inclusive global development, and to tackle the climate crisis and for a more equitable world.
It hasn’t always been so rosy. I’m a dropout of the University of York, I’ve had severe problems with mental ill health, faced issues with unemployment, self-worth and even alcohol abuse. Hopefully my story will help highlight that life is complex but there are always people to help, and there are always people who want you to be happy
I grew up on a little council estate in Lincoln during the 2000s and 2010s. Lincoln is one of those cities where the centre looks stunning and as you move further away it seems to look more and more deprived. Whilst I really enjoyed growing up in Birchwood, one of Lincoln’s “roughest” suburbs, as I grew older I started to see it as an opportunity desert – there’s not really anything accessible and positive for young people here in particular.
Despite that I liked my childhood a lot, I was a good, nerdy and quite normal kid who was good at school and didn’t really get into trouble.
In school I was your typical “working class token success story,” I achieved good GCSEs and an ABB at A-Level.
Outside of my studies in Sixth Form I took part in a variety of things to develop my skills, including Sutton Trust programmes and summer schools, sat on the NCS Regional Youth Board for my area and took up a variety of roles at school. This was primarily to help me get into university, but I did enjoy it a lot too.
I got into my first choice university, the University of York, to study maths – which I enjoyed for a lot of reasons, but primarily for the pure, theological side of it. I left Sixth Form wanting to be a mathematician when I grew up.
University was not what I expected it to be whatsoever, despite feeling secure at school it drew out every insecurity I had about myself and especially how I socialised with people. In school I landed myself in a friendship group from Year 7, making new friends wasn’t really a priority there. It was now, and I struggled which led to some issues.
I was very socially anxious, and for the first time that led to depression and generalised anxiety. My first few terms at uni were awful, truly, and that impacted heavily on my studies.
Luckily, like with most things, it got a lot better. By the end of Spring term I had thrown myself into a few volunteering projects on a whim and it made me feel confident and somewhat mentally sound again.
I’ve always described my second year as my Fresher’s year: parties, friends, extra-curriculars, exploration and experimentation. It’s also when I really started volunteering, for example, pictured right was the results night for when I got elected as YUSU Raising and Giving (RAG) Officer with Sam Meadows (the guy to my left). This role in particular allowed me to help lead student fundraising efforts, put on large fundraising events and make sure all students received help with their fundraising if needed.
However, whilst I was having a somewhat good time, my motivation and ability to work were not. Depression and anxiety still lingered! It made it difficult to really get anything done and I failed my degree, a large part of which was down to my mental health.
I appealed to stay at the University of York, but in the meantime it was time to go home for what would be a long time.
The first thing I needed to do when I got home was to find a job, which with the little experience I had in the world of work, was surprisingly extremely difficult. I wanted something within hospitality or retail because it was common in Lincoln and it would fill large gaps in my skillset. Sure, I had done a lot of volunteering and office work in the past, but it didn’t really seem to help in those first few months of applications. My mental health still made it hard to fill out and send applications, it was simply just exhausting.
Eventually I got my position at Primark, the one retailer who seemed to give me a chance, I was utterly relieved! Settling into work wasn’t as bad as I initially expected and at the same time I had recently received my first exciting project since returning to Lincoln: speaking at TEDxYouth@BrayfordPool.
It was a dream of mine to do a TED talk at one point, and it still at the moment is the achievement I’m proudest of. The best part of it was that if I hadn’t dropped out, I wouldn’t have been able to do it because it was about university mental health provisions.
At this point I had my appeal decision through, it had been accepted, but I dropped it. I wanted to give university a clean second shot, studying a subject called International Development.
Whilst I worked away over the next year, I became more and more involved with the issues I’m interested in:
- I became a Content Writer for TEDxBrayfordPool and a few other publications
- I became involved in activism for Proportional Representation and the responsible usage of UK Aid by our new FCDO
- I boosted my social media and marketing skills with Role Models Yorkshire
- I took part in incredible programmes like Samsung’s Not a School
- I set up my own community called Art for Messy Beings and have recently founded my new online store, Messy Cards & Gifts
Well for you that’s easy, you explore this website to find some really useful content!
For me, I will continue to volunteer on some incredible projects and speak up about them, and hopefully go to university next September!