October 12, 2016

My Experience at School /College/ University.

 This is a little different for me today, I have thought about typing up this blog post for a while now. Recently I spoke to a few people not knowing what they wanted to do after school or college and it has inspired this blog post. Education for me was like a rollercoaster, I will go into more detail below on my experience. This is just a blog post on my experience, so many other people may have had a different time in in education, it is so unique to us all but yet so many thoughts that are the same. Read on for more. 
High School
So I moved all the way from South Africa to start school in year ten, this was a new start to my life yet it was scary. Starting school in year ten was like a shark tank, everyone had their friends and I was the weird, shy new girl who no one knew. I did make a few friends who stuck with me till the end of year 11 and I can promise you this, their kindness to me in those two years was much needed. It felt like such a scary time in my life, coming from Africa I had no idea about the trends, make up or how to act to being in a new place. I find that I focused more on getting along with people, not being weird and how I came across was so important to me back then. This is where my anxiety came out in full force, I wish I focused more on my education but I have done all I wanted to do in education still so more on this later. 

School was a scary time for me, I found that people were mean, like any other school you had the popular people. I had a few people who made my life at the time seem hell but it was mild so I got through it. School is a scary place I find, with all the different personalities and it did feel too much at times. I pulled through, made myself fit in, learnt so much on the way and got some grades. Not the ones I wanted but I still tried, I remember my art teacher telling me I would never get into University or get anywhere. This stuck with me and I thank her for saying this now.


So college was the best time of my life, I made so many life long friends who I still adore now. I enjoyed what I was learning about, I took an extra year in college so that If I wanted to go to university I had the choice. I worked hard on making my maths grade higher and I met so many people who made a big impact on my life in a positive way. I was having troubles at home not getting on with my stepdad so college was a place I felt happiest. I took Btec in Art & Design, which I enjoyed. I am so pleased I took this path in life, it helped my confidence and I love to be creative. 

My grades in college were always high, the first time I got a A* ( Distinction in Btec ) it made me feel like I could finally do something in life. My tutors made sure that I was happy, confident in my work and pushed me to do my best. One tutor told me I couldn't draw but yes she was right but I had strengths in other things so this is why I enjoyed my course. My textile tutor who worked for Chanel years before working at the college told me I had talent which has stuck with me for years. She was the one person who really believed in me and at this time in my life I needed this. 

I met the person I want to marry at college, we are still together nearly 7 years later. wow that makes me feel really old typing that but he was and still is my very own cheerleader who never lets me give up. Even though I was so distracted by finally having a boyfriend who cared for me, I still got amazing grades and I feel that having good people around me made it the best time ever. 

In my first year I was going out every Friday night with my best friend Emma, we had the best time getting ready and dancing the night away. I miss times like that but I don't enjoy night clubs now, at the time she was what I needed to bring me out of my shell. Dancing away to Fall Out Boy and singing at the top of our voices made that year rememberable. 

Overall college was the best decision I ever made, it helped build me as a person. I feel without it I would not have met the love of my life (cheese) made so many amazing friends and my confidence would not have had that boost it needed. It also made me confident in my own creative ability, it was just what I needed and at the time I had no idea it was. If I could go back for one day I would, I would tell all my friends how much they mean to me and just thinking about it makes me want to cry. Rob and myself lost a friend last year sadly, I would give him a massive cuddle.


So university was a roller coaster, it was so different to college. I had to think for myself more and become even more creative. I took a degree in Photography and it was the best choice for me, I really enjoyed my time at university. I hardly ever went on nights out because of my anxiety, I skipped so many of them. I didn't realise at the time how much I was struggling personally. I wish I had opened up to my tutors at the time that I was struggling with depression/ anxiety which was crippling me. My first year I  nearly quit because I didn't feel good enough to complete my course. I am so pleased I stayed till the end because I grew so much as a person and photographer.

I emailed my tutors all the time asking for help on my ideas, editing etc and even though they helped me every single time I should have told them listen I am struggling with mental health, this is why I am so difficult. I had the best tutors in the world at university, they were kind, so ambitious and I looked up to them. I have never had this before where I felt inspired to do something in education, university was a big decision yet I am so pleased I went.

I met a best friend at university who helped me get through each lesson and each day, she knew how scared I was and how much I was struggling but she treated me with so much respect. I really needed her and she was there for me every single day, I owe it to her because my confidence grew so much alongside her. She made me laugh, I enjoyed every single day and I grew creatively because we had days where we would stay in the library and brain storm for hours. I think people thought we were weird laughing our heads off in the library at midnight but we cheered each other on. So thank you Liz if you read this, I owe you big time.

University was difficult, I didn't expect that I don't think but I was ready to work hard. By the end of my time at uni I got nominated for an award ( in the picture above) which really made me feel special and it was a moment I knew if I put my mind to something I could achieve it. I became so much more focused in year 3, I stayed up till 3 in the morning writing my dissertation and editing photographs. My final project I dedicated everything to it, I did 50 photo shoots to get them right. In my previous years at uni I struggled to type up essays and I wish I opened up and told my tutors this but I powered through and really tried. I put my heart into my last year and learnt so much on the way.

I did feel that in my last year that I should have tried harder but the stage I was at in my last year I would not change for the world. I felt proud of my work and I achieved so much, I was selected to go to Free Range which was a massive exhibition but only 20 students in our class of 50 could go. This email made me excited and so proud of myself, all the hard work was so worth it. I can tell you this I cried so much during university, late at night not knowing what to write or photograph but it made me stronger and I grew as a person and photographer.

I am so pleased I went to university even though I had crippling anxiety which I still struggle with today. I still struggle to write but I started my blog in my second year at university to help me piece together a ten thousand word dissertation. I was then shortlisted for Cosmopolitan Magazine blog awards the year after I graduated, a moment I will never forget.

My graduation was a big moment for me, as I sat waiting to be called up I nearly cried. My dad was an abussive husband to my mom, he was an alcoholic and my child hood was a mess at times so to be sat in a chair waiting to be given my degree felt incredible, it was hard work I did and it felt really emotional. For me it was not only about the grades but it was about doing something for myself and achieving something great.

Let me know in the comments your experiences or are you going to uni/ college? 
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