Further Education had always been part of the plan for me from a young age, however I never imagined it would be as crucial to who I am today as it has been.
From Hyde Technology School (now Hyde Community College) I enrolled at the Shena Simon Campus of the Manchester College. The majority of my peers at school all went to the same sixth form but after years of bullying I was keen for a fresh start. This, to date, has been the best decision I’ve ever made.
Following my time at Shena Simon I went onto study English Language at the University of Manchester, where, for my first year I remained relatively quiet. However, upon finishing my first year I felt like I’d wasted time and got the itch to do something other than my studies.
I applied to the student newspaper the Mancunion and thanks to my experience with WhatsOnStage I was given the role of Theatre Editor. Within a couple of months I was also given the role of Magazine Editor and in my final year I was made Deputy Editor-in-Chief. Myself and small group of friends I made from my time at the Manchester Media Group hatched a plan together to create an annual conference to give delegates the opportunity to celebrate and learn from successful women in all aspects of the media, and ultimately to empower them in their pursuit.
I graduated from Manchester not long ago with my degree alongside additional qualifications in German and Mandarin Chinese, I also started working at the BBC as a Production Management Assistant. And it would be ignorant of me to say I have done this alone.
It goes without saying that I wouldn’t be anywhere without the support from my Mum and Dad. However, there are two teachers whom I owe pretty much everything to.
The first is Glenn Meads who picked me up under his wing during my first year of college after I put in a student survey that I’d like to write for the National Geographic. Glenn gave me confidence in myself and my abilities to write about something I’d only dreamed about doing.
Class diversity in the arts/media is a prominent topic at the moment, reviewing theatre wouldn’t have been an option for me without Glenn, and I’ll forever be thankful he believed in me. He recently inspired me to launch a new project called The Class Ceiling (classceiling.wordpress.com) which encourages working class people to share their experiences – predictions, past or present – in order to illustrate a true picture of what it’s like for the working class in the arts/media industries. Despite religiously reading reviews and news about the stage, going to the theatre was a cherished but rare treat until I met Glenn.
The second is Angela Walsh who taught me English and later Media Studies from year seven to year ten at secondary school. She is someone who gave me confidence in myself, believed in me but also someone who instilled in me a love of media. When people talk about who their ‘Dead Poet Society’ teacher would be it would go to her, hands down. She did so much for me that she probably doesn’t realise. After the final lesson we had with her, my friend and I (who adored her equally) walked home in complete silence.