When I was eighteen, I dropped out of A Levels a month before my exams due to an all-consuming wave of anxiety and depression. I spent three long years in and out of retail work, quitting each and every one because I was scared that I wasn’t good enough and that everyone secretly hated me. I ran away from every opportunity I was given for fear of rejection. The vast majority of my time was spent either sleeping or binge drinking, but I was still filled with hope that one day I could be a writer. Writing has always been my one comfort in life.
After deciding enough was enough, I applied for an Access Course in English, Writing and Media, the closest one to my Burnley home being at The Manchester College. I dreaded the commute, but I had a feeling it would be worth it.
At the start of the course, I barely spoke to anybody. Any time I’d try, the words would die in my throat – I was convinced that everyone would hate me, that they’d think I was weird or that they wouldn’t get my deadpan sense of humour. I closed myself off from everybody for such a long time, until one of my tutors, Glenn, put us into groups to create a presentation on a short story. The prospect of this chilled me to the core, but it was honestly such a game-changer for me. This project broke me out of my shell, and through it I met some lovely and amazing people, including one of the closest people I have in my life. Everybody was so supportive and I’ve gained so much more confidence not just with public speaking but as a person, too.
I’ve learned so much on this course. I could probably Harvard Reference in my sleep now, when before the mere thought of referencing made me want to cry. Through the Writing Poetry and Writing Fiction modules my creative writing has developed so much due to now having the confidence to experiment with different styles and techniques. In studying genre theory and creating our own short film I’ve found that I want to write screenplays as well as just poetry and short stories.
I feel as though this course has prepared me for university as I now have confidence in my academic work and in myself. My tutors, Shelley and Glenn, are the best teachers I have ever had – they’re friendly, approachable, and unwaveringly supportive. I’m so grateful that they saw something in me, that they believed in me and helped me find myself. It’s because of them that I’m starting a degree in English and Creative Writing at Manchester Met in September, and that I finally feel like I’m on the path to where I’m meant to be in life.
I miss college more than I ever thought I would. Though I’ve always been an academic person I despised school and I despised sixth form, but I ended up loving college and all the wonderful people I met there. Studying this course was the best decision of my entire life, and it’s changed me for the better. I’m happier now – I’m a much more positive and confident person. I know now that I’m not the terrible person I thought I was for such a long time, and I’m so excited for what the future holds.
My life was stagnant for so long, but now I can go on a new adventure.