Words: Million Interviewer: Maddy Weaver (Communications and Policy Officer)
This year was meant to be the year of positive change. I am a first year student at Northampton University, studying a course I am so passionate about Childhood and Youth studies. SW9 is home (Stockwell, South London for those not from London). I have lived and grown up on Stockwell Park Estate but was excited to be exploring new opportunities, living and studying in Northampton. When I first heard about coronavirus, I keep saying it’s not that deep, why are people over reacting this was around the end of February. Fast forward to 16 March 2020 and my future lies in tatters. University is closed, lectures finished, youth placement on hold and I moved back to London early March. It was such a shock to the system.
“I FOUND IT INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT TO FOCUS AND ENGAGE IN ONLINE LECTURES. I WAS CONFRONTED WITH THE REALITY THAT I COULD FAIL THE YEAR BECAUSE I COULDN’T COMPLETE 120HRS OF PLACEMENT DUE TO YOUTH SERVICES BEING CLOSED OR CLOSING DOWN. LIFE WAS SO UNSETTLING, ALL I WANTED TO DO WAS SPEND TIME WITH MY FAMILY AND CHILL ON NETFLIX.”
Using the time to focus on myself
I originally completed both Leap’s Leadership and Choice-to-Change programme two years ago and thoroughly enjoyed the course and working with the project workers. Working with Sherée has been great. I would describe her as one of those people you can really trust. She is always there for you when you need her to be. Whilst my university placement and life were up in the air, I decided to use the time to focus on me. Working with Sherée for eight-weeks has helped me learn so much about myself. Two years ago, I refused to talk about myself, I didn’t know how to express how I felt and what I was thinking, but the one-to-one work has helped me to deal with conflict internally and around me. I feel so different from two years ago and I owe that to Sherée and Leap; the work has had a big impact on me.
Overall, this year has been messy and yet it’s turned out to be a year I have grown so much. I have more focus on what I want to do with my life. Yes, it has been a difficult time navigating university and finding an alternative work placement to complete core modules for my degree, but I know where I want to be in life. I want to be the person I needed when I was younger. I want to support young people, maybe even open up my own youth club or business one day. I want to be a voice around my area and the issues that young people face. I want to make a difference and am driven to fulfill that goal.