Where did you attend college
I studied at The University of Leeds in the UK. As part of my degree I was also required to spend a year studying abroad. I could choose to study at a number of institutions in America, Canada and Europe and I chose to spend my year at The University of North Texas.
What did you study?
I studied Music and specialised in vocal performance.
What did you want to do going in?
When I first started University I wanted to become a professional singer. I dreamed about going down to London and making it big in the West End. I couldn’t wait to finish studying and begin performing in all the musicals I’d cherished since childhood.
What are you actually doing with your life?
It’s crazy to think that, in four years, I’ve changed so much. I still have a passion for performing – I don’t think that will ever leave me – and my obsession with musical theatre still reigns supreme. But, I had an epiphany while I was studying abroad at UNT. I took some classes in musicianship for teaching and music psychology and I realised that I could do so much more with my life than simply share my art with others. I could help people. I started learning about children with disabilities and how music can help them in ways that other therapies cannot. I became passionate about helping children and young people with disabilities. Ideas for future projects began streaming into my head. I wanted to change the world and I couldn’t wait to get started. When I got back to the UK I decided that I would finish my degree, start volunteering and read countless books about people who have done something truly remarkable with their lives. I have just finished my final year at University and I am pleased to say that I am about to graduate with First Class Honours (the highest student accolade you can be awarded at a University in the UK). My undergraduate dissertation (a 12,000 word thesis on what constitutes music education and music therapy) won the highest mark in my entire year group. I volunteer for three amazing organisations that work with children and young people and I’m just starting to look for my first job in my newly chosen career path. In short, I’m doing pretty well and I am SO excited to graduate and start the next stage in my life.
In a perfect world, what would your post grad life be like?
I’ll be my own boss. I’ll run a business, ideally a not-for-profit, which runs creativity sessions for children and young people with disabilities. I’ll be an expert in my field. I’ll write for journals and other publications. I’ll challenge the status-quo. I’ll enable people to realise that these children don’t so much have a disability, rather just a different set of abilities to ‘normal’ people. I’ll encourage people to stop putting limitations on children whose futures could be just as bright as ours if we let them be. I’ll work alongside schools and other incredible institutions. I’ll love what I do. I’ll make a difference, even if it’s just a tiny one. I’ll travel. I’ll find out what having a disability is like for children and young people in other countries and other cultures. I’ll meet people. I’ll see things from a different perspective. I’ll write about it.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned as a post grad?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that you really can do anything you set your mind to. If you have the passion, the drive and the determination to achieve something, you will. I’ve also learnt that you can’t let fear get in the way of your dreams. We’re all scared of failure but often failure leads to our most successful endeavours. Use fear as a catalyst for making change happen. If you’re scared of something, channel that fear into a positive action. Do something about it. You’ll soon realise that you actually had nothing to be sacred of.
What is still to come for you in post grad?
I’d like to think that my future is unlimited. I want to achieve so much but have the very realistic view that you have to work hard to get to where you want to be. I’m sure I’ll make a few mistakes along the way but I know that I’ll try my utmost to learn from them. I want to make a difference in the world, even if it’s just a small one, and I know that wanting that result badly enough is the first step on the road to achieving it.