Hello, So a post today about the recent Channel 4 Pop Up day I attended. Channel 4 along with My Kinda Future arranges several Pop Up days each year for ages between 16- 25 to find young upcoming talent but also educate those that are interested in a media career. The talent day focuses on three areas (digital marketing, marketing and TV production) and you choose one. To get on a talent day you have to fill out an application form (it is like a job application form).

When you get a place you are encouraged to join Hiive this network for creative professionals. I have joined Hiive but not sure what I think about it yet. I joined the Channel 4 swarm which is a group for those who attended the C4 day, so I knew a few people who were going beforehand.

When I got there I found that I was put into the Digital Marketing group, we were put into a hall where the head of 4Talent spoke to us and showed us a Channel 4 showreel. Afterwards, the Executive Producer of Maverick TV, Kirsty Lord, showed us Maverick’s showreel and spoke to us about her career journey through media and how she got there. Maverick was there because one of their centres is based in the Midlands (Birmingham) and they are always on the lookout for local talent. It also shows us that you don’t need to move to London to have a career in media.
Her words were work as hard as possible and take every opportunity you can. Very wise indeed! Afterwards, we were split into our groups for our respective talks.

Cheeky image inside the Digital Marketing workshop

In the Digital Marketing workshop, we got a talk about digital marketing from My Kinda Future which is an agency that works with young people to help students explore their career options post education. As I already work in Marketing (and the age range was so vast) it was pitched a little low for me but it was great for those that wanted to see what it was all about or doesn’t have any experience. We were then told that for our afternoon task in the groups we were going to create a digital campaign for the Rio 2016 Paralympics based on the word pride and that we would present our idea to Aaron and Mark who worked at Maverick and a Continuity Presenter for Channel 4. The two winning groups would get an experience day at Channel 4 and the overall winning group would present their idea in London and battle it out for a career development prize.

Bit of brainstorming in the workshop

After lunch, we created our digital campaign and presented it to the judges, although my team didn’t win it gave me some ideas and also I didn’t realise until after that pitching that I actually pitched to industry specialists, which I had never done before and is a really big thing!

Two other industry talks followed, one from the Continuity Presenter at Channel 4 who grew up in Wolverhampton (where the Talent Day was held) and one from Erin Jane who worked in the Marketing Department at Channel 4.

Erin’s talk was really good because she hammered home how important it is to look outside the box and take every opportunity you can get. She worked in International Relations in America rather than going to an American university to study in her year abroad and she got herself a mentor in her final year at Birmingham University. Both of which helped her see what she wanted to do. In addition when she applied for the role at Channel 4 she wanted it so badly she travelled down to London and asked to meet a member of staff who worked in HR to talk about the job, the Receptionist was so shocked that she actually let Erin speak to a member of HR and she managed to set up a meeting for that day. It goes to show if you want an opportunity that badly and you demonstrate how and why you want it, it will help you in the long run.

Erin offering her advice

So that was it! It was a really good day even just for the networking. I met some brilliant people and I really felt invested in Channel 4, what I mean by that is I felt that they offer lots of career pathways for anyone to take up and they really want young people to get involved.

Interested in Channel 4 pop up. Look at their site here.

I have done some work with the BBC too! Look at my BBC Generation2015 profile here.

I also write for Metro.co.uk in my spare time and a few other sites. Look at my article list here.

   

Female with a plait looking out at a mountain
Originally sent into The Metro it didn’t get published in the end however I still thought it was too good to be kept in a word document. So I have published it here!
The mid- twenties is an odd age to be. You are not 18
anymore but you don’t feel like a ‘proper’ grown up either. Here are some
thoughts every mid twenty person has gone through.
OMG what have I done
with my life?
All the fun milestones such as hitting 16, 18 and 21 are
long gone and you have caught yourself thinking on more than one occasion how
things have turned out the way they have.
Knowing when people
talk about young people it doesn’t mean you.
You will never be the next generation of athletes or people
who will change the world because you are so damn old.
You take every
advantage of every opportunity because you have missed enough of them already.
You wonder what path you could have gone down if you did
take that drama class 15 years ago or done more hobbies at school.
Seeing younger people
than you achieve so much and thinking why did I spend so much time watching
telly in the school holidays
.
Laura Trott achieved two Olympic golds and numerous world
titles by the time she was 20. I was still wondering what I was going to do
with my life at that point.

You have had that
quarter life crisis at some point.
All exacerbated by the above.

You feel like you
should have your life together.
When someone gets a better job than you even if you are
perfectly happy in your own job you can’t help feel that you should be rushing
up the career ladder.
Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco from afar

People around you are settling down and it is perfectly ok.
Your friends and close people around you are settling down
and it’s not seen as a bad or risky thing to do.
Taking photos seem a
little harder as many poses you would do in your late teens you wouldn’t dream
of doing now.
Even taking a selfie seems odd and you wouldn’t think of
pouting anymore.

The prospect of
getting older is very real.
Being thirty is not that far away now and it is weird that
ten years ago you were most likely to have been finishing up GCSEs or sixth
form.

University is so long
ago.
Knowing that the recent graduates started university when I
had just finished is just sad, it felt like yesterday you were larking around
halls and going out clubbing.  

Finally although becoming older may seem scary you do also
appreciate that it is a privilege and you enjoy the journey that comes with it.

Sky Ride Leicester

Cheeky selfie before the ride 😉

In my spare time, I cycle regularly and follow cycling as well. Although I have been to a few cycle races (including a Track World Cup in Manchester and the Tour De France). I have never done a Sky Ride. This post today outlines my Sky Ride experience in Leicester.

Cycling through Leicester City Stadium
Through the stadium

What is Sky Ride?
Sky Ride is an event where you cycle 5 miles (8K) on traffic free roads at your own pace with people at all ages. Sometimes professional cyclists make an appearance ( I had Emily Kay Olympic Academy rider and Ian Stannard Team Sky rider at mine). There are others things to do after the event such as getting your bike checked out for free (which I highly recommend as you have to pay in the shops for that) and other professional riders doing tricks on their bikes.

Waiting to start the Sky Ride
At the beginning

How did the day work out?
The ride started at ten however you could turn up whatever time you wanted. I turned up at the beginning because I wanted to be at the start line with everyone else and also I wanted to go to the athlete question and answer session which was at 12.00. Luckily we didn’t have any problem parking (before you ask I don’t live anywhere near Leicester so had to drive to get there!). I got signed in pretty quickly and given the yellow bib. I like the bibs because they are reusable, but I felt like part of a team. My partner and I got lined up and I had to say I did feel like I taking part in a race. I said to James it will probably be the only time I am ever in a peloton 😉 The presenter counted us down and we were off!

Cycling in Leicester City football stadium

What was the ride like?
The ride the first time round was good fun. Although I ride a lot I have never ridden in the city centre particularly one I haven’t been in before and I really enjoyed it. The ride had a sprint section where I raced with my partner (he won, boo!) a ‘party’ section with loud music and bubbles and it went through Leicester City football stadium which was quite cool! There were various points with things going on such as the bike checks and local cycle clubs advertising themselves which you could drop in and out of. The second time round I got my bike checked for free ( I was pretty impressed that my bike was in good condition having done well over 1000 miles) and I met Emily Kay and asked her some questions (she was lovely). When we got back we had a look at some bikes that were on display (Bradley Wiggins 2012 time trial bike and Victoria Pendleton’s sprint bike) and attended the athlete Q &A session.

Bradley Wiggins Time Trial bike

Bradley Wiggins Time Trial bike
This was Victoria Pendleton's sprint bike
This was Victoria Pendleton’s sprint bike
Emily Kay and Ian Stannard
The athlete Q&A

Tips:

  • I recommend signing up online so you spend less time in the queue.
  • Watch out for people who are not as bike savvy and children. I got cut up numerous times by kids who swerved all over the place. 
  • Get your bike checked, it’s free so there is no reason not to take it up. There were a few kids bikes I saw that were in bad condition (rusty chains etc) that I hope got checked. 
Find out more or join up at goskyride.com

Studying Geography at University
Me in my graduation gown 🙂
(Image Source: Authors Own)
Studying Geography at University
Throwing our mortar boards in the air!
(Image Source: Authors Own)

Today seems rather fitting for this post as it has been three whole years since I have graduated from university. In England, it usually takes three years to complete a bachelor’s, therefore it has been a whole degree cycle since I have finished. I studied a BA (Hons) in Geography and got a 2:1 and a certificate for best final year performance and although I work in Marketing now (yes completely different career path) I did enjoy my course and took some skills that have helped me. If you are interested in studying Geography at university or just want to read about my experience then read on.

Why Did I Study Geography?
Geography was by far my favourite subject in school. I got an A at GCSE and B at A-level. I had an interest in the world for a very long time exacerbated by the fact that I had only been abroad a couple of times when I was young. I wanted to see more of it! I decided to study at Staffordshire University for a number of reasons including all field trips were free ( which is a massive plus as you will see later), the area to live in was cheap (as it is based in Stoke-on-Trent), the lecturers seemed really friendly and because I had studied Geography for so long, I felt comfortable in continuing the subject rather than starting a subject I had never studied before.

What Was The Course Like?
In the first year, the lecturers focus on building your skills so everyone is up to the same level.  This included creating maps on Adobe Illustrator, a field trip to Cannock Chase where we had to take lots of soil samples! An overnight field trip to the Peak District where we had to look at the pro’s and con’s of placing a fictional reservoir at a place called Edale and a module in human Geography which focused on the slave trade. I wasn’t keen on first year as it felt that there wasn’t enough human geography. This was intentionally done so people could swap to physical Geography they could, but frustrating for those who knew early on what they wanted to specialise in.

The second and third years were more focused, I remember a module called Cities where we explored how they were functioned and built. A module where we looked at financial districts around the world and how they worked. There was a module called Investigating Geography where we honed our research methods and built a research project. I took a module called Geographical Information Systems (GIS) which is an absolute must if you want to go down a Geography/ environmental type of career, as it combines mapping with data. I mapped land uses in Stoke- On-Trent as one of my assignments. The annual field trip was to Bangor in Wales where we looked at sand dune formation and how and why seaside towns are formed as they are and what impact has this formation has on tourism.

In my final year, I studied this topic called Refugees and Immigrants. It was by far one of my favourite modules. It looked at world migration movements and why people migrate, the implications and there was an in-depth view into the terminology used in migration.

In addition, I undertook two research projects- my dissertation which was exploring Staffordshire University students’ attitudes towards the environment and researching if the Times of India reported on certain environmental issues more than others. The second research project of which I had to be interviewed by my lecturers as it was a research project where you worked alongside your lecturer. I was quite pleased to get this as I was up against people I knew and I am very competitive. Finally there was a field trip to Barcelonia!

What Were My Lectures Like?
The lectures were a mix. So modules such as Cities were very much taking notes and reading in your own time afterwards with essays and an exam. The field work was very hands on. Lots of data recording and taking photos and bagging up soil samples. There was a lot of group work and presentations, presentations I think are really important as I have done far more presenting at work than writing essays.

I remember my course being very organised. You knew the dates for everything in advance and you knew what was expected of you. If you were not sure about something, the lecturer’s door was pretty much always open. That is particularly important as I have heard some proper horror stories of lecturers not turning up, personal tutors not being helpful or in some cases the course not existing when people arrived to study.

What Would You Have Done Differently?
Looking back I would have definitely got myself a placement in the holidays (although I did work full time as a cleaner, so I wasn’t sitting around and doing nothing) and worked part-time during term time. In my current role where I occasionally read application forms, a placement really makes you stand out, as it has shown you can apply what you have learnt in lectures. As much as I enjoyed being on a sports team I feel that at university, it shouldn’t be treated like an extension to school and that having a job where you are dealing with customers shows interviewers that you can work in a variety of difficult situations. It is a lot harder to show this being part of a sports team.

I should have done more research into what occupations you can go into after Geography and what people did with their degree. Afterwards when I was researching I found there were very few geographical and environmental roles around in the area where I lived. When you find yourself looking at graduate schemes a lot of companies won’t accept applications from those with Geography degrees as they prefer someone with English or Business Studies or Marketing. So keep that in mind.

What Were Your Opinions Of Your Course?
Overall I thought the course was good and the lecturers were always really supportive. I did enjoy the content and the field trip in Barcelona was really fun. I do think (and although I am speaking from experience of my course, it could apply to others) that there were missed opportunities where my course could have gone from good to amazing.

In my first year, I remember in groups we had to produce a poster advertising this new fictional reservoir in Edale. Rather than just creating a poster we could have done a whole marketing campaign on it. We could have had lessons from the business department on marketing. Since I am in marketing now it would have given more of those ‘transferable’ skills that these employers crave rather than just a poster done on Publisher.

I didn’t appreciate it then, but I am so glad the field trips were free. I have spoken to people who studied at other universities and they would have to save up £800 to go on this compulsory trip. With rent and living expenses, it is a lot of money on top to think about. I appreciate Barcelonia is not that far away compared to some far flung places other universities go on (one of my friends went to Africa for his final year trip) however I would rather go to somewhere in Europe and not pay rather than go further afield.

What Did I Do With My Course?
Soon after I graduated I managed to get an internship at the SU for a year. After that I moved into marketing where I am currently at now.

Why Should You Study Geography?
If you want a career in the environment or have an interest in the world around you Geography is a good subject to study. If you are very data driven GIS is good route to go down. Geography is a good subject to build quite a few skills such as writing, data collecting even design. However these days I recommend you have at least a basic idea in what you want to do with the degree and work your way to meeting this target.

So there we have it. Three years of my degree condensed into one post. I hope you can see a glimpse into why I studied Geography and what I thought of the course.

Read part one here

After I got back after the summer school had changed. I had a year behind my belt and no longer felt intimidated by the whole experience. As I was in upper sixth we all got moved to The Annex which was separate to the main boarding house linked only by a connecting corridor. I had this lovely room which to this day I call the ‘alcove’ as my bed was literally in an alcove. I was made Head of Girls School House which really involved showing people around on Open Days, meetings once a week with the Head and the chance to sit facing the sixth formers at the annual sixth form assembly every Monday rather than sit with them. We also moved into a new study, this study was underneath the theatre and was much brighter than my last study and I also got to share with my two best mates.

Boarding School Experience BecBec
Running the annual cross country run,
one year I came in the top ten!
(Image Source: Authors Own)

There were new boarders to meet and new decisions to make as next year we were all off to university. At Upper Sixth A- levels started to get harder, I remember thinking at the beginning of lower sixth when I was studying the Great Gatsby in class that there was no way in hell I was going to go to university but in Upper Sixth I realised I wanted a degree. Back then in 2008 the recession was underway, with many people losing their jobs, I didn’t have many skills to enter the job market with, I felt it in a way, I had no choice but to go.

The academic work definitely got harder. I loved the English Lit A-Level but I found Geography relatively easy. I decided to apply to study Geography at university. My school took university very seriously, it was extremely rare to not go to university straight after unless it was a gap year. We wrote our forms, had a staff member go over our personal statements rewrote the statements again and sent the forms off before Christmas. Those that were applying for Oxbridge had an interview with the Deputy Head. It was very hands on, compared to my sister who went to college a few years later and was essentially left to do the whole UCAS application herself.

Boarding School Experience BecBec
Larking around on a day out in town
(Image Source: Authors Own)

As I was turning 18 I wanted to go out. I got invited to a few parties but didn’t attend most of them as I had to get permission to stay over night from both my parents and the parents of the friends house where I was staying, it was just too much hassle. I got sick of being penned in at the weekends, I remember one time asking to go up to the newsagents up the street at half six in the evening when it was still light and I got told no as it was too late, I was 17 years old!

Good things I remember was the annual sixth form dance. It’s not a normal disco. Once a week for about eight weeks all the sixth formers had to have ballroom dancing lessons which were given by the deputy. It was embarrassing at the time, but a lovely memory to look back on. I also joined this group called PeaceJam, it’s an international organisation led by Nobel Peace Prize winners with the aim of promoting peace amongst young people. As part of this, our group travelled to Bradford University and met Shirin Ebadi. At lunch, Shirin Ebadi was invited to eat with the students and she happened to sit right opposite me, I couldn’t believe it!

Shirin Ebadi- Boarding School Experience- BecBec
Shirin Ebadi at PeaceJam
(Image Source: Authors Own)

There were more boarding school parties, looking back at the photos the teachers did make a real effort to make our final year special. There was a meal at a restaurant called Tampopo in Leeds and a party in the boarding house where the housemistress gave us all some jewellery she had made herself. I still think I have the earrings somewhere. I remember my friend smashing a light because she was threw an orange at it and then told the deputy head it had fallen down. The same friend also broke into the school swimming pool using a debit card and went for a swim in the middle of the night. She then took one of those hot plates that is powered using tea lights ( I have no idea why the boarding house had one of those!) and made a meal afterwards!

My Boarding School Experience BecBec
Young me at Tampopo
(Image Source: Authors Own)

I remember in Biology dissecting a rat. The rat stank of preserving fluid and I have no idea why we did it other than for the ‘experience’ which looking back is completely unnecessarily. This one guy took the intestines of the rat and swung it around his head lasso style. I was nearly peeing myself with laughter. I also remember going to the pub when we all hit 18 every Friday, considering I couldn’t go to the newsagents on my own. I loved the privilege and felt more of a normal 18-year-old. I remember a group of us had gone to the local town for an afternoon in the pub and when we got back the teacher on duty was checking that we hadn’t been drinking. The teacher asked me where I had been and I said Tesco’s!

Boarding Experience Part Two BecBec
Banner that was made for the Upper Sixth girls on the 
last week.
(Image Source: Authors Own)

Upper Sixth did end on a high for me as I only took two ‘proper’ A-levels and General Studies I was looking forward to joining my university course not being the odd one out. The positives I took from my experience was being with like minded people. My friends and fellow students loved their hobbies and wanted to succeed, you really felt that anything was possible. The students were polite in lessons and if I had gone to boarding school in my GCSE years I would have got better results just because the teachers would be able to teach in lessons and not have to sort out the badly behaved all the time. I enjoyed hobbies I never have tried otherwise such as PeaceJam, European Cinema Club and Archery. The negatives I found was I hadn’t worked at all- I couldn’t, I didn’t know it at the time, but that didn’t serve me well when I was job hunting after school as I didn’t have any skills such as cash handling or customer service. I couldn’t drive either.

Would I do boarding school again? Assessing everything I probably wouldn’t have gone again. I think in sixth form if you are really really smart, I mean got all A’s at GCSE smart, then it really is for you. I would have gone to the local sixth form I think and learnt to drive and definitely get a part time job. However, it has given me a unique experience, a good dinner table topic and a go to interesting fact about me!