Hi, my name is Hannah and I am a second year Interactive Media student. I am also the first person in my family to go to University. When I was in sixth form, I didn’t know what I was actually good at, what I wanted to study or what I wanted to do in the future. Around me, everyone seemed to know what they wanted to do, and where they wanted to go. This left me feeling confused, isolated and anxious. Through my studies at York, I went from feeling lost to found.
I like subjects such as Art, English, Technology and Psychology, but I didn’t know which one subject I wanted to study further. I was so close to giving up when I decided to look for courses one last time and found the perfect course for me. It was a multidisciplinary course that incorporated Art, English, Technology, Psychology. For the first time, I could envision my future and see myself doing something I was passionate about.
Interview and Campus Tour
Fast forward to the date of my interview. I hopped on the train from London to York with my mum, reading the course content on my phone, over and over again. As the train got closer and closer to my destination, negative thoughts started popping into my head. Am I good enough? Do I have the relevant skills? Would they accept a black girl onto their course? But, as soon as I entered the room, I felt completely at ease. I even met the lecturer who would end up teaching my favourite module within my course.
After my interview, there was a campus tour. On this tour, I was able to see the facilities first-hand and view the on-campus accommodation. I was also able to talk to the current students about their university experiences. I knew then, that the University of York and York itself was the place for me. It was the perfect medium between the bustle of London and the more quiet nature of the North of England.
Getting my offer
On the train on the way home, scrolling on my phone, a notification popped up on my screen. It was an email from the Head of the Department of Theatre, Film, Television and Interactive Media (TFTI). It stated that not only was I accepted onto the Interactive Media, but that I received a reduced offer from AAB to ABB. This was due to the quality of the presentation in my interview. This is a huge achievement for me. I went from someone who felt low self-esteem, not knowing what they wanted to do, to someone who had worked hard and was being recognised for my achievements. The weight of not being good enough was finally lifted.
So off to IKEA we went, picking out everything I needed (and didn’t need). We ended up packing the shopping cart full of items for my new home. From colour coordinated bowls, to potato peelers to LED toilet lights, I was so excited to start this new journey.
Being a minority at the University of York
The beginning of term rolled around, and I remember the feeling of anxiety and excitement. I joined sports clubs such as Boxing and even co-founded Vanbrugh College Women’s Rugby Club alongside some incredible women. I still play to this day.
For the first time in my academic career, I am one of two black students on my course. Although this was daunting at first, I knew it was not something that I was going to let hold me back. For me, it is important to go to a university that meets my academic needs, but be an environment where I feel comfortable. For the first time, I was being taught by POC (people of colour) lecturers in a field I was passionate about. I even had a POC supervisor, and joined societies such as the African Caribbean Society (ACS). Here I could meet members of my community who were able to relate and understand any issues I faced.
As a black woman in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) who never felt confident in her abilities until the age of eighteen, I can’t stress how important it is to believe in your abilities and believe in your potential, so that you can go from feeling lost to found. Finding your passion isn’t always easy, but when you find it, believe in yourself and know that you can achieve even what you thought was impossible.
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