A typical day in my career is spent trying to balance uni work and social things. My mornings are usually taken up with lectures on anything from South African television from the 1980s to the impact eco-cinema has on the environment. I then spend my afternoons and evenings either planning events for societies, going to said events, or catching up with my friends.
Ever since I was a young girl, I’ve always wanted to go to university, but I never knew what I wanted to study or where I wanted to go! After joining the Uni Boob Team society, they needed a social secretary and I had some previous experience with graphic design, so I nominated myself and I’ve had such an amazing time that I’m going to run for president next year! UBT really helped my confidence so much that, after a conversation with my flatmates about the sex education system, I found Sexpression: UK and set up the Exeter branch alongside two other people.
I was the only person from my school to go to Exeter (as it’s so far away), so I didn’t know anyone when I arrived here. This meant I had to find people who had similar interests to me, and the easiest way to do this by far is by joining societies! As well as making friends, I was able to channel my passion for topics I’m really interested in! I would say the only challenge I faced was my confidence issues, as being an introvert made it really hard to put myself out there.
This might sound counter-productive, but the way I overcame my confidence issues was to tell myself that I’d do something once, and if I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t do it again. But after I’d finished, I’d tell myself that I’d done it before, and so I’d be able to do it again.
With Uni Boob Team one of the initiatives, I feel most passionate about is our free text reminder service. If you text “Ubtexeter” to 70500, then every month you’ll get a text to remind you to check your chest. This is so important to me because checking your chest regularly helps you to learn what’s normal for you and to spot any changes early so you can go to a medical professional to get it checked out.
I can’t pinpoint specifically what gave me my drive or determination, but during my first year of uni, I was surrounded by other amazing women on my course, and they’ve really inspired me to be the best version of myself and to realise that I can succeed in whatever I want as long as I put the effort in.
What’s great about being female in my committee roles is the other amazing women you meet! Whether that’s helping people with article ideas for Her Campus or raising awareness for breast cancer with the women on UBT or having some really interesting and thought-provoking conversations with everyone on Sexpression.
I would say the biggest achievement in my life has been growing enough confidence to believe in myself and figuring out that things like how I look or how I present myself don’t make me any less valid as a person.
The biggest lesson I’ve learnt along the way is just to believe in myself and stop stressing about things I have no control over.
For the most part, I would like to think that my gender hasn’t brought me unnecessary challenges as I have centred myself around female-oriented societies. However, the one challenge I’ve faced is backlash for being so open as a woman.
A mantra I live by is “You are absolutely gorgeous, and that is the least interesting thing about you!”
Three tips to young females starting their careers:
The best bit of advice that I have ever been given is to invest in a good sex toy!
The woman who has impacted my life the most has to be Bell Hooks (Gloria Jean Watkins). She’s one of my favourite intersectional feminists and is actually the person who introduced me to intersectionality. She was an amazing film theorist and really changed the landscape of film theory to be more inclusive and not just focus on straight, white, male directors (although I should probably point out that there was nothing wrong with them, it was just a very saturated market, so to speak!) but on some amazing directors who otherwise might not have gotten the same academic attention.
To my 16-year-old self, I would say, “Stop stressing about little things because everything will fall into place, and you’ll do the best you can for the situation you’re in.”