A lot of black people I’ve been privileged to converse with are skeptical about having to move to or study in Brighton. The popular buzz of Brighton being known as a major gay city also tends to affirm their dislike for this beautiful town.
I moved to Brighton September 2014 with the sole purpose of studying and not paying much attention to the city as I wasn’t an outing type of person before arriving. I was enticed by the beach and the pebbles by the sea front during an open day visit in my foundation year which was supported by EF, Oxford (the foundation institution I had attended). The differences I had picked up with the culture, style and people compared to Oxford’s made me choose the University of Brighton instead of Oxford Brookes which had offered me an admission prior.
Firstly, I haven’t come across as many gay people as I had predicted on coming down here. Even during the gay pride festival that is usually hosted here on a yearly basis, I rarely see gay couples or find a group of gay people sitting, walking or chilling. It’s probably just me who isn’t looking hard enough. To clarify, having gay people in this city actually in my own opinion makes it more accepting and tolerable compared to other small and vibrant towns in England.
Secondly, as a black girl and as one who appreciates her cultural background and race, it wasn’t a problem building a community of friends that share the same interests as me. As there are two universities in Brighton, University of Brighton and University of Sussex, this city is filled with both home and abroad students and therefore finding where you may belong isn’t a problem. There are clubs and communities open for all kinds of people and interests within and outside the schools’ premises. This is to say that every year, the population of blacks admitted into both universities are always significantly higher than the previous year so, don’t panic if you’re worried about this factor.
Thirdly, I’m quite a foodie and quite traditional as well as I enjoy cooking my own meals. Most times going out spontaneously with my friends to small restaurants and food places at the city’s center allows me appreciate different cultures and what they eat without having to visit their countries. Brighton is diverse with a plethora of local and international restaurants representing countries from across the globe, I however have exploited this privilege as a black girl who has come from Africa. I have tasted and tried cooking most of these dishes myself, as well as recommending them to friends.
Racism. Socio-culturally, Brighton is very diverse and as a black girl I haven’t had a reason to question my skin colour and where I’ve come from since living here. It’s so diverse and free-spirited that I have only met two guys who actually admitted to being originally born and bred in Brighton, my co-worker at a night shift and the maintenance guy for my rented place. Compared to Budapest, Hungary, I never get conscious of my surroundings and certain places I tread because of the colour of my skin or the fear of what people may be thinking. Brighton is one of the least racist towns you can ever think of in England.
If you love greens and parks, books and rides, if you love events and dances, good night outs and games, Brighton is the place for you. This city is not anti-black or anti-any other race, It accepts, tolerates and builds with you as long as you are open.
The disadvantage however, for me is the fact that it is quite expensive to live in. Apart from that I can see myself settling and building a good life here as a black girl if I wanted to. It’s become my mini home.
There is no warmth in waiting for the right time. The patience will sting harder than the truth you believe about holding on.
Misery becomes more appealing.
“may you be defined by your boldness in running through dry and dark cracks.”
I’d get into the bus sometimes, most times with my headphones banging loud music out its tiny speakers.
Sitting by windows is my favourite thing. My eyes get to count coloured and grey houses, watch trees and many other greens. I often begin to play rhythmic music in a lowered volume to feel the same feeling I get when watching good scenery movies. I deviate into solitude and just observe.
It is powerful.
The only regular thought I’ve known is home, it’s sometimes with me and other times I fear to think of its broken tone.
I’ve watched myself grow with strangers that I call friends. I’ve been shaken by subtle disagreements imposed by the universe in openness.
I seldom believe we are all here, just making history and not living well enough. We will all die surviving with or without purpose.
“In love, the purest of our souls’ manifest.
In love, we succumb to humility and fear without coercion.
In love, we tell our stories in ways we wish they existed.”
Can you read the signs through my saggy eye bags?
I’m knackered by pressure from my wants and the wants I’m expected to want.
I heard mum’s voice on WhatsApp call and she sounded like 50 hasn’t been good to her. I’ve been thinking of her in a sweet way lately. In a way I would spoil her with happier days if she were here.
“Be generous and kind with what you bear to instil”
I’m one and a half page of an A4 gone and I’m still wasting words on consciousness. This is what it feels like to fight forces that you never chose, fighting constantly.
You will live, you will live
You will write, you will write
You will love, you will love
You will break, you will break
You will heal, you will heal
You will die again and again before you learn to live to die.
“Be offended by your zeal to live because thinking of your death will remind you of here always”
I barely bore you with events of my university life on here but I know once in a while I drop one or two major ones. Going back to 2015, my first year, I had blogged about my resits (What if? #17), how awful it felt to had seen my name amongst those resitting Genetics and Statistics. How sad and unlucky my summer was. What I didn’t include was calling my parents and letting them know about the situation. The disappointment in their tone as they spoke to me whilst trying to be good parents and not make me feel worse about the whole situation, the after effect of the whole conversation moved me. I guess my attitude towards everything relating to university and my course became more questionable as days, months and years went by.
Second year was heavy. As my course is a three-year course here in the UK, more pressure was mounted on me and more effort was equally demanded with the load that came with the 12 modules I had done last year. The hustle to secure a placement made it even worse but that wasn’t an excuse not to scale through. At the end of the year, I was awoken yet again by another resit which until today I have managed to hide from my parents as I felt they would be bitter and really angry towards me if I had told them. Genetics again! At some point in time I joked about it to my friends, telling them how I’m “KINGING” in genetics resit zone. What felt terrible isn’t the fact that I had a resit, what made me break down most nights was the fact that 2:2 ends up being my portion even when I always seem to start off very well at the beginning of each semester. At some point, I just stopped asking why and accepted that university wasn’t for me. Thoughts of dropping out kicked in every now and then but the friends in my circle kept me grounded. They said my prayers with me, cried with me and most of all, they contributed to my healing and strength which led me into pursuing my final year.
It’s the 25th of February today, 22 weeks into final year and there is still no salvaging to my results so far. It hasn’t been stable and at the same time it hasn’t been the most brilliant. One half of my project and most of my course works released so far have been fluctuating with 2:1’s and 2:2’s. My first semester results came out and this time Genetics crossed the cut off point with only 7 marks and I’m most grateful to God for that miracle! the other paper sat comfortably on a 2:1 which to me is gracious. Hard-work and resilience have been with me since the school year started and to be honest with you, it is a struggle trying to move up from a 2:2. I am 3 weeks into second semester with 3 more course works, 4 more exams and my main project to finish. I am still with hope and so should you who is reading this thinking you’re sitting in the worst position or situation in life.
If everyone was equal, there wouldn’t be no school, no competition whatsoever and definitely no evolution but other people’s success shouldn’t stall us from ours or blind us from attaining unmeasurable success instead it should push us.
I did tweet this last week but it doesn’t mean I can’t do better. In fact it is not an excuse! It is the reason why I’m pushing to move on from a 2:2, proving to myself that even if it’s not for me, it is definitely not impossible!
I hope you find a grip too and go on from there dear reader. Do leave your thoughts and comments in the box below. Thank you.
There are ruthless ways your own words may have been translated. There are places you sing songs of war and some you whisper courage. Twice you may have been beaten down by fear, ignorance and love with hopes to come to terms with ever flowing chills. You may have seen you without the others, those you lean so strongly on, those who made you want to read this in the first place. Perhaps, I’m wrong. Wrong about you being unhappy and in pain, constantly wanting more, or maybe you’re happy for the wrong reasons. This may not be for you, this may be for more.
You can’t bear it all. It’s perfectly okay to take a step back and care for you. It’s alright that you feel for two, to feel more for others. It’s womanly to embrace your beauty and show off what you’re sensitive to. Your boldness is what men who lack courage detest, your aura is what keeps you grounded to your ego. When you are passionate, the others may not understand, when you seek, you find the roots, when you cry the earth bleeds, when you’re broken the world hears you too. You matter without validation, you’re a piece men cannot do without. You have the ability to create and recreate generations and this power makes you a god. You were born to nurture, give, give, give and give again. Bear this in mind when you belittle you. Hold this high up in your head when you walk into crowded rooms. Educate others when they say to you “you can’t”. Let it warm you always. Let it keep you with love.
We hear you. We hear when you’re silent, as it’s as loud as your ego. Your strength and resilience is admirable. The corners you cut and the length you go to get what you deserve have bred feminists. You have the ability to break and mend even though you may choose the former in pressing situations. Your pride and consistency for the things you’re passionate about makes good women appreciate you and good men work diligently with you. However, you sail with your crew members only, often forgetting that passengers could know a thing or two about sailing. It’s totally okay to let your shield down. These walls you build against us breaks you more than it does to us. It’s okay to feel, to cry, to admit to not knowing. It’s fine to accept women that ask for equality, to feel intimidated by once in a while. It’s okay to ignore challenges and just feel. Live with and for the moment without chasing shadows. Breathe without asking for more air. Allow yourself to be drowned by and with love, allow yourself to understand what you constantly fight, allow yourself to hold on for long without the thoughts of letting go. You were born supreme. Society has made you in-charge, regardless, seek to open up a bit more.
Dear woman, dear man..
You need each other to grow, understand, love, feel, chase, reciprocate, challenge,bear and live. You need you most importantly. Begin with this.
I had long doubted my patience until the day I decided to get a gap year from university, working anywhere associated with what I’m currently studying. It’s been over 5 months since my final year started and over 8 since I got rejected by the organization I placed my last hope on. Part of the rejections I got made me embrace this final lap and part has been chaotic and has eventually pushed me to share this. I believe that there are quite a few or many students who would want to know this stage I didn’t quite conquer.
Firstly, I’m an international student and not to say that interviewers or most organizations or bodies that accept placement students discriminate against international students but let’s be real here. Any country whatsoever would consider taking theirs first before any other unless you are exceptionally suitable/ there isn’t any domestic student available to take that role, then you might just be lucky. Anyway, I had that in mind long before I even started cooking up a CV. Second year resumed September 2015 and my university already started putting up advertisements for the roles linked with Biomedical science, which is what I’m currently studying. It is a broad course involving various health and life sectors, therefore adverts were placed on student central (a learning and assessment medium for most universities in England) nearly everyday.
Some of the successful interviews I had gotten were partly due to the help my university (the University of Brighton) had rendered. They helped get my CV to look more presentable and appropriate, they constantly sent direct emails to me whenever a new position came up, they always replied to most emails I sent and was always willing to give me advice whenever I needed help. That’s really what they can offer anyway, they can’t hand you a place!, don’t know about other universities but I’m speaking of mine.
Fast forward to when the application war began, bear in mind that 1st semester had already started and I had 6 modules to cover, each with their coursework and examination so you can imagine keeping up with the stress. Most colleagues of mine weren’t interested, so it was a lot harder to share my pain or have them relate with me on something they were not interested in. I applied to quite a few number of pharmaceutical companies including GSK, Pfizer, Nestle and many more. Some would have you submit your application online, which usually takes a long time and after which you also need to do an online test or even several tests before you get an interview which is not even guaranteed. Pheew! GSK, I remember vividly, doing everything until it got to the online test, after a week or so, I got a nicely written rejection. I did apply also to organizations that supported health science and governmental bodies too, all to no avail. Some won’t even bother to leave you with a rejection, you’ll just be waiting for your saviour to come. To be honest with you, until today, I can’t tell where my perseverance came from. I kept going with all the piles of rejection. It was really saddening.
After my first semester ended, I was able to convince two of my close friends to get a placement year, sharing with them the benefits and long term joy it would leave them. Thankfully, I had them with me for the rest of the application journey. We were told around April 2016 by our placement team that the NHS affiliated hospital (Royal County Sussex) here in Brighton would be putting up various positions, so we should create a totally different CV that complies to the roles that would be advertised, including in it our choices (ie the roles you wish to work in. For eg. haematology, histology etc). We were more than excited because it is commutable and their acceptance rate from our university is high from statistical indications and also not a lot of us were running for the positions.
This was my final hope so I wrote my CV more than three times, had it checked by different well read people and the placement team too and waited patiently for the D day. My friends did too. It was a few weeks before the exam, the advert came up on student central, I applied and waited. We three had gotten an email saying we got ourselves an interview. I was overly joyed and happier that it was the same day for the three of us. One week before my second semester examination, we had gone for the interview and we all came out smiling and hoping. I began to imagine myself even working there and all, you know how your hormones mess you up, yes! it did to me.
It took nearly a month before we got our feedbacks, my friends had called me with excitement that they had been accepted and they would be resuming soon, screaming that I should check my email, that they should have given me a place too. As I opened my email and read the first line, I just closed the whole link and started weeping. I literally weeped out loud. I felt stupid for having persevered the whole time and placing all that effort I should have focused on my studies on placement places I ended up not getting. I questioned what really interviewers wanted, lies? Till today I can’t really say.
Truth is, some people apply the first time and just get it and others are never lucky. I feel like the criteria for getting a place not just a placement place but for most jobs are not always considered and looked into. Most interviewees who end up not getting a place especially suitable candidates don’t always see fairness in recruitments. I believe a new system of accepting employees should be put in place and also placement applications shouldn’t feel like hell for students. More universities should have affiliates where they can directly place students that choose to do one. I understand international students (me and the rest of them) here in the UK should know better when we signed up to come here to study that there are limited jobs and opportunities considering the population and how small in comparison the country is , but efforts should be made at least to have us secure affiliate places here or abroad with the fees we pay. Home students too.
This is my horror story.
Are there any questions you want to ask regarding this? Or thoughts you wish to share, let me know in the comment box below or email me using the contact form. Thank you.
I had an Asian friend who I had known for over a year leave me a goodbye note. On it, part of what she had written said “..it’s been a really great pleasure to have met you, my very first Negro friend”. To be totally honest with you, I had a rush of mixed feelings just reading that line. I laughed, got offended, laughed again, cried and ran out to give her a tight hug. Why? Firstly, I imagined being her only black friend out of the battalion of my kind we have in our city, Brighton. I also thought how naive she was not to know that calling me a ‘Negro’ was sort of offensive but I read that line again and laughed again “..my very first Negro friend”. At that moment it occurred to me that, I wasn’t going to see her again until fate or coincidence brings us back together. I thought of her presence for the past one year and how time loves goodbyes. I cried for a girl for the first time in my life.
What am I insinuating?
You won’t know the feeling of magic until you experience something for the first time. It may not be like mine with someone triggering the effect, it may just be you creating and experiencing your own magic. Perhaps, the word ‘magic’ can be a bit too imaginative. Let’s call it a sensational feeling, one that renews your adrenaline. Think about the first time you had done/started something (esp. something that you love and chose to do). The feeling definitely doesn’t feel like the end of it, it doesn’t equate to the time it begins to grow weary, it’s so alive. That, sometimes is what pushes us to finish or continue, the thought of what and why we started. Sometimes the memory it leaves builds up and takes over our strength to carry through even when the initial thought is dead. The magic in ‘first times’ should be felt as often as the zeal you have for consistency.
When was the first time you decided to go for a walk, or probably read a book? When was the first time you chose to change your hair colour, take another route to work? When was the first time you gave something you cherish to the needy or leave someone random kind words? When was the first time you chose to meditate, to switch off and go offline for a while? When was the last time you told the people you cherish how much you appreciate and love them, the first time you hung out with people that are not in your class, race or even circle? These may all sound daunting or probably scary but believe me you, the feeling you get from ‘first times’ are more reviving than the consistent thing you’ve been doing your whole life.
Get up! Go out! and experience your own magic! dear reader.
They say something about writers that I often believe isn’t untrue. You can tell the kind of life they live from their words, what they feel and how they feel. Although, most people often refer to actions as being the loudest amongst written words, I read patterns from crossed ‘Ts’ and dotted ‘Is’. Some would rather kill you and bury their guilt in words than stand up against you and utter a word. This is an example of balance I suppose.
I’d like to be blunt. Think bluntly too dear reader.
This question should pop up every now and then in your daily life.
What makes you feel true, not what makes you feel like you should be some type of way. Not that stereotype kind of person. I’m not asking about the you you feel you should change to suit a particular circle or person. What is it that genuinely makes you smile, makes you get up in the morning and feel purposeful? What is it you feel you should be doing rather than which you are doing for a certain reason best known to you? The day you get the true answer to that question that is the very day you begin to live a life full of value. A life with so much to offer and less to ask from.
Most people up until their late forties suffer from identity crisis, not knowing where they belong or what it is they are truly living for. Others either just go with life or are very certain of what it is they ought to build for and lose as life goes on. Whichever way it is that we are climbing the ladder, we as individuals all get to that point where we stop and process it all. We reflect and make changes. The only difference is that these changes either gets worse or better. Creating a balance with life helps weed out the unnecessary, it humbles our little beginnings and keeps us woke.
Become a student over and over
Ryan Holiday, the author of the book ‘Ego is the enemy’ described one of the reasons for prolonged success in most moguls and successful people that have lived and still is, is cultivating the habit of re-learning. It might not be the best advise but going back and learning the basis of what brought you farther than ever and applying them over and over makes you the best at what you do. It humbles you enough to also learn from others and realize how much the foundation play a bigger role in sustaining timely success.
Energy is an investment
What you place value in is where you spend most of your time. To create balance, energy must be of value too. This determines where that ladder you’re climbing is heading to. Do you spend most of your time investing in people who are less invested in you? You’ll find that you’ll be losing yourself in the process. Do you make time for things that will develop your mind and encourage you to live healthier and happier? The results won’t lie at all as you’ll find yourself growing and developing from stage to stage. Energy is a heavy investment that determines where you’ll be in years to come. Invest wisely and you’ll find your reap to be solely built upon what you made time for.
There are many ways to enlarge your horizon and still be in balance, when you begin answering the first question asked in this piece “what makes you you?” you’ll find that initial step to help you put it all together and move on from there.
I’d like you to share with me ways that you create balance for yourself and your inner mind in the comment box. Thank you.
Being a biomedical student in my first year was like my foundation program where everything was set out for me with proper guidelines and much push arounds to get me to stick my eyes to my books. I didn’t get the bigger picture of university life neither did I have a prescise direction to where I was headed. I was more or less just living and attending lectures. All I was aware of was that, I was in the University of Brighton, studying biomedical science and someday I’ll get to graduate from it, lol.
Second year didn’t come with a shock following the resits I had written over the summer. It was more or less like the main meal to me than starter. I made a plan, set my targets and had since been devoted to them. I came to embrace difficulties and complex subjects that I had always pushed aside. Things slowly started making sense, it still is tho:). Academically, I’m glad on how far I’ve come this semester even though I’ve got just two weeks left to christmas break. I’m satisfied with my engagement and the results of my efforts lately.
Alright! Enough rants about second year. I just finished with my preparation activity for a lab class I have this Wednesday in analytical chemistry and decided to put up a checklist for my student bloggers and those that are happy to know what I go with to study.
These are the necessities I take along with me each time I have a long-hour session in the library, at most 6-8 hours.
Firstly, If you are intending on studying for that long, you should expect mother nature to come competing with your eye balls. Yes! I mean sleep, especially when you’re not just making sense of what you’re reading. So? grab a cup of coffee or tea.
I love water bottles. I take mine to all lectures not just the library because I easily get thirsty. Call me a baby, I don’t care haha. Atleast they fill me when I get those rumbles in my stomach after deliberately missing breakfast.
I call this next one my personal purse. I stack my stationaries in it including my lip balm and memory stick. It comes in handy when I need to lend some highlighters.
A bad pen makes for a bad handwriting and bad mood for writing too. Make sure to choose the right pen when thinking of having one. I love Bic pens. Been using these ones since september and they still rock. Although the red one’s begging to be trashed already, I still cherish it lol.
The calculator couldn’t wait for its turn so it literally bombed my pens’ picture. If you’re a scientist, you should know better to have a calculator. Most people can relate to casio, few cannot. Well I can!
There’s nothing more refereshing than using A4 plain sheets to study. A lot of people won’t buy this idea but I think it’s great for usage because it is easily disposable, it makes you do more work than using a book and it’s convenient. A book limits you in the sense that you get more cautious about it finishing so you tend to prioritize, sort of :). Just my opinion tho.
Fooooooood! I think I’m literally the only person who goes to library prepared with all kinds of food. Fruits, snacks and proper dishes haha. I really can’t do the studying thing without food, so I go prepared :D. On your left is a staple food well known in Nigeria and it’s called garri and on your right is McVities biscuits. Oh well, finished it before blogging , sorry :D. Had some grapes too.
Garri mixed with sugar 🙂
McVities Tasties (yum! yum!!)
If you are like me who likes using a lot of textbooks for a subject, then you’re welcome to the party. I feel more comfortable borrowing atleast three to four textbooks from the library for a subject I want to fully understand. If one textbook works best for you, goodluck!
All these have to go in somewhere don’t they? That’s why we’ve all got school bags. I had this one nicked from a mate of mine in my first year and since then I haven’t given it back lol. “At the end we shall all possess school bags”-unknown (sorry that was me :D) hehe
I bet you’re exhausted reading this magazine of mine. Well here’s the last accessory I take with me these days. It’s been quite windy in Brighton due to the after math of the Hurricane that lasted somewhere I really don’t know but I care to. So I study with my snood most times because it gets quite cold inside especially at night. Here’s my brown fluffy snood 🙂
These are my main cannot-do-withouts (if there’s a word like that). Feel free to ask me any questions whatsoever on them. I would entertain weird and okay questions :). Its been an exciting year for me, somehow not quite but It feels good to progress.
If you are a student, worker or just a blogger, I challenge you to post your cannot-do-without check list. Do tag me and I’ll sure repost it on my blog. Thank you for wasting your time reading mine haha :). Have a Beautiful night rest in your own part of the world.