I was born in Tottenham in North London and made the short move to Edmonton when I was 10 years old. They weren't the safest places in the world but it's where I'm from and I'll always have love for the places where I grew up. I attended Bishop Stopford's School in Enfield, I was there from Year 7 all the way to Year 13. Being the son of two Ethiopian immigrants and being surrounded by other Afro-Caribbeans in school was standard for me and that's where I was most comfortable. Although, it's quite ironic that my best friend throughout my secondary school experience was an white English guy.
Nevertheless, around 90% of the people I interacted with and were friends with were black. Kent was my first choice to go to University because of where it was in the University League tables. They have a great Journalism programme and that's where I want to forge a career in. I wasn't really bothered about making friends to be honest, I just wanted to move on to the next stage of my life. I also wasn't aware that you don't see many black people studying Journalism.
When I first started the course, I was a bit stunned. From being one of like 10 black male students in a class in secondary school, I was the only one. I didn't think it would really matter at first but I guess it kind of burrowed in my mind for the rest of the year no matter how much I didn't want it to. Looking around and seeing nobody like me was a problem for me, it was the first time in my life that I felt uncomfortable where I was.
I'm an overthinker so obviously that didn't help. I was going home every weekend, it was like a safe haven for me. Being back where I'm from, where I'm comfortable and with my family was a great feeling. But that Sunday night train ride back to Gillingham gave me a sunken feeling I didn't really understood and tried hard to block out. This feeling definitely interfered with my work. I was always a grinder in school, even going back to primary school, but I somehow lost that trait last year.
This year has been different, I've been more dedicated to my work and not let all that stuff affect me as much. I appreciate my family and my area for making me who I am.