You know how you have a birthday, and you don’t feel any different from the last year, but you know you’ve semi-glowed-up from 5 years ago when you were 14? A lot happens can happen over a year that might just completely pass you by without you realising.
At some point last year I realised that I needed to take a gap year from 'traditional education' because my mental health was saying to me, ‘girl, you can’t be in this school situation right now, you’re not healthy’, and unlike every other occasion in my past, I took my own advice. I decided to look at my options and deferred my university entry to take time to learn more about the qualification I applied for, 'Graphic Design And Creative Digital Media' but I wasn't sure where to go.
I had a lot of misconceptions about the Creative Industry. I thought it was made up of brightly dyed hair and hipsters, graphics tablets and microphones, sketchbooks and sewing kits.
Art students in all their talents with backs hunched over laptop screens, just creating for the love of it. I thought they all worked in studios, bedrooms or on the pavements we walk. Simultaneously evoking the love of creation and inducing involuntary critical perspectives. I thought that brief cases weren’t in their vocabulary (nowadays, they’re more backpack-people), thus you wouldn’t find creative people in an office with sharpie pen pots or weekly toast runs. I thought ‘Team Days’ were going to be tedious and cold days would be made colder by tired faces but Beatfreeks are far from what I thought.
In applying for Beatfreeks' 'Creative And Digital Media' apprenticeship I had strong doubts that anything was going to go well. I often think the worst so that I don't have to get my hopes up. When it turned out that I was successful I was extremely baffled and happy.
Although this year has been like a rollercoaster (or maybe a hilly bike ride with 1 stabiliser as I can't yet ride a bike); this apprenticeship has been a huge new opportunity to gain invaluable experience.
I’ve finished being more knowledgeable about my strongest and weakest skills. I've learnt that creativity isn’t just made in creation - it is found in the concepts of ideas and the way those concepts are conveyed to an audience. By this I mean, it’s great to tell people they need to improve their wellbeing, but it doesn’t carry the same imperative as a recurring event that gives you a variety of outlets to improve your wellbeing (i.e Headspace - which is back in September). I was not only taught about the necessary technical skills by the actual goals of graphic designers, Bradley, but I grew up a little too. I feel like for all the years I’ve suffered with mental illness, this year... these people have made a difference. I had a purpose here and felt needed. I know I’m not the best human that ever lived, far from it, but sometimes you want to be alone. Not alone with yourself, alone with specific people, this team, this family, they’d be good to be alone with.
This family is different to other families. Any hardships we go through, we go through & come out of it together. The Beatfreeks team radiate support & enforce tough love. They bring you up to your best with the use of constructive critiques and pep talking you up. The team has been some of the most encouraging and uniquely creative humans. Without them, the creative industry would not be as open or accepting of the variation of talented people there are out there. The teams energy is on levels unknown (even after long nights at Poetry Jam or Headspace). I've seen us connect hearts and blow minds with campaigns and ideas. Above all, I thought creative people would never be able to work in as corporate a setting as an office, but they have 100% proved this to not be true. Branding on point. Projects on point. And if talent, dedication and strength could be on point, it would be.
So, what am I doing next?. I'm ready. I’m off to uni. Moving away. Fleeing the nest. Going through the wardrobe to Narnia.
I’m feeling a mix of emotions; happy, excited, anxious, emotional... scared for panic attacks... but I’m confident that I can make friends and conversations; even though I talk a little too much sometimes, I’m so excited to meet new people and start my new chapter. I’ve got three years before I’ll knock on the doors to the real world, hopefully things will be different then, for the world & for me.