Since arriving at University, I have been asked on numerous occasions why I’m here. So why am I here? Well to answer this question I think I need to take one of my annual trips into my own mind.
I was born in Leeds, West Yorkshire to an Irish mother(this explains a lot) and an English father. I have only one older sibling who we agree is the favourite. During my early years I was quite obsessed with everything a toddler should be. The big fish I had to fry were: which is better, Thomas the Tank Engine or the Teletubbies(definitely Thomas)? Which do I eat first my sandwich or my crisps? and the all important: what should I do to avoid bedtime tonight?
This really speaks volumes about me today. The environment that my parents provided me in my early life gave me the foundations to build my mind. Books were chosen over television, Toys over video games and going out over staying in. To this I owe my imagination.
Over the following years and several trips, Ireland became a home away from home for me. My granddad, a happy-go-lucky catholic man who seemed to know everyone from Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy to snooker commentator Ken Doherty. He would usually take me off on one of his “rambles” which usually took around 4 hours and saw my granddad tell me every story ever told. It was brilliant.
I think what my Irish granddad taught me was never to get cynical, no matter how old or how much you regret.
My other granddad was a down to earth, working class joiner by day. By night, he was the most glamorous and enigmatic man I’ve ever met. The only man I’ve ever known to be run over whist chasing his stetson. Granddad and I would sit and paint for hours on end. Whenever I got something wrong or couldn’t do something he told me to persevere and to keep going. Unfortunately later in life my granddad fell ill. I remember once when I was visiting he wanted me to watch the jungle book with him. When the DVD didn’t play, despite being warned to rest, he got to his hands and knees and used all his strength to fix it, just so we could watch it.
My glamorous Granddad taught me to never give up and to keep pushing on when things got tough.
Finally when I reached college, I had to say goodbye to my Irish Granddad the story-teller. His passing hit me like a truck around halfway through my first year and I didn’t think I’d be happy ever again. It was almost as if a huge cloud had swallowed up the sun in my life. At the time I was in the Army Cadets. The people there really didn’t seem to notice, except two of my best mates in the world. Abs and Trev. They really made a difference in my life when I didn’t think anything could and if it hadn’t been for them, I really wouldn’t be where I am today.
They taught me that all things must pass and that I can get by with a little help from my friends.
When I eventually came to applying to uni, one factor really made the difference. Music. My love of music came to serve as the most powerful factor in my decision to apply to Huddersfield. The Beatles became the greatest influence in my life, to the point that they affected me down to the clothes I wore. And The Beatles came to teach me my most important lesson…
All you need is love.