When I graduated in 2014, I knew I wasn’t finished with learning. I always enjoyed schoolwork, and even when I didn’t I threw my all into it regardless. But to complete a Masters degree, like I wanted, I would have to fork out thousands of pounds that I just didn’t have.
And then came the wonderful news that a Postgraduate loan was going to be introduced, kindly provided by Student Finance England, that would add to any undergraduate loans already waiting to be paid off.
I almost didn’t apply for this year because I felt too busy and “there is always next year”. But we all know that tomorrow never comes. Luck would have it that I suddenly became single and was thrown into a pit of unknown. The only way out, I saw it, was to focus only on myself, to better myself and to achieve more.
I’m (hopefully if they love me) going to study at the University of Leeds, on a writing course because…well, as I’ve said many a time on this blog, I want to be a writer. Desperately, truly, it’s all I can think of to do.
If I get in, I’ll be the happiest girl in the world. I’m glad I have transformed into someone whose life is completed by education, rather than by a man*.
*However, applications are still open, apply within.
“I can say I haven’t watched a single episode of that crap this year!”
“If we all buy Star Wars music we can stop their awful single making Christmas number one again!”
“The X Factor is ruining music!”
Alright, I’ve never been a die-hard fan of The X Factor, but I’m getting quite tired of hearing about how ‘crap’ it is in and around social media.
I’ve been watching it on and off this year, more than I have any other year and I became quite invested in some of the singers from start to finish. Louisa Johnson, 17 years of age and the current nation’s sweetheart won over Wembley last night with her rendition of Forever Young (Winner’s Song) and became the latest star born from The X Factor.
How far she goes within the music industry is irrelevant and a lot of people seem to have taken the show as a personal insult to their music taste. With attacks on The X Factor flying left, right and centre, it’s enough for a fan of the show to sink to their knees in despair.
In defence of the show (which I have quite enjoyed over these last few months) there are some things that seem to go straight over people’s heads when they impose their rants upon the world.
It’s just crap, trashy TV
It might not be as classy as your Strictly Come Dancings or your Great British Bake Offs and it might not hold as much weight as the likes of University Challenge or Newsnight, but it’s good, easy entertainment. Watching it allows you to relax, sit around with friends or family and discuss what’s happening. After a week of working solidly, some people want to switch off and watch something fun, rather than continue to actively engage with media.
It ruins the true Christmas Number One Chart
We live in a day and age where Christmas songs are already deeply engrained into our minds; they’ve got a deep-rooted sense of nostalgia that resonates with us and for some reason, we can’t let go. We find it difficult to welcome new Christmas songs into our etched-in-stone digital playlists because they just don’t feel…well, Christmassy. The X Factor winners have had 7 Christmas number ones in the last 10 years, the other three including one defiant selection in 2009 called Killing in the Name by Rage Against the Machine, which I’m sure we all remember. It’s interesting to think that maybe The X Factor have successfully pushed their winners to the top because they are popular with a lot of the British public, unless it is all fixed as some rebels claim.
It’s just about Simon Cowell making money
The music industry itself is worth £4.1 billion in the UK as of 2014 and
Simon Cowell holds a net worth total of £325 million, which is a 7.2% contribution to the industry (if that’s where all his money went or came from). These big numbers account for the fact that Simon Cowell is a big, big name in music and has been responsible for the greats that have come out of The X Factor. So, if he is making a lot of money but at the same time creating popular and legendary artists, then let him do his job.
It’s destroying the integrity of music
There is a reason that Beethoven isn’t in the charts today. Popular music changes with time, society and technology. It reflects who we are as people and goes with the flow of what has been popular before, transforming and changing in a way that nobody could explain. I accept that as the show reaches its 11th year running, it feels as though they are just looking for the best cover artist or karaoke singer. However, as they use and revamp current music, it’s unlikely that The X Factor will ever die.
Ultimately, The X Factor is harmless and does more positive than negative. Think of all the budding filmmakers / media workers who want to get a foot in the door and work on the show. Then there are the people that the show is made for: the singers. It gives them the opportunity to become the star they always wanted to be; whether they are successful or not is up to them in the end. It makes people happy who watch it and are involved in it and it brings music artists together. Last night we saw One Direction, Adele and Leona Lewis singing to the Wembley masses and it was stunning.
Just think of the artists that have been squeezed out of the millions who applied for the auditions – Olly Murs, One Direction, Little Mix, JLS, Ben Haenow etc etc… Some of them vanish into the depths of nowhere, but enough have made their way in the industry for it to be credible.
We are not ‘dumbing down’ as a nation, and we are not losing our integrity in regards to the music industry. The X Factor as I see it is a viable solution to escaping some of the hardships of life and allows us to enjoy music together, while at the same time creating new artists. Whether they are any good or not and whether they succeed is again down to the public – we are encouraged to believe.
I am Brittany Lee Holmes, a 22 year old Film and Television graduate from Yorkshire. I’m currently working as a sales assistant at two different places – a boutique store in the centre of York and the biggest and best railway museum in the country. This isn’t, however, what I want, understandably. My ultimate goal is to be a writer – fictional, journalistic, factual, anything, whether it’s under my own self-employment or within a company. I have a passion for the written word and feel that because it comes to me naturally, I could be successful with it.
My jobs at the moment are to earn money and gain experience in sales because marketing is an area that I have looked at. I have experience in customer service; making people happy and helping them in any way possible. I can handle cash accurately – something that seems to be becoming outdated and old fashioned now that cards and contactless payments are accessible to mostly everyone. Both of my jobs are on the front line, meeting people that are but strangers to me and dealing with some negativity. This is making me a stronger person. After being a meek teenager in high school and sixth form, working at the forefront of these businesses has made me blossom into a confident 22 year old who isn’t afraid of what people have to say to me, regarding the company that I am working for. The nature of my work means that I encounter complaints and unhappy customers, but after many experiences of this, I have developed a hard shell against it and adopted the mindset that it’s not me personally that they can be angry at. I am the face of the company for that few hours every week and nothing they can say will affect me.
My confidence is booming and after working in a high school for a year, I have perfected my poker face and a tone of voice that can send teenagers packing in an instant. I have learned how to command a room, how to grab the attention of disinterested 12 year olds and how to laugh off immature insults like they were little drops of rain. Not only has my time working in a high school given me a much needed confidence boost, it has also shown me what it’s like to work in a big, bustling environment. The job was varied and often I was expected to undertake tasks for which I’d had no training and I achieved things at that school that I never would have imagined I could achieve. I made a lot of friends at the school from all different departments – teachers, receptionists, health professionals, dinner ladies, principals and it’s really given me an insight into how everything runs and how educational establishments function. The reason I undertook this position was to get a taster of what it was like to work in a school because I’d been considering going into teaching. As it happens, I don’t want to be a teacher (yet) but I count it as a significant part of my life that gave me lots of valuable experience and skills I never knew I could have.
I’m applying to the world, appealing to anyone who should read this blog, in the hope that someone, somewhere will read my words and learn a little about my story. I’m not on the look out for someone to give me a wonderful job (as amazing as that would be) but I want this blogging community to know that yes, I’m working somewhere I wouldn’t necessarily choose and no, I’ve not yet given up hope. I’m writing everyday; I will never give up that dream. I shelved the ambition to be a film director a couple of years ago, but being a writer is something that I can really see myself doing and being successful through it.
So, world, hear me. Hear what my little voice has to say and accept me, take me, find me a place in this cut-throat business and let me be useful. Let me speak to the world and let me be who I am. I’m not a sales assistant, I’m not a teaching assistant, I am a writer, I am Brittany Lee Holmes.
Yesterday I got my first glimmer of financial hope in a long time. I got paid! It was barely a week’s worth of pay because I’ve started my new job only just but I’m £75 less in debt than I was on Friday.
There you have it. I don’t feel like I’m gonna choke under a mounting pile of debt now and I might actually be able to treat myself to the odd Starbucks on the way home from work without feeling guilty. Life is looking up, things are getting better and now all I need to do is find myself a career that’s going to set me up for life.
Last night I couldn’t sleep, which is something that I really despise and can’t deal with very well. Luckily, I’m usually good with just blacking out at bedtime and waking up refreshed but something was plaguing me at 2am. I’m not 100% sure what, but I can hazard a pretty good guess that it was finance related. I’m waiting to hear back from the bank about an overdraft and to be honest, it’s draining me. Because of the bank holiday yesterday – convenient – I’ve had to wait an extra day to find out and ultimately, it means the difference between being able to pay rent or forfeiting money for driving lessons, which is what I really want.
So there I was, now 2:01 (gets me thinking about Taylor Swift and all the times she mentions being wide awake at this time) still thinking about money but now also thinking about my musical idol. I tried to relax, so hard, but clearly that was the wrong way to go about it. I scanned Facebook again, which I think was a bad idea and seemed to make everything 10x worse – my eyes now bulging thanks to the light of my phone. I went to the loo, opened the window, tried to find the most comfortable and cosy position but nothing, absolutely nothing was working and I was starting to piss myself off, which again was also a bad idea. If this is similar to what it’s like being an insomniac then no-thank-you, and oh my gosh if you are how do you even deal?
I was now mad, in bed, but suddenly, I was instantly transported to July 2013, a time in my life when I used to lay awake at night, stressing and alone, unhappy and disheartened. This, I seem to remember wasn’t a great moment in my life (I’ll spare you the details) and I recall vividly how I felt lying mindlessly awake in the middle of the night. It wasn’t nice. This vision led me to think about a writing project that I’m working on and I thought, My head is really chock full at the moment, let’s release some of that tension. Light on, out of bed, I clambered for the nearest notebook (plenty lying around my bedroom as the years have gone on) and pen and started scribbling. It was interestingly a huge relief, I didn’t expect it to work instantly but I knew it had been the right thing to do. Even though I wasn’t writing about my money worries, it took my mind off it for a while and I was able to concentrate on something that’s actually important to me. It was around fifteen minutes before the familiar drying of my eyes happened and I was having to blink heavier. I wrapped it up, put it aside, turned off the lamp and fell fast asleep, just like that.
This morning, however, I’ve woken up at half 7, giving me a roundabout total of five hours’ sleep… Cool. If the bank gives me the answer I want, it should all be worth it…fingers crossed.