Why I hated The BRIT School back then and why, I’m Thankful for it now.
One of my biggest struggles for the long time is the fact that I am a perfectionist. Since as far as I could remember, I have always believed in myself and always wanted to be the best at EVERYTHING.
At a young age, the bar for the rest of my life was set very high. I was the best at everything that I set myself to do, and I was lucky enough to have my friends and family supporting me in just about every venture, so I became incredibly confident in my abilities and hopeful that life would always be easy and painless.
Eventually, I solidified the expectation for myself to always be number one because that is what my identity was based upon.
To give you a couple examples of my pre-adolescent stretch of glory: I always had high grades, and was on the board for the highest achieving student at my school. I was the exemplar kid for Theatre and Media. In my year book I was nominated for the person to most likely be successful, I later, got into The Brit School which was a huge achievement at my young age.
I moved from my safe Catholic school in Walthamstow to The Big Brit School in Croydon, Selhorst and my world was literally flipped upside down.
Anyone who asks me, about my BRIT school experience, you would hear me say, “I absolutely hated it” and this is why…
I lost my identity in a sea of kids who went toe to toe with my vivacious personality, and my ego took a big hit. For those who are unaware of the Brit School, it is one of the biggest performing arts in London, selective in its intake, the school is notable for its numerous famous alumni including Marsha Ambrosius, Adele, Tara McDonald, Leo the Lion, Stefan Abingdon, Katy B, The Feeling, Imogen Heap, Jessie J, Cush Jumbo, Rizzle Kicks, the Kooks, King Krule, Loyle Carner, Leona Lewis, Raye, Ashley Madekwe, Katie Melua, Kate Nash, Shingai Shoniwa, Amy Winehouse, Ella Eyre, Rainy Milo and Antonio Orozco.
The BRIT SCHOOL was filled with so many creative and big personalities all in one space. Everyone was so competitive and eventually it got too much to bare, for my small self, trying to keep up.
I was not the best at anything anymore. Let’s put one thing into perspective, I did, Broadcast and Digital Communications at the BRIT so in comparison to, Theatre, Dance and Music, us students were the background. We were the Michelle’s of the school and, who wants to be a Michelle, please?
Suddenly who I was and my contribution to the world, in my young mind, was compromised, because those things that I attached my value to as a human being were challenged.
I grew up, doing Theatre, dance and singing to sitting in the back of the class, editing and filming people singing, dancing and acting.
This identity (ego) I refused to let go of ate me up inside, as I internalized it to mean that I was somehow not valuable as a person or good enough. My intrinsic value was somehow diminished because I was not the best at everything anymore.
And that is where my mind failed me, because that pattern of thinking is not true. Problems arise when we believe our value comes from our accomplishments and achievements.
The world makes it very hard to avoid attaching our value to our success because success is defined, measured, and standardized in many cultures by what we do, who we do it for, what we have (materialistic things and money), and how far we get.
What I came to realize was that these things can’t even begin to explain the person you are on the inside. What matters is your intention, the worth and depth of your relationships, and your values. These qualities make you who you are.
Before I came to this conclusion, I was hurting badly from the ages of 16-18. I was such an angry kid. Not only did my life get considerably harder after entering the Brit School, but I also stopped asking for help and maintaining the close relationships I had made when I was at my “peak,” because I felt unworthy. My work started to fall under.
To protect my precious ego, I started blaming and judging everyone to keep them at a distance so they wouldn’t see my self-perceived faults. And that, is the ugly nature of the ego. Call it competitive, stubborn, or hardheaded—it is an insatiable monster that will eat you up inside if you let it.
It is a process to let go of the unrelenting demands created by past experiences and accomplishments. Life has a funny way of showing what you need to know in order to be at peace and in harmony with your inner values.
As I grew older, I started to realize that, you don’t have to be the best at everything, Instead, you should choose what you’re good at and passionate about and fight for that and focus on being the best at that. My passion was, radio.
Oftentimes, people like to try to prove that they can do everything but end up overwhelmed because they wind up juggling too many balls, saying, “No, it’s okay, I got it.
I had to allow myself to be vulnerable enough to admit I can’t do everything and to ask for help when I need it.
Many people feel this compulsion to do things perfectly.
And for all my perfectionists out there, you are one person. So be easy with yourself. Be gentle and patient with yourself. Allow yourself some room for error and be humble enough to seek other perspectives to issues that arise. It can be extremely freeing to learn that you do not, in fact, have all the answers.
It’s okay if you aren’t first in line or the best at everything. It’s okay if you fall short in some ways or just don’t feel like yourself when you wake up in the morning.
Take a deep breath and relax. You’re not alone and you’re not a failure. You have just hit a bump in the road; you are just in a moment of transition, switching gears. You’re like a car with dead battery, simply needing a recharge.
Now that I look back, I’m so thankful for the Brit School because it taught me so much, – about my field. Although at the time, I didn’t realise it, it helped me so much, now. The teachers were incredibly supportive and when I have my kids, if I am still in London, I hope to carry out the tradition and send them to The BRIT School.
I’m a proper geek at University because I did it all at the Brit School. I learnt how to edit, film, write scripts using the professional software and more. The Brit School prepared me for the real world. I don’t feel much pressure to excel in every little thing and slave for hours as much as I use too, instead, I’ll focus on what I want to do which is Radio and make sure, I am the best in that.
I still have the element of a perfectionist in me. For example, recently, I had my birthday bash and All my close friends will tell you, that all I kept saying was “if I’m having a party, it will be the BEST PARTY that Manchester has ever seen and truth be told, it was one of the best parties. Power of the tongue but the point that I’m trying to make is, what was different to me now and me back then, was that I was not afraid to ask for help. Had I would have done it all by myself, it properly wouldn’t have been that good.
Here are so pics from the past…… meet Brit School Me!