Female Graduate Business Owner: Let’s start at the beginning.

Introduction

Hello and welcome to the Kirsty Meredith Photography blog. I have been toying with the idea of producing a blog on my website for some time now and I thought 2019 was the year to do it! I am hoping the people reading my posts can get to know me more and interact with me. 

My name is Kirsty, I’m 28 years old, I have Cerebral Palsy down the right side and I am a freelance photographer based in Maidenhead. I am determined (sometimes very stubborn!), outgoing and have a sensitive soul. As well as my joy for photography, I also enjoy raising awareness for all things disability, especially other women business owners with disabilities. This passion landed me a fantastic opportunity at the end of 2018 and I am now the blog content writer for the Girl Tribe Gang blog series #DeterminationAndDisability. 

Girl Tribe Gang is a national organisation and an award winning collective for women who work for themselves or are aspiring to quit the 9-5 and was founder by Catherine Asta Labbett. Here’s their website: www.girltribegang.co.uk and here’s my first blog post: http://bit.ly/2PTpgKs

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Let’s start at the beginning

My father first gave me a camera from about the age of 12. I remember photographing the flowers in the kitchen and always snapping away on family holidays. Fast forward a couple of years and I was gifted my first Sony DSLR at 16. My father use to take me out on weekends in and around East Sussex to help me build my portfolio. 

Shortly before I turned 16, I started a Saturday job at an independent photographic retail shop in Seaford. I worked there for almost four years and in that time I also completed a BTEC in Photography at Brighton & Hove City College (now Brighton Met). Following the BTEC I tried to get into university but at the time it wasn’t meant to be. 

After a few years in various roles we fast forward to 2015. I was in a customer service facing role and I had been for around two years, I realised after about 18 months this wasn’t going to be a long term career for me. I decided to bite the bullet and reapply for university. I got accepted on the foundation course at the University of West London, I was so excited, I knew this was what I had dreamed of doing for many years and I was determined to get a degree under my belt.

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After my first year, I did better than I thought I would and my course leader suggested I should be doing a BA! So I decided to change, I started my second year on BA Honours Photography. This did mean a third year at university but I remember thinking to myself how fast the first year had gone and I did not feel ready to enter the big, wide world just yet.

It was half way through my second year that I started getting higher marks and by the end of the academic year I told myself I’m aiming to graduate with a first now. No pressure! 

2017 was a challenging year for myself, I was juggling a degree, pushing myself to reach my best potential as well as dealing with personal problems. The pressure built up and unfortunately I did experience my first panic attack, luckily I only had a couple throughout my degree. 

By the time third year had come round things eased a bit and I’d had a well earnt break over the summer. I refocused my mind and started my third year with determination. I remember really knuckling down in my second semester, I’d gotten two 2.1’s and one 1.1 in my first semester and I knew I had to push further.  

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Like most students, my dissertations stressed me out quite a lot. I remember thinking where do I start and worrying about the endless amounts of reading ahead of me. There were so many low points in those four months where I just wanted to give up and jack it all in. I remember thinking you’re kidding yourself to think you could actually pull this off and get a first! But… I didn’t give up, I kept going with the support of my partner and close friends and family. The university staff were also brilliant, they were supportive and really pushed me to reach my best potential. 

In June, I was part of a group degree show, we named ourselves RubikSpace (www.rubikspace.com/artists) and I was responsible for the social media in promoting students work and the degree show. I exhibited my final major project Monumental City which was exhibited over a four-day weekend. It was a great success and it felt amazing seeing my work blown up to A1 size. 

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On Tuesday 24th July I graduated a Wembley Stadium with a First Class Honours in BA Honours. I’d been looking forward to this day for three years! Unfortunately I was pretty unwell with a sickness bug but I battled through, walked across the stage with pride and come out the other side as a First Class Honours Graduate! It felt amazing and still does to this day, as I write this I have tears in my eyes, happy tears of course! 

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Tune in next month for part two. Find out how my first six month of freelancing in the big wide world has been going and my 2019 goals. 

Thank you for reading. Kirsty X

Photo Credit: Jade Thomas Photography