In episode 35, Michael shares his story and insight into singing out loud, self esteem and finding your people.
Each episode is a snapshot, a moment, a sneak inside the minds of our graduates. As the world emerges from pandemic paralysis, are our Class of 2021 feeling inspired or inhibited, glad or gloomy, chaotic or calm?
Welcome to Season 2, a little bit of the same but quite a lot different. Subscribe now and find out what everyone is up to and how they feel about life, the last 12 months and future plans.
All opinions expressed are those of the individual and do not necessarily reflect those of the University of Edinburgh.
Multi Story Edinburgh has been created and produced by the Alumni Relations team at the University of Edinburgh. If you are interested in telling your story, please get in touch and let's talk.
Music: Since When by Mise Darling from freemusicarchive.org
Artwork: Vector created by redgreystock from www.freepik.com
Sonia 0:09 This is a snapshot, a moment, a sneak inside the minds of our graduates. This is season two, Class of 2021. A little bit of the same but quite a lot different.
Michael 0:22 Hi there. I'm Michael Forward - a recent graduate from Edinburgh University and I studied Maths and Music. So right now I'm still in Edinburgh, I'd like to stay here for a bit longer, especially since with like strikes and COVID and everything, I've only really had like two and a half years to actually be in this city. There's still stuff here that I want to do still. From the start of third year, and especially like coming towards the end of like, second semester of third year, before we all got sent home, erm we were definitely like going out with friends more and just I guess just like felt like more confident about myself and -- I've always had this thing for like, I've been like really anxious when just like messaging people to do things. I had got past that anxiety at that point. So it's like, I want to do something, I'll just like message anyone and see like, what's up. So I was quite enjoying just like doing that and actually like being more outgoing and stuff. And I feel like a lot of the anxieties that I had had for like a long time, it kind of just like, disappeared, and then COVID came. And then I wasn't able to like live like that anymore, because I was back home. And I wasn't even-- I wasn't allowed to go outside for one thing. And then it's just like a completely different situation back home, I really don't like being back home.
It's something I've been like working on, I think since first year, I realised, like, after a couple months of moving to Edinburgh, that it wasn't like this, like big change was gonna like fix my life completely. I kind of realised I need to like build up some like more self esteem, I was working on it like so like bit by bit. I remember being in first year like a couple of days after having this like big realisation, I never used to play like music in my flat or anything. I felt like oh, this I'll finally like put some music on in my bedroom and to me that felt like such a big moment. And then now -- like then I got to second year and then I would be so like comfortable singing while like washing the dishes and stuff. And now I'm sort of like, like that all the time here.
I met a lot of people in third year, that had like, very similar music tastes to me and almost like exactly the same. And I'd never really like met someone who was like that, like in sync with my music just before. Like getting to know them was like really, I think brought me out of my shell more knowing that like, okay, there are people that know about this, like obscure kind of stuff. The main thing I think was actually from being in Fresh Air and finding like like minded people that I knew would like understand where I was coming from. I think university does sort of like give you that kind of blend of like actually, like time spent working but also encourages yous to like socialise and actually kinda do things as a community. I've never been like one to work towards some like dream job because they always seem like so like, unattainable that it's like hard to even like think about how to get there. It's been really hard for me to even imagine like what my life would look like past the point of graduation, I'll graduate and then I was like my life over basically. Like there's just going to be like a black screen and then what I would feel like the rest of my life with, I just couldn't see what was going to be in there. Over this next year I want to really just like find any kind of work really, it probably won't be something that I stick with for the rest of my life I don't think and I kinda want to get any kind of job and then in the side build on like the skills that I've gained from like University and doing student radio and hopefully kinda find an in that way. Realistically, I couldn't imagine myself wanting to work any kind of non creative job for like more than a year or two. I think I don't think I'm built for that. I really need like some kind of outlet. I'm really not that good at networking, I don't think. I think my friends are like much better at it. Because a couple of weeks ago actually there was a talent scout who -- he's based in London, I think he's like the talent manager for like Scott Mills and other people from Radio One. So he was down in Edinburgh to, to meet with some of us from Fresh Air. So that was like the first time actually sort of like getting like a proper like industry contact. I come from this like very small town in like northeast of Scotland. And it's a kind of place where like no one super like famous has ever come from there or anything. A lot of people don't ever, like move outside the sort of like general area. So it's the kind of place where I feel like there's not any expectation for anyone to really go out and become anything.
So especially for me coming to university and being in a situation like that to like somebody like from London, who like manages all these, like famous, like people that are like, like known across the nation. It's like, I don't even feel like how is that even a space for someone like me to even think about like speaking to this person, I'm like, trying to get in deeper. It's like I think just getting across that barrier of like, insecurity, then it's been like, well, I've got nothing to lose really. Either he says no and then, like, I'll think about something else along the line or something actually will come out of it, so.
Whenever I come back, -- I go back every like, couple months or so -- I feel like I've grown a bit more, but then nobody back home sees that. So it's like hard to kind of like get it across. Like, I'm still at that stage of like, post graduation, and still just like not knowing like what on earth could happen. I feel like none of my dreams really involve being in a job. So I feel like that's like, one of my big flaws is that I'm just I'm really not suited to like working, I don't think. So it's like something that I really just think needs to face and like realise that at some point, I'm going to have to be as I have to do work. And I'm probably not going to enjoy it all that much. But it's something that I just need to do.
Especially like recently, like, in like, literally the last couple days, I've been thinking about more like self employed things that I could maybe work on. I'm not like huge into photography, but like, it's something that I would like to sort of like get better at. And I think I have a decent kind of eye. I've never studied it properly. So I'd really need to actually like learn sort of like some theory first before like taking it really seriously. But it's something that I'm thinking about looking at like self employed stuff to see what I could maybe get away with, for the moment.
I just want to give a shout out to the Fresh Air Committee from the last-- from 2020 to 2021 because it was all virtual, there's a lot of people there that I've still never actually like met in person and at this point, I'm not sure if I will. But like I know, we all put so much work in throughout that year. And even though like not everything like worked out, like we thought it would. It was like such a great time, especially that last semester when I was like back at home finishing my dissertation and stuff. I don't know, it really like help me get through it having like weekly meetings and the show's socials and stuff. So shout outs to Fresh Air and keep listening, we're gonna have a new studio.
Sonia 7:52 We also ask our graduates to share a place, somewhere special, somewhere we can get together when all this is finished.
Michael 8:02 My last big, pre COVID memory was a gig in Glasgow, erm to see Hannah Diamond. It was in this stereo, like a place called Stereo in Glasgow was like down in the basement. And I just never-- like I was right because I got there early and I remember walking into the basement bits where the show was and it was basically empty. There was only like five of us at the time. But this was like half an hour before even like the support was supposed to come on. And then kind of like by the time the support came on, I'm like Hannah Diamond's about to start, the whole place was like, packed fully, you could hardly even move. And then it's like through the whole show, just like everyone like being like so close and like jumping up and like singing and dancing and stuff. I never been like in a place like that with like so much energy like all around me. And like with this like fairly sort of like niche kind of music. Before that year, I had never even really met anyone that like, loved it to the same extent that I did, and like felt the same kind of energy from it that I do as being surrounded by that energy. It just really, really made me appreciate just, like how amazing going to live music is. And it's like enjoying it as a communal experience. So that's like my kind of place. I really can't wait to get back to gigs with everyone again. I think that's why COVID, the first couple of months that hit me so hard because I just had this sort of like, amazing sort of like, not life changing, but definitely like one of the like, best experiences I've had since we went to uni at least. And then all that was kind of like taken away. I think about like the first couple months I found that COVID like really hard to deal with. And then it was kind of like well, I just have to accept it.
Sonia 9:51 Thank you for listening. Join us next time for another graduate and another story.
Kirsten 10:05 If this conversation has raised more questions than answers, then you might find it helpful to speak to someone. Speaking with a careers consultant can be a great way to get some answers. Simply log on to my career hub to make an appointment. And don't forget that you can still use everything on offer from the Career Service as a recent graduate.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai