A note from Joelle...
- What was your month of birth in 1994?
- Where were you born?
Hexham in Northumberland (north of England)
- Who were your idols or role models when you were a child?
I’m not sure I had any long lasting role models as a child because as a child I was still learning and developing. I really looked up to Alan Shearer (one of the top players for Newcastle United at the time) and I even dressed up as him for one hero themed party we had at school. Looking back on it, that’s so but at the time, I was loving it!
- Name your favourite singer/band from your childhood (the the better!).
Oh my gosh there’s so many! I loved Spice Girls! But some of my others included Atomic Kitten, Busted, , Steps. My auntie took me to see Gareth Gates when I was about seven and that was my first concert I went to. I can still remember that! I absolutely cringe at it now but I thought I was the coolest girl in the world when I was telling my friends at school that I was going to a concert.
- What did you want to be when you were younger?
Like most kids, I went through the usual I want to be a hairdresser, police woman or firefighter () stage. It wasn’t until I was 11 that I got my first serious aspiration to be a lawyer.
- Do you still want to go into that profession?
Absolutely not! I decided at 11 that I wanted to be a lawyer and this lasted until I was about 15 when I realised I loved writing. I did my first work experience when I was 16 and got an article published in the local paper and that’s when I realised I wanted to be a journalist. I even chose to study journalism at university. It’s just a love of mine and I’m really fortunate that I found something when I was young that I loved and can hopefully make a career out of.
- What were you like as a teenager?
I wasn’t the typical rebellious teenager. To be honest, I didn’t get into a lot of trouble as a teen – my parents were lucky there! I used to meet up with my friends when I was a younger teen (13 -15) and we’d go to the cinema and go shopping and things like that. At school, I was always that loud and boisterous one. I remember we had to dress up as children’s characters for charity one day and me and my three best friends chose to be the – I was ! And I decided to steal Po’s scooter and ride around the school corridors on it and somehow I literally flipped over the front of the scooter and landed upside down in the doorway of a classroom. To this day, no one knows how I did it or how I didn’t break a bone. My friends found it funny.
- What was high school like for you?
It had its highs and lows. I went to an all girls school. I wouldn’t change that for the world as I made some lifelong friends there and I’ve got some social skills that I didn’t know I had until I went to university. For example, I know how to act in formal situations whereas some of my friends didn’t when we first went to and that’s a reflection of the school I went to. I’ve got some great memories from school.
- How have your dreams and goals changed through your life?
I only realised what I want to do a few months ago. Until then I was living every day as it comes. I think I’m more realistic with my goals now and I am making the most of the opportunities I have available to me now. It wasn’t until I made the decision to go to that I realised who I am as a person. I’ve definitely matured in and I’m learning more about myself every day.
- How do/did you feel about turning 21 this year?
I’m excited because I graduate five days after my 21st birthday. So it’s two major events for me. I’m having a party to celebrate the two and a lot of my friends and family from all over the country are making the effort to go to that and it means a lot to me because for , probably one of the few times in my life, I’ll have everyone who is special to me in the same room.
On the other hand, I am nervous because it also signals the end of for me and that means making important and scary life decisions. It’s exciting and terrifying at the same time.
- Is turning 21 a big deal in your opinion?
I think it’s a bigger deal in countries such as America where 21 is the legal age. I think it’s only become a bigger deal in this country because it’s caught on from other traditions. My 18th didn’t go to plan because a lot of my friends were on holiday (I’m a summer baby) so I had a relatively quiet 18th but I’m making up for it on my 21st.
- What’s one thing you are looking forward to doing in the next few years?
I want to see where life takes me. I literally have no idea what I’m doing with the next few years of my life. I have no idea where I’ll be and what I’ll be doing in a few years and that terrifies me but I’m so excited.
- Has anything shocked/surprised you about adulthood so far?
Nothing has come as a massive shock because I’ve changed and adapted to certain situations as I’ve grown older. The first week where I moved out was the hardest for me but I’ve grown as a person since then and I’ve learnt how to look after myself. That doesn’t mean my mum doesn’t still ring me to make sure I’m eating properly, because she does! I chose to move to London and living 300 miles away from home makes you grow up because you can’t run to mum and dad when it goes wrong. You have to deal with it yourself
- Do you have any hobbies or special interests?
I started my own blog, A Northerner Lost In London, which I’m becoming more and more dedicated to. It’s a blog about my thoughts on life. Since my audience is increasing I’ve become more aware and more careful about what I say. I’m learning every day.
- What would you say to a teenager who is worried about adult life?
I used to be that teenager who worries. I’m still a worrier to an extent but no matter what happens in life, you will always be fine. Even if life doesn’t go to plan, plan B will happen. Everything happens for a reason and someone somewhere has a plan for you. You should still work hard because hard work does pay off. But don’t worry about life too much.
I work part time in a pub and a drunk customer told me that one Friday night and since then I’ve realised she is right.
- If you could give your 13-year-old self a piece of advice, what would it be?
School is only a fraction of your life. Whatever is worrying or upsetting you now, it is only a ripple in the ocean. I used to have an on and off friendship with a girl who at the time really was a good friend of mine but we used to bicker and argue. It played on my mind so much. I’m not in contact with that girl anymore because she was causing me too much upset and hurt with her actions but I look back on our friendship and only think of the fond memories. If my 13 year old self could understand how I view that friendship now, she wouldn't worry so much about it.
- What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word ‘future’?
I see the future as an undecided piece of time that you can do anything with. You can’t change the past, you're still living in the present but anything can happen tomorrow, next week, next year, next decade etc.
- Who are your idols or role models now?
I admire people who work hard. The reality of life is that life isn’t handed to you on a silver plate. Like it or lump it, you can’t get anywhere without a bit of hard work.
- What steps are you going to take to make your twenties a smoother ride?
I’m a worrier and I always have been. I need to stop worrying so much and take life as it comes. I think too far ahead in the future. One of my flatmates is in her thirties and she explains how she never saw her life turn out this way (she was saving up for a mortgage but then decided to spend her savings on going back to instead). Her advice does calm me down and it does make me realise that life is a weird and wonderful thing.
- In 2015, do you think that life for young adults is optimistic or full of pressures?
A bit of both. Life is full of pressures – there’s the pressure to get a job, get a house, get married, settle down. Not only that but the competition out there is so immense that people of our generation really do have to work hard to make yourself stand out. I think we’re now at a point where there’s too much pressure because no one is different anymore. You have to be realistic. Everyone has a rent or mortgage to pay so everyone needs a job that pays. We can’t work for free anymore.
On the other hand, life is full of opportunities. We can literally do anything with our lives. It’s just a matter of taking the opportunities.
- What sets your generation apart from everyone else?
Every generation is different. The 70s was different from the 80s for example. Just like the 80s are different from the 90s. I think the 90s was a modern revolution in the sense this is the era pop culture became alive and technology really progressed forward. The music and culture is cheesy – no denying that, but I think that’s why there’s such a strong love/hate divide on the 90s. Personally I love it because I see the 90s and I see childhood. For me, it was the last era that had personality. The 00s just doesn't have personality for me.
Many thanks to Charlotte for taking part!
If you were born in 1994 and would like to be interviewed (can be anon), please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put '21/94' as the subject.