A 21-year-old’s plea to all 18 to 24-year-olds to vote tomorrow.

The last day of election campaigns is upon us and with it the last push to vote. Politicians are pulling out their best rhetoric, policies, and marketing to gain your vote.

Although you received your voting slip a while ago, you are still staring at it blankly, wondering whether you should vote at all.

Or, like many others you should boycott something so minuscule.

But please, before you do that, understand its consequence.

There is so much going on in our lives that many claim to be far too busy to visit a polling station. Many claim that there is no point in voting when all politicians play the same lying character. They only look after a section of our society and often make promises that will never be fulfilled.

But please, before you give up on politics, consider the implications.

 

Vote because it is your future that the policies will affect.

The candidate who wins this election will remain in power for the next 7 years. That’s 7 years which will have dire consequences on your healthcare, your education, and, your career.

Vote because you can make a change.

34% of the total electorate don’t vote. That’s more than a third of all those who are registered to vote. Even worse, this percentage is more than those who vote for the two main parties which stands at 20% and 24%! Still think your vote makes no difference? You have the power to sway this election.

Vote because you care.

Our generation is often dubbed the “millennials”. A generation that does not care about our future so much so we would rather stare blankly at computers than converse with those around us. We are so selfish that we don’t care enough about our own communities to even vote. But those that spread this are wrong.

Our generation is full of individuals that fight for equality and voice our opinions. We often take to social media – one of the leading resources for campaigning today to voice our concerns. Many of us are activists for our core beliefs, often taking part in protests and rallies.

So if you disagree with what you have seen on the news and what you’ve read on the internet. Then make a difference tomorrow and vote.

 

If you still need an incentive to vote, then consider the above reasons as my plea. A plea from a girl like you, who is worried for our cities and our people. It is my plea to you to change the future.

Your vote tomorrow is critical.

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Grammar schools fail those who are poor.

Since Theresa May’s grammar school announcement, there has been much debate surrounding the success of such a school. I have seen a plethora of articles detailing the negative effects to a child’s mental health, the elitist process that sieves out the poor in favour of the rich and even personal accounts of a pupil’s own experiences in such an environment. Many articles I have read have been negative; both in the practicality of May’s proposal, as well as the side-effects of a grammar-style education.

Back in September, I wrote specifically on all-girls grammar schools. I argued that a single-sex grammar school benefited me, both academically and socially. I cringed at the debate that selective single-sex schools hinder a child’s interaction with the opposite sex and formed no benefit for a child when they found a job in the “real-world”. My post saw no negatives. Not because there are none, but because the negatives I saw were not at the time relevant to debate.

As the debate has progressed, I’ve opposed May’s proposal of building more grammar schools to give disadvantaged children a better chance of attaining a place in higher education. I have done so, because it is in a word, flawed. My experience of an environment, however positive, is by no means the whole story and will not benefit every child.

I fall in to the category of a “disadvantaged child”. My school career has been funded by bursaries and free school meals.

From the outset I knew the financial implications of choosing a grammar school. With the cost of the uniform alone being approximately £200, including an £80 blazer, I knew that my education was going to be costly. Without the help of my Grandma, I would have declined my place in choice of a failing comprehensive school that I hated.

Throughout the years, financial circumstances didn’t affect my academic abilities. It only hindered the experiences I was able to partake in. I declined any trip over £50 if I couldn’t afford to pay for it myself. And even then I often persuaded teachers to let me pay in installments. While this to some may not seem a disadvantage, it can make a child feel like an outcast to their peers. It is of course, your experiences of school that influences your continued success.

Unfortunately, the year I started sixth form, EMA was abolished; a policy which granted disadvantaged students with £30 a week for going to college. It was replaced by independent funding from school’s themselves. It would be money that the school had spare after every other finance had been seen to. This left me with a bursary of £100 a year which when I had to travel by bus every day, didn’t stretch far.

Yet by the end, I had attained 12 GCSE’s and 4 A-Levels; both attainments being in the top percentage of my cohort.

Although I exceeded academically, I did so from the knowledge that one day I will reap the rewards. Not every child can have this frame of mind. Many are often daunted by the knowledge of debt and financial worries, as not every disadvantaged child has someone who can supplement costs.

The cost of receiving high grades is nothing compared to the debt some could inflict on themselves.

Theresa May stated that our education system has long been “…sacrificing children’s potential because of dogma and ideology. The truth is that we already have selection in our school system – and its selection by house price, selection by wealth. That is simply unfair.” While this is correct, grammar schools are not the answer.

I may have been bright enough to pass the entrance exam but I sure as hell wasn’t rich enough to afford its luxuries comfortably.

By re-establishing the grammar system that was abolished in 1998, we will ultimately see the return of “the simplistic, binary choice of the past, where schools separate children into winners and losers, successes or failures…”, that they tried to avoid.

If you want a disadvantaged child to truly succeed in education; being back EMA, change the maintenance loans back to grants, reduce the 6.2% interest you add to our loans from day 1, and, cut or abolish tuition fees.

If any politician sincerely wants to help disadvantaged students then bring back focus on the standard of comprehensive schools, fund our education system and please, prove to the younger generations that they are valued.

 

An Ode to Halloween

Halloween, the time for ghouls and ghosts, for devils and demons but in recent years Halloween has been rife with slutty pumpkins, hoards of black cats and abysmal foam costumes. What happened to the vampires, fake blood and decaying dead?!

As a child, Halloween was a time for free sweets, chocolate and sometimes the odd 20p. Knocking on my neighbours doors and shouting ‘Trick or Treat!’ at the top of my lungs was possibly one of my favourite past times. Dressing up caused chaos. As the bin liners were ripped and red felt sewn, the house turned from luxury to decrepit mansion; the ultimate Halloween haven.

Since then I’ve taken Halloween seriously.

Continue reading “An Ode to Halloween”

#LightUpKelvinWay

A different approach to my usual weekly segment. 

I want to write a post today to spread the word about a campaign set up by The Tab Glasgow to help install CCTV cameras along a road in West End Glasgow. For any of you who do not know Glasgow that well, Kelvin Way is home to one of the most popular parks in Glasgow: Kelvingrove. When paired next to a University campus and a short walk to student accommodation and concert venues such as the SSE Hydro, the road is heavily used by student and members of the community.

In recent years there have been several attacks from rape, assault and a murder of a Glasgow University student and these have made this street feel unsafe especially when no attackers can be caught.

The increase in CCTV would benefit not only those that walk the street at night but also during the day. This busy road when placed next to one of the busiest parks in Glasgow causes some concern. Without CCTV any number of crimes can go unsolved due to lack of evidence. At least with the additional cameras we may be able to gain better descriptions of those who haunt the street.

The Tab Glasgow has decided to take action to bring this concern to light and hopefully create a safer environment around university.

We aim to gain as many signatures as possible and to talk to our local MP, Carol Monaghan, about this problem.

So please share and sign if you live in the Glasgow area.

 

Previously Posted on The Tab Glasgow.

If I ever get dementia, shoot me like a race horse.

Dear Dementia,

Few people know this but you are not a disease. You are a collective of symptoms which describe the diseases which cause you. The term dementia is attributed as a summary of the effects. Unfortunately, you are an inevitable part of life on a global scale. And while everyone’s experience of you is different, you often change personalities. Causing an inability to communicate, create delusions and hallucinations, and give problems when judging distance and speed.

In 2011, Dementia you changed my life. You infected the one person I could always talk to. The one person who I have always admired. You changed her so much that now she does not know who I am. I have gone from the person who would sit for hours listening contently to her stories to simply a woman. I no longer share an attachment to her like I used to. Continue reading “If I ever get dementia, shoot me like a race horse.”

Congratulations to synchro diver Daniel Goodfellow and partner.

The Rio Olympics are here. And with them comes the drama, excitement, and sporting obsessions that only appear once every four years.

The latest drama in Britain is Team GB winning bronze last night in the male 10M synchronised diving. Whilst the world watched in anticipation, Goodfellow and his partner battled the elements and snatched 3rd out of the hands of the Germans.

The battle was tough.  China did not falter and the USA created waves, they were going to be hard to beat from the start.

The open air arena did not faze him. With blustery wind and everyday noises echoing from outside, Daniel showed professionalism. He dived with confidence and determination, and for his first Olympics he was impressive. Continue reading “Congratulations to synchro diver Daniel Goodfellow and partner.”

I wish the term ‘poor’ would stop defining me as a student.

This morning the government announced the scrapping of maintenance grants in favour of loans. While another policy is aimed at students, it seems the poorest of us are those who will suffer most.

Since a young age, the importance of intellect and education was instilled in me. It has become second nature to me to do well. So much so, at 11 I was accepted in to a grammar school after passing the entrance examination. I was one of many who achieved the highest GCSE’s and A-Level qualifications and in my final year, I was given a specialist award for endeavour. Due to this, I was awarded a scholarship from Glasgow university to cover costs of books and any other equipment I may need.

I managed all this whilst being raised in a council house with little income. My mum would budget heavily, saving for months to buy the expensive grammar school uniform. Scrimping back on her own food in order to buy me stationary and books. And giving my sister and I the majority of the food at meal times so that we could think and learn to the best of our ability. We owned no technology until secondary school and it was then that my sister and I used our own savings to buy laptops and mobile phones. My educational achievements are due to the unending sacrifices my mum made in order for us to never find out how poor we truly were. We were raised heavily on morals and imagination, and both have served me well. Continue reading “I wish the term ‘poor’ would stop defining me as a student.”