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Case Study

William Graydon

Sunderland, UK

BA (Hons) Media Production

William Graydon, 21, is in the second year of his BA Media Production degree. A combination of determination, self-belief, and the right support has brought him to where he wants to be in his life.

We were an ordinary working class family, but my dad was a drug addict and alcoholic. My mam had to make a choice for all our sakes, and she left him. It was just me and my mam and she over compensated for the fact that my dad wasn’t around and, to be honest, I ended up becoming a spoiled brat.

I was butting heads with my mam and my stepdad, and eventually it all came to a head when I was fifteen when I decided I couldn’t live with my mam anymore. I ended up going into care and it was the best thing I could have done at the time. 

Basically everyone at school had given up on me, and I realised that there was a very real danger that I would end up like my dad.

When I was in the care home they asked me what I wanted to do, and I told them I wanted to go to university – and they laughed, they thought I was joking. I struggled through the first year of college, but one of the teachers there saw my potential and she fought for me to stay. She pushed me. At the start of my course no one expected me to pass, and I ended up getting two Distinctions and a Merit.

I applied to go to University of Sunderland in the Foundation Year – but the lecturer on the Media Production degree rang up and said they wanted me to go straight into the first year of the degree.

I decided I needed some practical experience, so dropped a line to Pride Radio in Gateshead. I just thought it would be a 30 minute chat, but I ended up there the whole afternoon and before I knew it I was part of the team. I edit shows for both the FM and online stations, and now I’m doing my own segment for one of the shows.

I get to meet so many exciting people. I’ve proven everyone wrong. 

When I first got into university I told my dad, but he wasn’t happy about it at all. That was very difficult for me, and he never apologised. But if anyone tells me I’m never going to do something I’m going to come back tenfold and do way better.

A couple of years ago I was a teenager no one wanted to be around. I was angry all the time, but now things just keep getting better and better, and now me and my mam are better than ever and she couldn’t be prouder.

If it wasn’t for the Care Experienced Students Support Team I would have quit university. I’ve had amazing help from the University, particularly last year when my dad died and again this year with my granddad passing, they were there for me.

Anytime I’ve needed help they’re there. They have no idea how much they’ve helped me. It’s amazing to know that there’s someone there to help and support me, and who I can trust.”

Published 29 April 2019

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