#UoBWomen: Alice's advice on staying true to yourself

Hi! I’m Alice. This March, it’s International Women's History Month, with March 8 marking International Women’s Day.  

 Alice SCS

This month is an incredible opportunity to shine a light on the amazing achievements of women throughout history, and a time to recognise the struggles they’ve overcome to shape the world today. But let's not forget, every triumph, big or small, deserves a moment of celebration, especially on International Women's Day. Whether it be your love for chocolate chip cookies (which we have American chef Ruth Graves Wakefield to thank for inventing!), Mamma Mia, or your mum’s fashion sense, our lives would definitely be lacking that extra sparkle. 

To join in on the celebration, I’m going to be talking about the lessons and experiences that have shaped me. 

My schooling experience: from all-girls haven to all-boys grammar 

I’m so lucky to have so many incredible women in my life as my drive and inspiration, independent business owners, mothers, warriors and dream followers. I used to be at a very small all-girls school in the middle of nowhere and it will forever be the best thing that happened to me because the headstrong girls I was surrounded by taught me the value of loving, supporting, being free and being stubbornly yourself. We wore floor-length kilts (attractive, I know), played games every lunch-time and had no shame in being young. It was our haven away from the ‘real’ world.  

When that sanctuary-like school had to close due to the repercussions of COVID, I found myself enrolling in an all-boys grammar school for sixth form, becoming the first intake of girls. As you can imagine, things became a little different.  

I remember when I walked in on my first day, and a group of boys shouted ‘We don’t want you here!’. Well, to be quite honest, I didn’t really want to be there either, but as they say, life happens.  

Learning to stick to my gut  

I took English Lit, Photography and Psychology for A levels, all of which weren’t good enough for some of the lads who told me I was just doing ‘hobby’ subjects. But I didn’t let their opinions hold me back, I worked hard and achieved grades I was insanely proud of. I even completed my Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award (DofE) expedition as the only girl and became the Sports Media photographer. Throughout it all, I stuck to my gut - and I’m so glad that I did.  

As time went on, I found myself actually enjoying my time at that school, and I’d like to think the boys became a little more open-minded too. I owe a lot to those wonderful women from my old school who taught me to be unapologetically myself - although in polite British fashion, I still can't resist saying "sorry" when someone bumps into me on the stairs! 

I hope to do something amazing with my creativity someday soon, and I will never feel lesser for not being more academically inclined. I have so much faith in who I am and have proved to myself that if I want to, I can achieve whatever I want, and I’m so thankful to have that mindset guiding me forward. 

My challenge to you 

This month, I challenge you to be you. To take pride and ownership in the wonderful things you’ve done, and not to apologise for staying connected to the person that you want to be, and the things you want to achieve, no matter how ambitious or unusual.  

 Alice 3

Take time to reflect on those wonderful women in your life and tell them just how wonderful they are. Be inspired by them, support them, and take a minute to love yourself and see how far you’ve come.  

Join the celebration this International Women’s Month by exploring our line-up of exciting events! Take a browse and get involved.


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