Unite Foundation

Alicia’s Letter…

Dear Reader,

To other young people who may be in the situation I was in I think I would say just pick away at the doubt. Try and challenge it. Because I think you are definitely able to.

I always wanted to go university but it didn’t feel attainable because of the situation around me. It didn’t seem like a reality until I was about 19 when I had people in my life telling me I was worthy enough to go and could do it. It made me reach for things I wouldn’t have before.

I was in care supervision from the age of six. It was really chaotic. The impact of my childhood on my life is quite fluid. Sometimes it has a really, really bad effect on me but other times I realise I would never have been the person I am had I not been through it. It is not who I am but it has helped shape me. I am more open minded, more aware of life itself and how to treat people. It’s made me want to strive for more. I think I’ve seen the other end of the spectrum where someone’s life hasn’t been lived, it’s wasting away and I don’t want that at all.

I missed out on a lot of school, particularly secondary school. I was bullied but I managed to get good grades in Music and English and not much else. The potential was there but I wasn’t able to do my best because of other things that were going on.

I coped. I taught myself guitar when I was 13 and I sang and I wrote music. I’ve been singing since I was really young. I think that’s why music has been so important to me. Now it’s less about coping and more about using it to help educate others. I enjoy working with young people and I want to work with children who can’t afford tuition. I want to run my own community music programme.

When I thought about uni, the fear of not getting in was significant. I didn’t think I would get in. The entry requirements were really high. It’s a really competitive course. When I got an interview my attitude changed a little bit. They were interested in me so I started to believe a little bit more.

I heard about Unite Foundation through my work with Who Cares Scotland – I went to Napier University to train their managers on corporate parenting and support for care experienced students at university. A man from the widening access team told me about the scholarship and really supported me through the process. It was brand new and I applied two days before the deadline.

I didn’t know if I would win one, then The Unite Foundation emailed me to let me know I had. It was a huge weight off my shoulders. It was really, really nice to know I had security that wasn’t in a bad environment. I didn’t have to worry about where I was going to be living. A fresh start. It’s been a complete eye opener.

What am I most proud of? I think I am most proud of managing to stay here after everything. That, and my music. I feel like I belong here in this present moment. I feel I belong in my own heart and in the heart of people I am closest to. It makes me feel safe.

Believe in yourself.

Alicia.