THE BLOG

How I Didn't Let My Childhood Define Me

11/03/2016 12:41 GMT | Updated 12/03/2017 09:12 GMT

Childhood is supposed to be a time of play, being carefree and happily learning about the world. Fortunately for most people, it is.

But for a percentage of young people, their upbringing doesn't fit this model and instead it becomes a steep learning curve, with harsh lessons to absorb along the way.

When I was younger, my home life was turned upside down after my parents separated. I didn't understand what was happening or the reasons why, I rarely saw my dad and I lacked the kind of stability a lot of people take for granted when growing up. Things came crashing down after my first year of secondary school when my mum passed away. I felt overwhelmed, like the world was closing in around me and there was no way out.

I tried to adapt to the situation but things only became worse. I became stressed all the time, angry towards the people around me and suffered from alopecia. To make matters worse, I was bullied and school life became a real struggle. I became less engaged in my studies and reluctant to attend each day.

Around this time, I was offered a chance to attend The Prince's Trust xl programme, which helps young people who are struggling at school gain confidence and skills. I wasn't sure what I would get out of it, but I started going a couple of times a week to see if it could help.

I remember being really nervous at the start and I didn't want to talk about anything, but gradually, I began to really enjoy it. I felt less pressured than before and when I was offered the opportunity to spend the following year on xl full-time, I jumped at the chance. It felt good to want to go to school and enjoy learning again.

Previously, my attendance at school had been less than 50% but after starting xl, I was hardly missing a day. Given what I've been through, there are always going to be tough days, but now I'm excited about what lies ahead, whereas before I struggled to see beyond the next day.

Last year, I sat all of my exams and I'm now doing an apprenticeship. I'm grateful to The Prince's Trust and the staff at Dacorum Educational Support Centre for all their support in helping me to get my life on track.

Being nominated for the Novae Educational Achiever of the Year award at The Prince's Trust & Samsung Celebrate Success awards is such an achievement for me. I was delighted to win the regional event in Stevenage and I'm over the moon to be going to the national final. Regardless of the result, I'm so proud to get to where I am today and I'm looking forward to challenging myself to fulfil my ambitions in the future.

The Prince's Trust and Samsung Celebrate Success Awards were held on Monday at the London Palladium. The Huffington Post supported the Novae Educational Achiever of the Year Award. Find out more here. The ceremony recognised young people who have overcome issues such as unemployment, drug addiction, homelessness and depression to achieve success.

In addition to partnering the Celebrate Success Awards, Samsung is working with The Prince's Trust to tackle the digital skills gap in the UK by creating digital classrooms at its centres.

To find out more on how Samsung supports young people, click here