My journey from North London schoolgirl to Cambridge graduate by Courtney Daniella

My journey from North London schoolgirl to Cambridge graduate by Courtney Daniella


When you think about
somewhere like Cambridge, you probably don’t think
of a place like this. Probably don’t think of
somebody who looks like me. My name is Courtney Daniella
and I am a Youtuber, I am an entrepreneur and
I am a Cambridge graduate. Growing up here
was really cool. A lot of us didn’t grow up
with a lot of money or ambitions to
go to university. I was going to just work
to help support my family because at the time
my mum was very sick and we didn’t know whether she
was going to actually get better, so it was just my
mum, my sister and I. Now this is my old secondary
school / sixth form and behind these gates is a
normal state school that houses some of the best
people I think in the world. Now it was whilst I was here
that I decided that I was going to apply to
Cambridge University. I was scared that my
race, my background, the way I the way I spoke was definitely
going to hold me back. You’re kind of intimidated by the
fact that you were doing something that feels like going down
the lonely road by yourself but nonetheless I was able to
get over my own fears, able to get out of my own head and decided that I was gonna
let whatever would be be. Where I grew up, how I grew
up, the people that raised me, they taught me so much. It may not have been or look the same as a lot of the people
who do end up at Cambridge. However it made me into a
person with ambition and dream. If you’re watching this, and I think
you have ambition and dream and drive as well,
so you can do it! Fear is something that
happens to the best of us and I must admit when
I saw this train coming to take me to King’s Cross
so I could go to Cambridge, I was scared out of my mind! I had this train journey
to try and calm down but I was but I was pretty much
hyperventilating! When I first got off the
train at Cambridge it was a pretty
daunting experience. I had been to the city
before but I hadn’t been to the college I
was actually going to and I was pretty scared. However when I finally got here,
I was running late. I had missed my train
because I was so nervous to come to my interview, I
almost wasn’t going to come and then when I finally got
here I was running and rushing to finally get into a taxi. It’s totally fine to be
nervous for your interview, it’s pretty common,
it’s pretty human. I should have just been
a lot more easy on myself. Calm yourself down a little bit. I even wish I had worn different clothes. Remember they’re not
trying to trick you. I jumped out of my taxi
and completely forgot to pay my cab driver. It’s all about you being
comfortable and showing yourself in the
best way possible. I made it to my interview
and thank God my interviewer was actually later
than I was. What really shocked me
was when I sat down across from people that
were interviewing me, it was very conversational. What are you interested in?
What are you passionate about? Let’s discuss that. All you have to do is bring
your best self to your interview. This interview is
going really really well. And I’m sure that Rianna
is going to definitely get in, so good luck Rianna! Thanks Courtney! So when you first
come to Cambridge there were some
really grand buildings which may seem
quite intimidating. Places like this are
really beautiful and you can definitely
appreciate their beauty but for me I wanted a more
modern, more chill vibe. So right now we’re about to
go into Robinson College. It’s kinda like this
little mini fortress. You’re just seeing all
of our different rooms and places used for dining,
places used to study and places used to live in. You’re really a
part of a family. Find your real
good set of friends who you go out
into town with or you just stay
in college with. So it’s a really great
place to really find and touch base with
people who you want to spend the rest of
your three years with. All colleges have
a cafe or a bar, it’s a great place to meet
up with your friends, chill out a little bit or
you can even revise in here. This is your typical Robinson room. It has an amazing view of
the gardens and if you’re lucky enough to have a balcony
then that’s always great. You can always
decorate the walls, do whatever you can to
make yourself feel comfortable One thing about being
in a space like this is obviously you will stand out as
one of the few black students that are in your college
and you can’t let that stop you from
having a good time. One of my biggest regrets
personally was hiding away because I was constantly so
conscious of the fact that I look so different And you know what,
it held me back. You’ve just got to realise
that you being different brings a different
voice to the table. A different voice to
the conversation. Just to do it, don’t let
anyone or anything hold you back and
you will find faces where you could
feel comfortable. So I’m gonna take
you somewhere where you may spend
a lot of your time, depending on where
you like to work, and that is your
college library. It’s full of books, it’s
full of loads of desks. Whilst I was here,
I spent a lot of time sitting down and studying. It’s exam season so I should
probably get to reading. So right now we are in a lecture. And I can’t really talk too loud
because we will get kicked out! Lectures are very different
to classes at sixth form. You go off and read the books
and write the essay, you go to your supervision
and then you’ve covered the whole topic, so this is really just the
beginning of your learning. Most people in Cambridge
actually get around by cycling. no never Coming for a ride? No, never. Bye Drew. This is Trinity College,
picture everything that’s opposite to a college like Robinson
and you have Trinity. We are coming here to
talk to Nathania. It will be great for you guys
to just hear from her because she’s such
a real person; History student, from
Manchester, up north, so yeah! I didn’t actually
picture myself here, it was just, I wanted
to see if I could do it and then I did and I’m
really happy that I did. What was it like coming
here for the first time and seeing the
Trinity College? I hadn’t Googled,
I hadn’t nothing so I came here
for me interview I came down with
my auntie. And I remember like, I
was outside the front. I was literally fine and I
walked through that little door at the front and then I
literally **** myself. I was like they’re never
gonna let me in here. Like it was just so
grand and everything. I remember moving-in-day here,
like I got here late, of course, I remember standing outside
the front and I was like I was dead nervous and I
was like I can either go in and like be nervous and not speak
to anyone or just go and be myself. And that’s what I’ve done and I’ve
made some really good mates here. There are a lot of traditions,
there are a lot of rules, it can be a bit
ridiculous at times but overall it’s a really
nice place to live and I think even though it is really intimidating
how it looks, there are nice people here and like you don’t see
like 60% of them anyway because they’re all
mathmos in their room so it doesn’t really
matter to me. But I like it as a college and
I don’t think I would like to be anywhere else. It’s not work while
you’re here. Everything can be kind of
fun when you want it to be. So I found most of my time being
spent relaxing and just chilling with my friends in the ACS,
so at the end of the day, just make it what you
want it to be. 18-year-old Courtney, what
would I say to you? You’re gonna be great,
you’re actually gonna be fine and you’re smart enough
to be here, you’re gonna get
an amazing degree, you’re actually gonna get first
in some of your papers shockingly! You have the chance to
make an impact, so just don’t be quiet and
stop feeling like an imposter stop feeling like you
can’t do this and stop punishing yourself for
feeling like you have to hide away and not be seen because
then people will find out that you can’t be here
because actually you’re gonna produce
some amazing work and your voice is actually
going to be quite important. And yeah so, get out of bed, put on your wig, go to the library and go to your lectures, yeah!

6 Replies to “My journey from North London schoolgirl to Cambridge graduate by Courtney Daniella

  1. Thank you for this video Courtney <3 🙂 I applied few days ago and hopeful to recieve good news 🙂 <3

  2. Dreams evolve as we move along – it’s like a flower that’s opening very, very slowly 🙂 I am so super proud of you and loved your video; it is very inspirational. Thank You.

  3. As a Latino immigrant from Central America, this is truly inspirational. I loved how you said what’s meant to be will be – thank you for your kind smile and your enthusiastic hope for those from different backgrounds. Much love!

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