I’d class myself as a pretty ‘normal’ teenager. I have a few quirks, but then who doesn’t? Yeah, there’s been some pretty God-awful times in my life, but then there’s been some absolutely brilliant times – it’s a balancing act which I’d say I’ve got pretty good with more highs than lows.

With that in mind, here’s a quick fact file about me:

  • I’m 17 years old
  • I’m male
  • I attend a technical college where I’m studying a Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma
  • I’m learning to drive
  • I believe strongly in the principles of fairness, equality and honesty
  • I have a neurological illness called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), which sometimes makes daily life a little bit difficult

I’m a strong believer that every person, regardless of who they are, has a voice. Regardless of: what job you do; what politics you believe in; where you live; everyone has a voice which deserves to be heard and listened to. Even if, just sometimes, it’s not something we agree with.

We often refuse to accept an idea merely because the tone of voice which in which it has been expressed is unsympathetic towards us.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Exams have never been my strong point. I somehow managed to scrape through my GCSEs and passed them all, but I’ve known ever since the end of Year 9 that A-Levels would not be the right option for me. That’s why I made the decision to go down the vocational BTEC route – I’ve never once regretted doing that over A-Levels.

However, none of that’s to say that I’m ‘disassociated’ or ‘disconnected’ from education. I love learning. I loved school. I have loads to do with student voice – I just don’t get good results doing exams. There will be a blog post at some point (will be linked here once it exists!) about my thoughts on the terminal, linear exam system and how it negatively effects those like me.

It’s at this point, Reader, that I need to let you into a little secret: I’m ill. On the 28th March 2018 (yes, the date is committed to my memory), I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME). I prefer to call it CFS – much easier to say and remember! CFS does some pretty horrible things to my body and my brain – it’s a neurological condition. You can read a lot more about the condition and how it affects my daily life on the blog. I’ll say now, though, that as much as is humanly possible I don’t let it stop me; call me stubborn! For sure, sometimes I have to do things in a different way to some people and, yes, it might take longer, but – eventually – I get there.