How are you? I’m good, and as I write this, I’m sat in school. We’re writing up our articles today, related to the project which started all of my radio and TV stuff…
So, I feel like I owe you all a super-good post, to make up for my lack of posts recently. So, I have decided to tell you about what’s been going on, in its full detail.
On Monday, I was at BBC broadcasting House. I interviewed a professor, which was an amazing experience, and I was interviewed myself too. Being interested in becoming a journalist myself, it was so surreal being in one of the most iconic British buildings in the journalism world. I also discovered that the BBC canteen sell amazing flapjacks – I mean, AMAZING! They also have a coffee machine, and the building itself is surrounded by coffee shops: you could literally go on a coffee-shop crawl, from Starbucks to Costa to Café Nero.
On Wednesday, I was in Hereford, at a Futures Fair, aimed at blind and visually impaired young people, like myself. The idea for me was to try and decide what I want to do for my A Levels – stay at school at home, or move 200 miles away to a specialist college for blind people. The specialist college can provide me with independent living skills training, like cooking, in preparation for university, but it is a very long way away…
I went by train, which was a nightmare. Esentially:
Train 1: Cancelled halfway to its destination
Train 2: Delayed… A lot
Train 3: Affected by flooding
Train 4: Affected by flooding
Train 5: Delayed by signalling problems
Yeah, I know…
This morning, I had to get up super early, to make sure I sounded [and actually was] awake.
But why, you ask.
I was going live – yes, LIVE – on my local bBC Radio station. They’d taken an interest in my story, and wanted to interview me live on the breakfast show! Oh my God, it was so good! It felt like a normal conversation, but it was live, and I just really enjoyed the idea of spreading awareness of visually impaired young people.
It’s been so crazy, and some of the comments that have been emailed to the BBC have been so heartwarming. Someone said it was the “best show ever”, and others said how interesting it was. I genuinely cried when I read those emails, because it’s so lovely to know that somewhere, I’m making a difference.
Today, I had to write up an article, as part of the School Report project from which this all started. My form tutor instructed me to write an article about my media experience, and I’ve edited the first few paragraphs [for anonymity reasons only], so you guys can read it. I’ve had to leave the last half out, because there was just too much to cut out.
When I signed up to BBC News school Report in mid-January, a project aiming to get 11-16-year-old school children interested in reporting on current news, I didn’t expect to have a 20 minute radio program, a 3 minute regional news item and a live interview to my name just two months later. The story about my alternative opinion on the bionic eye which I paraphrased in early February led to an interest at the BBC and a resulting trip to Broadcasting House, London.
Recent scientific developments have resulted in the creation of a bionic eye, a retinal implant, aiming to restore some useful vision for totally blind people. It is currently being used in clinical trials, with the first successful operation completed in January. Such a huge breakthrough in this medical research resulted in a major media story, focusing on how the bionic eye would change blind people’s lives.
I am a completely blind 14-year-old student, and have had no sight for 8 years. After some research into the bionic eye, and after reading quotes from those involved in the clinical trials, I began to consider how the bionic eye could change my life. Due to medical limitations, the current technology is not suitable for me; my eyes are too severely damaged for the retinal implant to work. However, if given the opportunity to have some of my sight restored, I would refuse the offer, on the basis that I’m happy leading the life I lead as a blind teenager.
Many sighted people consider blindness as a negative: losing their vision is often an unimaginably frightening concept. So, when I get asked the common question, “IF you had the chance, would you want to see again?”, people are stunned by my response.
“No, I wouldn’t.”
I am used to living the way I live, and although I often do everyday tasks in a slightly different way, I don’t see my life as any more of a challenge than a sighted person’s life. I think that the reason sighted people fear blindness is because it’s so wildly different from the way they live their lives now. People rely on sight each and every day, and taking away vision would be like taking away my hearing – they’d be lost without it.