Taking action in 2021

How have we survived another treacherous year of this pandemic? Of new variants and lockdowns, and the C word that now always comes to mind is… coronavirus?

Working in news in a pandemic as a journalist has to be one of the most exhausting jobs there is. Obviously after all the front line workers that battle the virus in hospitals and GP health practices, paramedics and pharmacists, not to mention the heroes that found the vaccine as well, which have saved millions of lives worldwide.

But consuming news, giving updates, telling stories that are related to the loss of life, health, money, business, happiness, everything and anything, because of coronavirus – is emotionally and physically exhausting. I can’t remember the last time I had a day when I didn’t hear the word coronavirus, when a story I was working on, hadn’t been impacted in some way because of the pandemic.

So as I sit here writing out my list of what I’m proud of for 2021, the biggest thing I am most proud of is… making it through.

I think we forget how difficult life is when we are surrounded by a perfect reel of highlights on social media, we never learn of the challenges behind each picture, or job update, or relationship engagement. Instead, we see their achievements and question ours, and think to ourselves if we are good enough, or if we will ever have what they have.

Last year was absolute hell for me, I moved four times, I suffered PTSD from a car collision, I was stalked in my own home whilst I couldn’t even leave my house, my gas lighting toxic ex-boyfriend re-entered my life for reasons I couldn’t control – but last year showed me how difficult life can be, it gave me the tools to tackle those challenges.

2021 was the year I began to face challenges head on.

I finally began to stand up for myself in front of housemates, friendships, relationships, work situations, family situations. I had the confidence to turn around and say when something wasn’t right, when my kindness was taken advantage of, or placed too much of a burden on me. Most of the time I found myself being able to back away from a situation and NOT feel guilty about it either, a huge issue for me in the past. Instead of escaping a situation after I hit breaking point, I started to come forward and speak my mind and my feelings before it became too much for me – a massive step in the right direction. I believe in myself, my happiness, and my worth so much more, which inevitably led me to move to Guernsey for a new adventure and a promotion.

In Work

  • Presented and produced my own radio documentary which was played on the BBC
  • I reported for Radio 4 and 5live
  • I produced a radio special that was aired on 39 local radio stations
  • I wrote articles for BBC News on subjects such as mother’s day, visual impairment, coronavirus, and rental issues
  • I reported for BBC One in the Channel Islands with pieces to camera
  • My story for BBC One in the Channel Islands led the TV programme -with my face in it!
  • I filmed for my first few shots on my own (with a smart phone!) to be used for TV
  • I read the news for the first time on BBC Guernsey
  • I read the news for a pan island programme, so I can say I’ve broadcast “across the Channel Islands”
  • I was asked to launch a new BBC Breakfast show as a newsreader
  • I reported in a live two way for a pan island programme
  • I created radio packages for a pan island programme across the Channel Islands
  • My voice was used in a promotional trail about the station
  • One of my stories was multi-platform – TV, radio and online
  • I have gained a reputation of original journalism and case study led stories, on an island where its difficult for people to come forward and share their story
  • I interviewed my first member of parliament – a Deputy on mental health
  • I reported on stories I am proud to be associated with; the failings of the test and trace system by an NHS worker, the contaminated blood scandal, discrimination in Guernsey, the housing crisis in Guernsey, accessibility and the impact of gendered language
  • I produced a Breakfast show for the first time
  • Started a NCTJ journalism course remotely!
  • Researched and reported on my own investigation into breakups in lockdown with strong powerful stories
  • I finished two series, 20 episodes, and 60 interviews of my podcast “Let’s Go Kickass Today”
  • Launched a monthly Instagram Live series
  • Started my own TikTok (another social media platform?!)
  • Delivered an online workshop to a group I had never worked with before
Picture taken by Jess is a Wanderer

In Life

  • Went to my first festival pre pandemic (which was drum and bass obviously!)
  • Paddle boarded for the first time
  • Kayaked and got knocked out by a kayak – and survived
  • Went on the Stratford Orbit for the first time
  • Saw a University friend get married
  • Got vaccinated
  • Swam in the sea consecutively for 6 months in a row – including December!
  • Moved to Guernsey
  • I walked to every local park in a 10 mile radius of Streatham
  • I did a photoshoot… with all my plants!
  • I bought myself flowers for Valentines Day to highlight self love for myself
  • I stood up for myself to horrible housemates, cut myself off from toxic exs, rid myself of fake friends and fought for myself when I was taken advantage of
  • Met someone, laid out my boundaries – and they were respected!
  • I’ve seen my weaknesses as strengths
  • After years of people telling me, I’ve finally believed my own talents and skills
  • I’ve had difficult conversations with people I wouldn’t think I would have had to
  • I’ve been honest with family members over things I would never have shared before
  • Moved into my own flat for the first time – including arranging bills, furniture buying and making an island away from my family and friends, a home
  • Learnt an entire new country’s way of doing things – and adapted (with some grumbling)
  • I’ve explored the islands of Lehou, Herm and Sark
  • Made some friends for life on a rock in the middle of nowhere!

What about you? How was your 2021?