As you probably already know, as I’ve always plastered it over every bio and press feature ever published about me, (as I’m always proud lol) I graduated from the University of Leeds back in 2010 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism, that’s how I kick-started my career as a presenter!
I recently returned to Leeds uni to give a talk about my journey since graduating ( I know right pretty cool ha!). I talked about how I created my brand and landed some of my dream jobs such as a TV and Radio presenter. Here’s a little tease of what went down ha!
One of the questions I often get asked about my career from people who want to become presenters is … “Do I need to go to uni?” my answer is usually no you don’t have to but I’m glad I did!
When I was at Uni it was a love-hate experience! I loved the social aspect of it, being away from home for the first time, being independent, non stop partying, making new friends I had a whale of a time. But when we actually talk about the real reason I was there… to learn… and get a degree… I didn’t really enjoy my course!
A lot of the time I thought that the stuff we were learning as a part of the broadcast journalism degree was pointless and not for me. I didn’t like group work (it’s not that I don’t like working with others… I just like working alone), I didn’t like studying politics, current affairs or the history of communications and I really wanted to be in front of the camera and along the course you spend most of your time researching, producing, directing, shooting and rarely any time actually on screen… IF you even get picked to be the presenter for the project *sigh*.
In fact, I ended up using a lot of my free time at uni to work on and develop my presenting skills by creating my own video content, recording interviews for my radio show on pirate radio and covering events around uni and around neighbouring cities like Bradford.
But the reason I say I’m glad I went to uni, is because it opened my mind to different types of broadcasting, it helped me realise the world is bigger than just London lol and I met so many amazing people that helped me create, learn new skills and my confidence grew through my independence thus Remel London was born!
A little backstory, a lot of people don’t know that the nickname Remel London was created at uni!
Facebook had recently launched and everyone was creating accounts including me. Originally my full name was on there, but a friend advised me that I shouldn’t use my real name as it might affect me finding a job in the future lol so I had a think and chose to change my name to Remel London as I was homesick. At the time I was the vice president of the Afro Caribbean society and also the women’s captain of the Athletics Society, so as it was easier to share your facebook name rather than give my phone number to everyone, pretty much everyone in the societies and around uni knew me as Remel London… I’m not even sure many people know my real name anymore lol
So back to the actual reason I think Uni can be beneficial, we had free reign of all of the equipment on site, so I often hired out cameras, audio equipment and used the studios to produce content for my radio shows and learn how to produce, direct and promote my own content.
I was a little rebellious during the course, I remember my lecturer asked us all to create a documentary profile on a person of interest. I decided I wanted to focus on DJ Dan Hills who had made a name for himself as one of the hottest DJs in Leeds. My lecturer told me it wouldn’t work, as the only time I would generally be able to film is at night, at the clubs where the lighting would be poor and the audio wouldn’t be clear… but I told her I really wanted to do it and went ahead with it. Of course she was right lol and she gave me a lower mark for bad lighting and bad audio *rolls eyes* but I knew the bigger picture… I wanted to create content like this as this is what interested me.
In fact it actually opened so many doors for me whilst in Leeds. I met Dan’s team of music artists, music promoters and other DJ’s who took me under their wing and eventually I became a host for the infamous club night We play Vinyl!
YEAH THAT HAPPENED!
Ok let me explain lol….
I’m not an MC, I’m not a bottle girl walking around pouring shots in peoples mouths… I was on the mic every Friday hyping up the crowd! This was the dawn of Remel London the host!
When I graduated from Uni I knew exactly what I wanted to do… Not be a club host if that’s what you’re thinking… but I got back to London and began putting into practice what I had learnt. I was out giving my best shot at networking, going to different events, posting reviews of shows and music on my blog and began to build my profile and brand as a music and entertainment presenter.
I was definitely a YouTuber way before the term was coined and didn’t even realise it ha! I wish I kept it up but everything happens for a reason and filming, editing and posting content every day really isn’t for me, but I do like to create the occasional travel vlog or behind the scenes footage of what I’m getting up to these days as you know.
When I returned to London I applied for lots of work experience, internships and generally plugged myself as a new presenter.
Now here’s the thing did my degree help me get any jobs? Honestly, I’m not sure. Having a degree in broadcast journalism on paper is a great way to get yourself in the door but that’s it really, it’s just a piece of paper, it doesn’t ever leave your house… or the picture frame! Companies want to know what experience do you have? What equipment do you use to edit? Or are you willing to be a runner?
Being a runner really isn’t the most desirable job either, as it actually doesn’t require any skills because you’re often making tea, running errands or just doing VERY boring office based stuff. I even washed up for a week once SMH!!! But it’s all part of the process of working your way up the ladder.
It’s kind of like retail jobs… uno when you go job hunting and end up walking around your local shopping city or high road handing out your CV full of GCSE or A-Level results hoping to get a job to just get some extra money in… all they want to know is do you have any previous retail experience? The manager at River Island really isn’t bothered about what grade you got for GCSE double science, they just want to know if you can get the job done whether its folding shirts or helping out on the shop floor.
The thing about uni is, it’s not just about getting the degree, it’s what you do with the skills you learned. If all 30, 50 or 100 of you on the course all walked away with the exact same grades the only thing that will set you apart is the experience. So I knew I had to put what I had learnt to practise… even my new found love for hosting!
I decided to create, coordinate and host my own live events and online content.
I created the RateMePlz podcast which developed into the RateMePlz Live showcase and networking event in 2013. I produced and presented the Remel London show from 2012 – 2014 for Link Up TV. I created The Show Room UK which was a live entertainment show filmed in front of a live studio audience. All of these productions allowed me to stand out from the crowd, add new roles to my CV and gain enough experience to create showreels that have allowed me to get new jobs every day!
Without learning how to produce, coordinate, direct, film and edit my own productions at uni I probably wouldn’t be where I am today. Of course I could have picked up these skills along the way without going to uni but personally, for me, this was a worthwhile journey.
Plus I cannot express anymore how much FUN I had at uni. I’ve made life long friends and it improved my confidence and hunger for what I wanted to achieve in life and it was turned up a notch whilst I was there!
If you’re deciding whether or not Uni is for you, I advise you to research your chosen course as much as possible, ask those who may have already taken the course what are the benefits, what did they learn and did they enjoy it. If you are leaving home visit the town or city to see if you think it will be a comfortable place for you to call home for at least 3 years and also find out if you can still keep up with your hobbies, sports, social clubs etc.
Overall uni is only ever going to be as good as you make it, so go with your gut and do what’s right for you and your journey!
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