Sometimes in life we end up not where we originally planned but at a better place and circumstance that brings us joy.
It is this exact notion that sums up my life, where I’ve been and where I’ve ended up. My name is Pippa Karikari and I’m a student at Hope studying Social Policy and Health & Wellbeing as well as being a model, pageant girl and former fashion student.
Coming to Hope was a huge risk for me and a complete change from the life I had grown so comfortable with. I had previously attended a Fashion university down in London, but wasn’t impressed with the course and the way it made me feel. Issues and circumstances at the time and being a young girl led me to feel confused and disappointed that I could not succeed in my chosen degree. However, within my despair I was given the opportunity to model at my first ever fashion show, where I grew in confidence and felt I had a purpose. Through this newly gained confidence I decided it was time for change, thus setting in motion the series of risks I took in order to transform my life.
I used the strengths within my personality rather than the usual skillset and knowledge the education and employment sector tend to prioritise. I knew I was confident in my abilities to understand and care for others, a quality brought on by being partially marginalised in the past. I took a leap of faith along with the encouragement of family to take up a job in the Social Care sector. I was a Deer in the headlights with no prior hands-on experience, however it was a risk which paid off.
After leaving fashion I decided to continue modelling alongside Care and faced many challenges within both. Within modelling in particular it can be tough- as with any type of ‘work’ that involves intensified social situations, passive aggression and futile competition; resilience is considered a must. I will admit to the fact that this was not a trait I had at the start but quickly learnt, the more I persevered and continued to come back day in day out. There were moments where I made several mistakes, but at the end of the day I Iooked back at how far I’d come and how much I’d achieved. At the end of it all, I was awarded Employee of the Month and achieved my Health and Social Care Diploma as well as several hugs and goodbyes from my clients, a month before leaving for Hope University. Within modelling I eventually gained the opportunity to work with large brands such as Asos and Monster Energy drinks and finally compete in the Semi-Finals of Miss Swimsuit UK and be published in the Liverpool Echo.
My tedious yet rewarding journey thus far allowed me to transform as a person, both mentally and physically. It is important for me to emphasise the significance of this journey. At no point in time is any human being a ‘finished product’ and shouldn’t strive to be so, but rather focus on learning, growing and evaluating. If I had not done those 3 key strategies I would not be where I am today. Change is terrifying but also very necessary.
My parting words of wisdom to those of you that feel you’re not in the right place or feel ‘stuck-in-a-rut’ is to seek an outlet of expression you truly enjoy, even if it is not degree or course related. This is where you will find your sense of purpose, confidence and clarity to decide the next steps in life.
Finally, as I touched on briefly in this entry, the issue of being in a negative environment. I know that in relation to Mental Health, quite a lot of emphasis is placed on the individual not being strong enough to deal with their environment. I have always believed this not to be the full picture but rather a reform is needed in society as a whole, to better the outcomes of those susceptible to low mental health. I hope to those of you reading this blog who may be students, academics, professionals and the like, to consider this notion and consider how you would like to influence our society to drive a positive change for the wellbeing of future generations.
Thank you for reading.