“Our Goldsmiths experience allowed us a world we never deemed possible” – how a dyslexia diagnosis while studying at Goldsmiths changed our lives.
Created by Michelle Adams (BA Education, Culture and Society, 2017), the podcast The Catmaste Chronicles explores well-being, entrepreneur journeys and pets. In Episode 37, Michelle is joined by fellow Goldsmiths alumnus Solomon Smith (BA, Social Science and Youth Community Work, 2013) to discuss their relationship with education.
Michelle writes to Goldsmiths with a summary of the episode.
Community work has been an important part of both of our lives for many years, but it was our experience at Goldsmiths that led us to both set up a business and organisation that would allow us to pursue our dreams of helping others. At the beginning of our time studying at Goldsmiths, this was a journey that neither of us had envisioned. We had both grown up in communities where a university education was unreachable, so the journey began as a very daunting process.
During our podcast interview, we discovered that we shared many similarities, but our experience at Goldsmiths connected us even more. Before Goldsmiths, we both had a very negative relationship with education. Our schools had failed to detect that we both had learning difficulties and therefore we had achieved very little to no grades in our GCSE exams. Whilst this experience was traumatising, we both did not let this stop us from pursuing what we wanted to do in life.
It was not possible to take a conventional route into higher education due to a lack of qualifications and low grades, so we both worked within our communities to build up experience and knowledge within our fields. Solomon worked as a Youth Worker in his community for 12 years and I worked at a primary school as a Teaching Assistant, Literacy Tutor and later ran a performing arts after-school club. But we both discovered that we had a missing element to fully grasp and understand our fields and this was education.
Although Solomon and I studied at Goldsmiths at different periods and had never met up until now, our journeys were very similar. It was at Goldsmiths that we were both helped, and this is all due to the Disability Service and very supportive tutors.
Although we had managed to get by so far with sheer determination, we could both identify an underlying problem. We both took a dyslexia test, which came back to clarify that we had learning difficulties. In Solomon’s case, he has severe dyslexia, which he discusses in-depth during our podcast interview. The diagnosis provided a gateway and access to the support we both needed to complete our degrees.
This experience at Goldsmiths allowed us to access a world that we had never deemed possible. It prepared us for further education and after we graduated from Goldsmiths, I went on to achieve a Master’s degree and Solomon a Master of Science. Shortly after graduating, we also started to pursue our dreams of becoming founders and changemakers.
To listen to the podcast episode in full, you can find all links here.
About the podcasters
Michelle Adams (BA Education, Culture and Society, 2017) is the founder of Chatty Cats Care, a professional pet-sitting company in London. The small company currently has over 100 clients on its books and has supplied many jobs in the local community.
During the lockdown, Michelle created a podcast as a means to keep connected with clients and social media followers, and also to maintain her mental health since her business had come to a standstill.
The podcast has recently featured in Take A Break Pets publication, All Bright Women’s Network and awarded 8th place for a listeners choice award with The Podcasting for Business Awards 2021.
Solomon Smith (BA, Social Science and Youth Community Work, 2013) is the founder of Brixton Soup Kitchen, a community space for the homeless and those in desperate need. They provide food, drinks and companionship in a warm and friendly environment on a weekly basis. Since launching in 2013 they have served over 25,000 meals on-site or during food drop-offs or outreach sessions.
Follow and Support Brixton Soup Kitchen on Instagram and Facebook and donate here.