Astronaut to Radio Presenter – Why It’s Okay That Physics Just Isn’t My Thing

By  3rd April 2019

Hello everyone,

We all grow up with an idea of what we want to be one day. We idolise people like firemen, nurses and doctors, hoping that one day we’ll be just like them. I, for one, wanted to be the first astronaut with a heart condition but upon realising I most likely wouldn’t pass the stringent medical exams they have to go through before getting anywhere near a rocket – oh, and that I have almost no concept of physics – I moved on from that to wanting to be a doctor.

Then, after having spent quite a lot of time in hospitals over my life, I decided that I didn’t want to spend every waking moment of my future in one. In fact, I would like to do the opposite and do my best to steer completely clear of them.

I’ve been through a number of other career aspirations including working for NASA (if I couldn’t be in a rocket then surely I could control one… but, again with the physics), a singer (hahaha) and a ballerina – well that one went down the drain with my ability to walk in 2010.

I then went through a period of having NO IDEA of what I wanted to do. Classically, this fell around the time I was doing my GCSE’s. However, finally, after many a mind change and eventually considering what I was good at and what I wasn’t good at (PSYCHICS!!) and of course what I enjoy doing, I decided that a career in journalism is one that would really suit me.

As most of you will know, I am now at university doing a physics degree… I’m joking!! I’m studying Journalism at Newcastle and am loving every second (well mostly) of my course – I can safely say I chose to pursue the right career path. My passion for writing and public speaking means that I’m entirely suited to a job in which I can do these things all day and after having had experience of most areas of journalism now, would like to one day work in broadcast. More specifically, radio (my mum says this is perfect for me as I can talk for an hour non-stop with no one able to interrupt!).

As you know, through my journey, I have been fortunate enough to meet many wonderful people and establish some very rewarding connections that have led me to the most brilliant opportunities both within the field of journalism and others. Yesterday was just another example.

Mr Conal Austin first operated on me when I was just 2 years old, carrying out open heart surgery. I’ve stayed in contact with him ever since and when he heard about my studies, he put me in touch with a good friend of his: seasoned broadcaster and Today show host, Justin Webb.

Justin, who is absolutely lovely, invited me into to the London BBC Studios in Oxford Circus to watch the broadcast of the Today show on Radio 4 and I went yesterday morning. I had a fascinating and inspiring morning watching Justin and his co-host Martha Kearney present the current affairs broadcast from the production room just next door to the studio. I watched through the glass as the pair discussed news and events – most notably Brexit as what is anyone else talking about nowadays? – with guests such as David Davis (in the studio) and Sadiq Khan (over the phone), seeing exactly how the popular show is produced and organised. I got what is hopefully a taste of my future.

Me sitting in the BBC Radio studio

Testing out the chair for size…

After the show, Justin greeted me and took me around the studio and then the offices, showing me the ropes and introducing me to some of his colleagues, including Martha, giving me some advice regarding my career over a coffee afterwards. I left feeling excited and motivated to work hard and hone my skills so that one day, I’ll be the one showing a keen student around the studio where I record my radio show. A girl can dream, right?

I had an eye-opening and interesting morning and can’t thank Justin enough for inviting me in. I’ll remember this day for a long time – particularly when recording the debut episode of my BBC radio show some day in the future.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my trip today and remember to DREAM ON!

See you soon,

Cecilia-Joy xx

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