Where Are They Now – Danielle Desouza

What did you study and when did you graduate?

I studied History and I graduated in July 2019.

What did you do as a CEN8 volunteer?

I started off as a helper at the music workshops on Saturday mornings, during my first year at university (2016). Then, I switched to writing a column for the CEN8 newsletter at the end of 2016. My first column was a blog called Dani’s Dilemmas, where I wrote about issues that plagued me in order to purge away any negativity. My second column began in January 2018: Let’s Talk About which served as an advice column on topics ranging from New Year’s resolutions to self-love.

What was the most useful thing you learned by being a volunteer?

Through my writing, I noticed how I went from being a pessimist to an optimist and the power that doing something you love can have on your mood.

I also realised that if you want to achieve something, you need to continually strive towards that goal and create opportunities. I wanted to be a journalist, so I decided to create my own column as I was not having much luck getting my foot in the door of news publications. I did not want that to deter me from persisting and so made my own media opportunities.

What was the best thing about volunteering?

Hearing positive comments from people who read my articles and could resonate with topics I spoke about. I would have carried on writing even if no one read my articles as it brought me sheer joy, but if you can brighten up someone’s day with your words, it makes the experience much sweeter.

What have you been up to since leaving Goldsmiths?

If anyone read my articles, they will know that in my “Are Dreams Ever Only Meant to be Dreams” article from the Dani’s Dilemmas series that I ended up at Goldsmiths via clearing. It crushed me as my firm choice, LSE, was the university I dreamed of going to since I was very young. I vowed I would apply for a Masters at LSE. I am happy to announce that I am currently studying a Masters at LSE in Politics and Communication. My course is a mix of Politics and media and communications. Some of my modules include: theories in media and communication, political campaigning and critical studies in media and journalism. I am so grateful to LSE for giving me a second chance, but even more so to Goldsmiths. They nurtured me into the person that was capable of achieving this milestone in my life.

Alongside my studies, I volunteer with the charity, GGM UK, which aims to provide media skills to BAME girls between 14 and 22. I am involved in two projects. First, I am the presenter of the new podcast series we are creating in conjunction with Wizard Radio, an online teen radio station. We will be speaking about race in the era of Brexit, plastic surgery and mental health alongside invited guests. I am also in charge of communicating with and organising guests for the show, creating the jingle and scripting. Second, I have just been appointed a blog editor. I am in charge of delegating roles and article ideas to volunteer writers and attending events on behalf of the organisation. I recently attended a screening of the Cave, a documentary on the underground hospital run by Dr. Amani and her team in the midst of the Syrian War. Next up, I will be reporting on the BFI festival.

Has volunteering for CEN8 impacted on you since you left?

Massively. Prior to writing for CEN8, I was very lost career-wise. I was on track to go into the world of finance and it is not a world that matches my skill set. I am not savvy with a calculator and I was apathetic every time I heard the word “finance”

Writing for CEN8 was therapeutic, but also made me think — this is something I would love to do full time. Since then, I have grasped as many opportunities as I can linked to journalism.

What career advice would you give students currently at university?

I would say start by doing something that you enjoy and see where that leads you. Also, do not be worried if you have no clue about what you want to do post-university. Sometimes we go down one path and realise that it is not for us. That is fine. The odds are we will all work in several fields in our lifetime.

Focus on your degree and enjoying university as the years go by so fast. Try out new things and do not be afraid to make mistakes. Goldsmiths is filled with so many genuine people, an abundance of societies and a fun and family-like atmosphere unlike any other. Although I never planned on going to Goldsmiths as an eighteen-year-old, it has truly won my heart. I absolutely loved my time there and I hope you all do too!

On a less theoretical note, the Gold Award prompts participants to think about post-university life, so is the perfect place to start. Additionally, the careers service is a great go-to place. They have expertise in CV’s and applications and approachable and knowledgeable staff, so it is a must.

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