Nobody ever believes me when I tell them that Bear Grylls’s granny likely got me into university. A little odd to drop into casual conversation, but most likely the bloody truth, as I shall now explain. As a youth (awful word…) I never believed I would go to university. Sure, I was maybe even eccentrically passionate about nature, but I didn’t have a great amount of academic confidence (most likely because I was a home educated hippy child – god bless you Mum!) It was 2014, I was 17 and it was my final year of studying at Paignton Zoo for a diploma (don’t judge me, I got to help train a gorilla.. a story for another day…). Our tutor Kathy (absolute babe and all round lovely lady) was giving us a talk on university applications. I had received a full set of distinction stars, yet still didn’t really have the confidence other kids appeared to possess. I wanted to be a veterinary surgeon, and by the time I finished at college, technically I could have been. But something was telling me to stick to my roots, to study wildlife. Marine biology was a subject I had on multiple occasions questioned my poor parents about. Particularly during a family trip to Tobago (on which I nearly got eaten by a python and dragged into the sea by a 9 pound tuna… again… for another day I think..) where I practically grew my own snorkel and spoke to the fish thinking I was one of their kind (home educated!!) So when the time came to write a personal statement for university, I smothered it in the only thing I believed I had going for me. Travel experience. My travelling experiences if you haven’t cottoned on by now have fortunately been packed with many curious events. By the time I was just 14 I had swam with sting rays, seen flying fish, taken a piss on a crocodile, fallen into a hippo swamp, had a baboon steal my toilet roll, vomited on a rare lizard, slept through a 6.7 richter scale earthquake, seen human bodies being burnt at the side of a road, been offered nine camels in exchange for my hand in marriage, summited a hymalyan peak with undiscovered asthma and finally, been left in a car park in Rabat while my father was being taken away by a McDonald’s cleaner who was armed with a mop and bucket and over excited about the fact an English man and his daughter were so hideously lost in the middle of Rabat’s rush hour….on a motorbike. So perhaps not your average childhood. I was so desperate to make my personal statement as brilliant as it could be. So I set myself the task of adding in a quote at the top of my statement. I was thinking of all the people that I truly admire and trying to avoid the people that so many other applicants might be tempted to use. So I settled for old Bear. Me and my mum were going through his book together and picking out lines we liked. Eventually we settled on a quote that Bear Grylls granny had wrote; “In life you can either sit on the sidelines and passively accept what happens, or you can get up and work hard for what you want”. What a lady. I feel sure that if it wasn’t for that quote at the top of my personal statement, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Cheers thanks a lot granny Grylls! Legend.