How F1 changed my life

One of our sub-editors tells us how her life changed after she fell in love with Formula 1

Castor Chan
13th June 2022
Porsche's Formula E car (Image credit: @PorscheFormulaE)
As of writing, I’m finishing up my second year in Newcastle studying media and classics - an unconventional combination, I’m aware. But two years ago I had no idea where my education and career path were going at all. Formula 1 showed me what I wanted to do.

In high school, my peers around me seemed so sure of themselves, trying to be doctors, politicians, or academics, and they knew where they wanted to be. I never excelled at one particular subject, perhaps except geography. (I did quite enjoy the volcano units) Although I did consider continuing it or going onto something like urban planning in university, it wasn’t a sharp desire and more along the lines of ‘I’d be decent at this’. 

Then when it came time to actually apply to universities, I moved on to entertaining the idea of a classics degree. For my UCAS choices, I chose a full classics degree for all five of my uni slots. Fun fact, none of the five were Newcastle either. I also decided to apply to universities in the United States, where I would do a four-year, undecided degree where my major was to be selected towards the end of second year.

Despite the chaotic year that all of my fellow 2020 graduates will understand, my grades came back good enough to get me into all bar one of my choices. But by then, I had fallen out of love with the idea of intensively studying something I simply loved to read. To keep it short, my mother and I ended up having a month-long debate over whether I was to go to St Andrews, my firm choice, or Ithaca College all the way in upstate New York. I was adamant about keeping my degree choices open, my parents recognised the value in the name of a good university. (which in hindsight, absolutely reasonable) It was a stalemate that my stubborn self wouldn’t let me lose.

It was a stalemate that my stubborn self wouldn’t let me lose.

A little before that, I’d started watching the F1 during lockdown - yes, I was one of the DTS people. I loved it so much, I started running my own blog online. I’ve always liked sports, having both played and watched from a young age. Ice hockey was another sport that I was interested in at the time, but it was the fast cars going round in circles that fascinated me and impassioned me enough to start writing.

Soon after, I realised that media could be a genuine opportunity for me, and that was my reason to push for the States. Eventually, we came to a compromise: I would revoke my offers to go into Clearing, and I would look for a university that offered me media or a combination of media and classics. That is when I found Newcastle’s Combined Honours programme, one that I’ve massively enjoyed the benefits of. I also got to try out student media, something that I didn’t dabble in during high school. 

Here in Newcastle, I fell in love with the city, my extracurriculars, and the people here and it is astounding to think that I would have none of this if I hadn’t started following F1. I owe my time here to my parents who supported me through what was probably a horrifically stressful period of their daughter being indecisive, my friends who shared my love for speedy cars and those who welcomed me to a brand new country, but also perhaps a little bit of me for finally finding my future.

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