We Are Essex

Bradley's story

Photo of Bradley Quinlan

"I always describe cheer practise as the happiest place on earth. Everyone is like, let’s do it! Let’s all be friends!"

We had Derby Day recently and being a dance coach at the cheer squad, my team competed and we won, that was a big smile moment, I had the most fun and so did everyone else. It was great.

I danced quite a lot when I was 15-16 years old; I did it during A-levels as well. When I came to Essex I wanted to do gymnastics, but there wasn’t a gymnastics team. So the cheerleaders said I should join them, so I did. I have been Vice-President, and I have been on three separate competitive teams each year within cheer. It is a massive part of my Essex experience. I absolutely love it. I always describe cheer practise as the happiest place on earth. Everyone is like, let’s do it! Let’s all be friends!

Studying psychoanalytic studies has definitely made me reflect more. We have a module next year where we really do that, we have to do a journal and reflect on how our degree has been for us and what we have learnt. In general, the stuff we study are the sorts of things you could find yourself doing, like when you think about the process of denial, when you project your feelings onto others. It gives you the tool to stand back and go, hey, am I angry right now or is the other person actually annoying me? You tend to find out that it is more of a ‘me’ problem than a ‘you’ problem. Obviously I still make mistakes.

My motto is ‘be nice to others’. Always smile even when you are been served at a shop. Be nice because it is such a better way to be. I guess that would include being nice to yourself as well. It is quite easy to be hard on yourself. Sometimes I do try and step back and think, if it was a friend that was here, what would I say to them?

The only person who has ever really moved me is when I read Maya Angelou’s autobiography. She’s always a figure that I am like, “Yass Queen”! I also love RuPaul’s Drag Race and all the queens on there. I guess RuPaul sort of gives me that inspiration to be nice to others and he always tries to be positive. So for sure, I would definitely say the queens of RuPual’s Drag Race are inspirational. I like it so much: the confidence, the humour, and I do love the fact that you can say what you want to say to someone, like “you are not looking too cute”, but you can say it in a friendly way. It has changed me as well because before I was always like, you cannot say that!


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