I was born in Scotland. The East End of Glasgow. Quite a deprived area. I stayed there until I was 19 where I left education and started working in retail. It was my first full time job at Currys PC World. I didn't know what career path to take. I saw an ad for visas for Australia and I decided to go for it. I lived in Sydney for six months. I was self-employed and had a furniture removal company. The strangest item we ever had to remove was a piece of furniture for an adult themed room. The customer was very embarrassed. We also had to remove a coffin – someone used to sleep in it in their spare room.
I also did construction. It wasn't stimulating intellectually but it paid well, and it was nice working in the sunshine.
After Australia I went and lived in New Zealand for a year. No reason to move. I just fancied a change. It is also the classic back packer thing to do. I worked in the fish industry dealing within the domestic food service and my department was responsible for supplying restaurants, hotels, large events and VIP clientele with seafood. We worked closely with the marketing department, and I was interested in the type of work they were doing.
The way fishing works is that you have a quota, and you need to fish ethically to ensure that you're not damaging the marine environment. Their ethics were questionable at best and criminal at worst. It wasn't only dangerous for people's lives but also the environment. I didn't last long. I moved to London with my partner. I still wasn't sure what career I wanted, but I started to see the value in higher education and soon enough started studying strength and conditioning.
After I finished my foundation year I fell out of love with strength and conditioning. When I was visiting my mum, three sisters and brother in Scotland, I went to an exhibition about advertising in the 80s and 90s and I was intrigued. The rationale behind the creation of advertising assets was fascinating. I never realised how much thinking went behind each decision. I searched for advertising degrees, and this is how I ended up at UEL.
My girlfriend had a house in Walthamstow so it made sense. There are a lot of challenges with studying at university. But the passion of academics has been a driving force in me persevering. I have explored my creativity in a lot of different ways, and I want to go into the creative industries after I graduate.
Ryan Murray, BA Advertising