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Remember to DREAM

Abbie McGregor: Remember to DREAMAbbie McGregor is an inspiration for students at Exeter College. In 2016 she won the Exeter College TEDxExeter competition to give a talk at TEDxExeter 2016. In her talk ‘Remember to DREAM’, Abbie spoke passionately about inspiring hope and vision in young people, and doing away with dispassionate and limited SMART targets!

Now she has written a guest blog post about how her experience has given her HOPE.

 

Once upon a time, a little girl was shown a TED talk. It set her on a path not known to many. It sounds like a fairy tale because cheesily enough, my experience of TEDxExeter really was, magical.

When I was about 12, and just starting secondary school, I had an inspiring teacher whose favourite thing was a TED talk. As a class, we would watch them for everything we studied. The TED speakers taught us to be motivated, confident and to care about everything. So, when the opportunity came along for someone from Exeter college to give one, I knew there was only one way I could do that teacher justice.

It’s something that everyone wants to talk about. I meet people at college and they know that I’m the girl who gave a TEDx talk. I receive a barrage of questions about how it went, what I said, what happened after. And those are the three things I want to speak to you about today.

As to how it went, I’m standing here now because I won that internal competition to give a TEDx talk and now, a year on I’m starting to give advice to many others having that same shot, and nothing is more inspiring than hearing the buzz about the opportunity to really be taken seriously.

The recognition of a 17-year old’s voice is something many people my age feel they do not and cannot have, and therefore this opportunity is astounding. So I couldn’t be more thankful to Martin and Exeter College for it.

Following this, I was given so much help by Claire and Cathy. My speech went from strength to strength which I simply couldn’t have done without them. Their experience is evident the first time you speak to them, but even more so in the outcome of each of the speeches and the quality of TEDxExeter talks.

And then I stood up on that stage, and spoke for five whole minutes and I said it all. I repeated the messages that my teacher had taught me of how to make a better future. A future of children who are full of dreams, hope, passion, motivation, ambition, dedication, energy and a want to make something happen – much like I really wanted to take away SMART targets from the system.  

For many people that’s where they think the journey ends. It gets uploaded a few months later and people watch it online, 1,700 have watched mine to be exact. But that really isn’t it. This is what happened after.

A week later, I had an email from a primary school, another from my own college and another from the city council, all asking for me to come and give my talk again in another context. And so I did. I gave my speech at the city council applying it to their devolution programme and how Exeter really is becoming a city of the future.

And then, I took the talk down to primary level and spoke to children about how they really are the future. Finally, the talk I gave that impacted me most was at my own college. In September, I gave my talk to the entire A-level cohort, alongside two other distinguished speakers. At the end I was stormed by students. They told me how good it was to hear ‘one of own’ telling them to go out and make things happen. In another girl’s words, ‘I was my own example of taking an opportunity’.

We are often called the troublesome teens, slightly rowdy, lazy, always tired, often late, but all my peers wanted was something to believe in, a dream or in the words of this launch –  they just needed a bit of hope.

Abbie McGregor, 19th January 2017

News about Abbie McGregor

Exeter college student wins opportunity to do a TEDxExeter talk

Press release

A long-term fan of TED Talks has won a place on the Northcott stage at next month’s TEDxExeter Conference. In the face of tough competition from fellow members of the College debating society, Abbie McGregor (16) who is in her first year at Exeter College wowed the judges from TEDxExeter with her talk Remember to DREAM.

Abbie was introduced to TED Talks by an inspiring teacher at primary school when she was 10 or 11. “I really liked the idea that people stood there telling us what they thought,” she says. “I watched as many as I could. Through TED Talks I learned about the inequalities in the world. I love the ones about justice. They  made me want to be a lawyer, to stand up for justice, to stand up for people who are misrepresented.”

She lives in Torquay and attended Torquay Girls Grammar before moving to Exeter College for A levels. A keen singer, dancer and actor, Abbie is now also an active member of the Exeter College debating society.

“The idea of joining it came out of critical thinking classes. It’s like drama, but more meaningful as it’s changing something. It’s so entertaining to watch and to be part of it. Exeter College puts a lot of effort into it, and we enter into lots of competitions.

“I’ve always loved English: interested in books, poetry and drama – just saying what you think. Now I’m studying English literature and language. I can’t get enough of it.” She hopes to study law at university.  

Abbie follows Beth Barnes onto the TEDxExeter stage. Beth won the Exeter College competition last year. Her talk on Effective altruism has been watched by nearly 11,000 people.

“We are tremendously proud as a college to have one of our exceptional young people speaking at TEDxExeter 2016,” says Exeter College assistant principal Emma Fielding. “I have no doubt that Abbie’s thought provoking and insightful reflections will challenge those listening to reflect on  how we can best support future generations to turn their dreams into realities.”

TEDxExeter is keen to reach as wide an audience as possible, and that includes young people. This year, as well as filling the Exeter Northcott Theatre (tickets sold out in just 22 minutes), it is livestreaming to Exeter University’s Alumni Auditorium where groups from local schools and colleges will be in the audience. Tickets are now available for livestreams at Exeter Central Library and the Pavillions, Teignmouth. Seats at RAMM are available on a first come basis.

Notes to editors

TEDxExeter is organised by a team of local volunteers. It is made possible by the generosity of the following local companies who support the event.

University of Exeter
Stephens Scown
Egremont Group
SunGift Energy
Wilkinson Grant
Antech
LHC
Websites Ahoy
Dacors Design
Stormpress
Chromatrope
First Sight Media
Luscombe Drinks
Saks
Exeter College
MailChimp
Exeter Northcott Theatre
Exeter City Council
Matt Round Photography

All TEDxExeter talks are filmed and made freely available on the internet. The TED translation project means ideas from Exeter reach a truly global audience. So far TEDxExeter speakers’ talks have been viewed more than 5.25 million times. Four of them have been featured on TED.com: Karima Bennoune sharing stories of real people fighting against fundamentalism in their own communities; Scilla Elworthy speaking on non violence; Bandi Mbubi calling for fair trade phones; and slam poet Harry Baker‘s love poem for lonely prime numbers… Michelle Ryan’s talk on work-life balance tops a TEDx YouTube list on the way we work.

About TEDx x = independently organized event

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)

Follow TEDxExeter on Twitter at twitter.com/TEDxExeter. For more information and to watch our talks visit our website: www.tedxexeter.com where you can also sign up to receive our newsletter.

About TED

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or fewer) delivered by today’s leading thinkers and doers. Many of these talks are given at TED’s annual conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, and made available, free, on TED.com. TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Sal Khan and Daniel Kahneman.

TED’s open and free initiatives for spreading ideas include TED.com, where new TED Talk videos are posted daily; the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as translations from thousands of volunteers worldwide; the educational initiative TED-Ed; the annual million-dollar TED Prize, which funds exceptional individuals with a “wish,” or idea, to create change in the world; TEDx, which provides licenses to thousands of individuals and groups who host local, self-organized TED-style events around the world; and the TED Fellows program, which selects innovators from around the globe to amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.

Follow TED on Twitter at http://twitter.com/TEDTalks, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TED or Instagram at https://instagram.com/ted.