We caught up with Aishah to discuss her time at Queen Mary studying English. And here’s what she thought…
I will always stay strong even when I am on the verge of giving up. I live by what Shakespeare once said: ‘The worlds mine oyster, which I with sword will open.’.
Tell us about your time at QMUL. What have been your highlights?
QMUL has been one rollercoaster ride.. and I literally mean a ROLLERCOASTER but definitely with more ups than downs! Despite extenuating circumstances, there were so many systems in place at the university which were so supportive and helpful. The English course at QMUL is so versatile. Whenever people ask me what I study and I respond with ‘English’ they all think its books and poetry. But the course at QM has taught me much more than this. I have learnt about Renaissance Literature and therefore the history of Seventeenth and Eighteenth century, I have studied some of the major philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle and Marx and I have even been given the opportunity to write my own short story receiving feedback from a professional author. Thus, the course expands beyond the field of literature into many other disciplines within the humanities and even beyond. The highlights of my degree has definitely got to be the creative projects I have carried out.
From visiting the Globe Theatre in Year one where we were given a tour from some of the greatest actors to organising my own field trip in Year two across London and thereafter producing my own walking journal. I was also given the chance to visit the famous home of Samuel Coleridge where I learnt so much about the challenges professional writers have faced in the past and finally, I was given the opportunity to study entire modules on renowned individuals such as Virginia Woolf and Michel Foucault. I cannot forget to mention, one of the biggest highlights which was conducting and writing my own research project (dissertation) where we had the opportunity to write 10,000 words on something within the field of English which we felt passionate about. There are so many positive memories which I will take away from my time at QM each and every one which would not have been possible without the support of the amazing seminar leaders, lecturers and the staff in the School of English and Drama.
How has your course at Queen Mary helped you to progress into the world outside? What’s next?
Studying BA English at QM has enabled me to develop several skills such as communication skills from participating in discussions and working in group projects, understanding concepts and theories by studying modules such as Reading Theory and Interpretation, Architexts, Critical Aesthetics and Ancient Myth Modern Theory and independent working when writing assignments and producing my final research project. These skills I learnt I have been able to transfer to the outside world such as during my interview at Buckingham Palace and universities such as Kings College London both which I was successful at. I will now hopefully be studying for a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (English) at Kings College London in September 2019. Although, I will truly miss my time at QM I will definitely remain a part of its alumni.
Aside from course content what have been your favourite elements of the experience of studying here as a whole? (societies/friends/community/values)
One of the best things about QM was that students always had the opportunity to have their say and the university was so responsive to these suggestions.
Throughout the three years I have seen so many changes all because the university would always respond to the suggestions students would give. From having a library which extended its hours to 24/7 and offered laptop loans to students to the installation of equipment like microwaves across campus. The university was always willing to listen and implement student feedback actively. I also enjoyed the several organisations that the university opened its doors to throughout the years from having PWC in the Library Square to organisations such as Teach First, we were always given the opportunity to mix with leading employers and organisations.
I still remember when Bill Gates was coming to Campus and the tickets sold out in less than 5 minutes. It was absolutely crazy and the environment at campus was bizarre! Last but not the least, another thing which is so great about QM is that the university is so diverse. I have made such amazing and sincere friends during my time at the university which I will definitely be keeping in touch with. The university also celebrated so many events and even raised money for so many charities and organisations. I have actively been part of the ISOC events which have welcomed so many scholars and held so many events that have given me a break during the assignment deadlines. At QM we commemorated the lives which were lost during the Christchurch Shootings and also raised money for Community Sport by running for fun. QMUL has always been so supportive and open to all faiths and communities.
Tell us about your life outside Queen Mary including any projects, ambitions or jobs you’ve had.
Outside of QM I have been busy trying to set up my own organisation to help those experiencing mental health issues. Again, QM has been helpful in that they have offered grants to help oversee students business proposals and help them set these up. During my spare time I have set up my own poetry collection whilst also setting aside some time to take part in charity projects and volunteering such as for my local community centre.
What could be improved to enhance future students’ experience at Queen Mary?
Wholeheartedly and honestly, I cannot think of any major improvements the university needs to make to enhance students experience. Perhaps more one to one support with personal advisors would be useful to see how students are getting along throughout the year and if further support is needed. Furthermore, one thing I would definitely like to see in the future is the university offering a greater range of postgraduate programmes so that students like myself can return to the university to complete their further studies!