Student of the month: Aishah Ahmed Nekiwala – BA (Hons) English

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!

Student of the month: Şenay Camgöz – MA Live Art

Şenay Camgöz (MA Live Art) tells us about her work and highlights at QMUL…

www.senaycamgoz.co.uk

I am an artist and filmmaker developing my creative practice.

Tell us about your time at QMUL. What have been your highlights?

The highlight was a screening of my short film, ‘Introducing HALA’ at the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Friday Late event in April 2019.

How has your course at Queen Mary helped you to progress into the world outside? What’s next?

I am half way through my MA in Live Art and have already had the chance to share my work with a wider public. The practical support I have received at Queen Mary University has helped me to promote my work on social media networks. Through QMUL I had the chance to screen my work at a major national museum which has given me the confidence to seek opportunities to share my work more widely.

Aside from course content what have been your favourite elements of the experience of studying here as a whole? (societies/friends/community/values)

Practical workshops have been very useful, in particular, the DIY Life Skills workshop on using Photoshop.

Tell us about your life outside Queen Mary including any projects, ambitions or jobs you’ve had.

The essay writing I have been doing as part of my MA has inspired me to write more and I am currently taking part in a collaborative writing project with other arts and humanities students.

What could be improved to enhance future students’ experience at Queen Mary?

More practical workshops on how to approach institutions with a view to sharing work and advice on writing applications for residencies.

Student of the month: Hannah Mohamed – BA (Hons) English

That person who wears obnoxiously bright coloured clothing in the winter time

Tell us about your time at QMUL. What have been your highlights?

The biggest highlight of my time at QMUL (so far) is between meeting two of my closest friends randomly in the library one day in first year and bonding over Disney music or the time after the Black Girl Book Club anthology launch where my friends and I stayed behind after everyone had left just belting Beyonce songs.

How has your course at Queen Mary helped you to progress into the world outside? What’s next?

One thing about my course which has helped me progress into the outside world is how proactive the staff are in helping you find experience and opportunities to take part in during our free time and breaks from uni.

Aside from course content what have been your favourite elements of the experience of studying here as a whole?

Easily friends.

Tell us about your life outside Queen Mary including any projects, ambitions or jobs you’ve had.

Outside Queen Mary, I am an archery instructor at children’s summer camps and spend a lot of time teaching myself how to code.

What could be improved to enhance future students’ experience at Queen Mary?

Solely course related but exploring literature through other media e.g. film, theatre, audio etc

Student of the month: Rai Kamana – BA (Hons) English with Creative Writing

BA English with Creative Writing student Rai Kamana describes herself as…

‘a ray of sunshine

Tell us about your time at QMUL. What have been your highlights?

There has been so many highlights since I joined QMUL. Its been engaging socially with meeting new people from different backgrounds to me – learning about all the array of cultures has really opened my mind up. Joining the Women’s Wellbeing society was fun. I met some lovely girls and we were able to openly have conversations about issues women deal with universally. I really enjoyed the calligraphy session held during World Mental Health week – I learnt something new and it was very therapeutic and much needed. Academically, I especially enjoyed writing my own poetry in my creative writing course.

How has your course at Queen Mary helped you to progress into the world outside? What’s next?

My creative writing course has been so helpful for me in terms of writing advice given by my seminar leader, such as how to pursue a career in this field and developing a writing portfolio. I feel with the numerous personal works we have handed in and the advice from my peers, I am ready to start publishing my work, whether that is a article for a platform like Buzzfeed or poetry for the QMUL newsletter.

Aside from course content what have been your favourite elements of the experience of studying here as a whole? (societies/friends/community/values)

Meeting so many unique, diverse individuals from all over the world. Making life-long memories with new friends in the heart of London. Meeting those certain people who I know I will be life-long friends with. The importance of friendship, respect and community engrained as the core values of QMUL is inspiring and encouraging for all students’ growth.

Tell us about your life outside Queen Mary including any projects, ambitions or jobs you’ve had.

My main ambition is to publish a poetry book in the near future. I have a lifestyle blog that encourages people to be mindful through holistic self-care advice. I want to continue developing my blog and share my personal work and thoughts of things I am a passionate advocate of and I feel the world needs to hear of like veganism and spirituality.

What could be improved to enhance future students’ experience at Queen Mary?

I believe eco-friendly initiatives such as growing more plants/trees around the campus will benefit the QMUL students as it cleans the air, lowers pollutant levels and provides a pleasant aesthetic. A student-led interactive QMUL garden growing organic fresh produce like herbs cultivates the health benefits of organic farming for QMUL students.

Student of the month: Louise Fligman – BA (Hons) English

This month we meet English student Louise Fligman. Here’s her story…

I’m a total bookworm who’s friendly, organised, and loves compelling TV shows

Tell us about your time at QMUL. What have been your highlights?

The variety of modules on offer on my course is fantastic. If Shakespeare is your passion, you can study it. If you love medieval texts (like I do), you can study them. Or, if you prefer more contemporary novels, you can study them. There is something at Queen Mary for everyone. I have loved being able to get involved in the student media outlets, CUB Magazine and The Print. Not only have these allowed me to develop transferable skills for my time after uni, but they have put me in touch with some wonderful people. There is such a friendly and communal feel amongst the team members of both publications, and I will really miss being a part of these teams. Another highlight at QM for me was the social badminton sessions I attended in my second and third years. They were brilliant because I was able to pursue a sport I loved, have some great matches, and meet some lovely people who I hope to stay in contact with beyond my time at QM.

How has your course at Queen Mary helped you to progress into the world outside? What’s next?

I have studied a variety of literature, which has broadened my reading tastes and that leaves the field very open in terms of publishing jobs that I can (and would like to) apply for. Some publishing jobs are for specific genres of novels, and I feel that I am in a good position to apply for them because of my course. My course has improved my confidence in suggesting ideas in seminars, which were “safe spaces” in which no idea or perspective was wrong, and no question was irrelevant or deemed stupid. In addition, my course has enhanced my public speaking skills as I had to articulate my thoughts in a clear manner, and some assignments were presentations or leading seminars.

Aside from course content what have been your favourite elements of the experience of studying here as a whole?

Getting involved with the student media outlets CUB Magazine and The Print have been thoroughly enjoyable. They were run by some fantastic editors who were very friendly, and were always open to suggestions and new ideas for articles. There was a lovely communal feel amongst the team members of these publications, and I really felt like I was part of a little family. The social sessions of badminton were such fun! I had some really competitive matches with some great people who I hope to stay in contact with beyond my time at QM.

Tell us about your life outside Queen Mary including any projects you work on, ambitions you have or jobs.

In the summer between my second and third years, I obtained a publishing internship, which has equipped me with invaluable experience with which to apply for publishing jobs. I was given good grounding in the end-to-end publishing process and some office admin experience, which is always useful to put on your CV.

What could be improved to enhance future students’ experience at Queen Mary?

Changing the timetable in such a way that would make 1 day per week available for people to pursue other interests, such as sports and society activities. Some of these events took place when students had classes, meaning they could not take part in a sports club or society activity.

Student of the month: Ndumiso Peter Ndlovu – BA (Hons) Drama

Next in our series of meeting our students we meet Ndumiso Peter known as Dee who sums up themselves with this:

Sometimes I write, other times I direct, and most times I am thinking about “who the hell are we?”.

Tell us about your time at QMUL. What have been your highlights?

I have enjoyed my time at QMUL. A few highlights have been learning about the things that would never cross your mind like the poetics of archives, and also, spaces within spaces within gallery spaces.

How has your course at Queen Mary helped you to progress into the world outside? What’s next?

The BA Drama course has equipped me with a great research foundation, and what’s next is an MA in Theatre and Performance because somebody has to think about ‘scratch’.

Aside from course content what have been your favourite elements of the experience of studying here as a whole?

QMTC. Though I never joined, I have enjoyed watching shows come together in incredibly tight circumstances.

Tell us about your life outside Queen Mary including any projects, ambitions or jobs you’ve had.

Outside of QM I have written three plays (SALT, 42 Hollow Knocks, and Communion). I have started a creative writing circle called ‘The Moon and Her Daughters. What else have I done? Oh, I have worked at a cafe the entirety of my degree. How fun! Currently working on staging one of my players at one of London’s many stages.

What could be improved to enhance future students’ experience at Queen Mary?

A de-colonialised curriculum.

Find out more about our Drama course here.

Student of the month: Gem Stokes – BA (Hons) English

This is the first in the series where you can meet our students. First up is Gemma who describes herself as…

A 6 foot queer infatuated with gigs, films and literature.

Tell us about your time at QMUL. What have been your highlights?

My first year at Queen Mary has been a whirlwind. I wish my highlights were something cool like a crazy night out or a hilarious experience, but my fondest memories I’ve made are the times spent drinking tea, deep chats in the middle of the night or nerdy conversations about literature with the friends I’ve made here.

How has your course at Queen Mary helped you to progress into the world outside? What’s next?

Focusing on the study of English has made me fall back in love with literature and I’ve felt myself progress more into the literary sphere. In the last year I’ve invested more time in my journalism, writing articles (and finally being brave enough to actually share them). This will likely aid me in developing my future, as I aim to become a foreign news correspondent or music journalist.

Aside from course content what have been your favourite elements of the experience of studying here as a whole?

Coming from a small town to a big city, I’m enjoying the huge LGBTQ+ community here and the inclusive environment that Queen Mary provides.

Tell us about your life outside Queen Mary including any projects, ambitions or jobs you’ve had.

In London, I work as a nanny and back in Kent, as a customer adviser in the food service industry. Although I do not aspire to continue these positions forever, I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had. I’ve possessed an interest in journalism for as long as I remember, and currently write monthly articles for a local newsletter, but aspire to progress further in this field and search for new opportunities in this field.

What could be improved to enhance future students’ experience at Queen Mary?

I feel Queen Mary as a university is very active in aiding students’ issues, but I’ve been wanting to campaign about trigger warnings for a while: lectures often bring up triggering/upsetting subject material which I myself am often unprepared for. I wondered if it would be beneficial to other students, as well as myself, to release a general list of common triggers mentioned in each specific lecture to allow students to prepare more adequately whilst dealing with trauma.