Student Journeys

The significant impact of a book

Before joining the University, I went to Beal high school, located in Redbridge, Greater London, a second-largest secondary school in England. The thought of starting University made me very anxious and nervous, mainly because none of my friends from secondary school was coming to the same University. I felt that I would be all alone after being in the same environment for seven years, in which I grew comfortable.

However, once I started, I realised this was not the case; everyone was just as nervous as me and felt the same way. Since starting, I have met many friendly people from all diverse backgrounds and made some lovely friends, as well as most of the lecturers and tutors, who are very welcoming and friendly.

I chose this University as an option because it stood out to me the most compared to all London universities. In addition, I liked the location of the University, which is in the centre of London and have a diverse community; However, this was not my first-choice University; I am glad I ended up here in such a multicultural environment.

My decision to study international relations was based on the book Khaled Hosseini’s ‘Kite Runner,’ where I was introduced to the political context of the late-twentieth and early twenty-first century Afghanistan and the Western world. What intrigued me the most was that his story served as an example of how domestic and international politics affect the lives of ordinary people. This is so important today due to the ongoing conflicts in the Middles East. The book encouraged me to learn more about the war between those with power and those without power.

In school, we were told that starting University was a massive jump from secondary school, where we were ‘spoon fed’ and told what to do and when to do it, while in University, you need to find out things for yourself as no one will remind you. Although this is true, you must learn to be independent; my seminar tutors are encouraging and helpful. During the next three months of University, I plan to excel in furthering my knowledge around my modules and gain attributes such as communication skills, time management and teamwork. So far, my first year of University has been tremendous, and I am enjoying the subject. Although this is not my comfort zone yet, as I am a bit anxious, I will become more confident and less shy with time.

  Jumanah Ahmed, Year 1, BA (Hons) International Relations

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