What are your future aspirations after you finish your postgraduate degree?

I wish to work in the education sector as that is something I love doing – specifically something in Youth Mental Health and Wellbeing. I think I’ve always been low-key obsessed with the idea of “making an impact” and ever since senior school, that’s all I’ve wanted to do, whether it was via volunteering or social work or participating in social action movements etc. I believe that being able to influence young minds and helping them navigate the world is something extremely fascinating and fulfilling. Added bonus: I get to work in a dynamic work situation (since there’s never a dull moment and you get to interact with so many people and form meaningful connections), personal and professional growth, and most importantly, I get to represent and work for all the girls back home who could have only dreamt about being here today – I see it as a win for something bigger than myself, which is mostly what keeps me going.

What do you think makes the University of Birmingham unique?

The approach it has towards education (at least for my course) and the campus, of course. Most of my classes use a flipped-classroom and interdisciplinary approach, which is simply amazing and really helps us critically evaluate the material being studied as well as allows us to get into debates and discussions that discuss Mental Health as a global phenomenon.

Have you joined any student societies or taken part in any events so far during your studies?

I have volunteered with the Tutoring Scheme Society, am a Student Rep and also a postgraduate ambassador for the University and my College, so I guess my extra-curricular activities have been pretty fun and have allowed me to grow by being outside of my comfort zone, which is something I am very thankful for since I never got to do any of it during my undergraduate study, thanks to Covid.

How are you finding living in Birmingham? Do you find the student community supportive?

I simply love it – apart from the weather! The student community is very nice and everyone I have met has been super sweet and helpful.

What has been your experience of campus life? Do you enjoy studying on the Edgbaston campus?

I think my experience has been very good. The campus is beautiful and has a lot of useful resources which is pretty helpful. I also love how there are always so many people around and always something happening.

What have been the highlights of your postgraduate course so far?

I love interacting in my classes and getting to learn from different parts of the world and different walks of life – that’s definitely the most exciting part of being in classes. I also love meeting people and being in social settings, so that’s always fun. Overall, I guess the entire experience of being abroad, studying, working, socialising and managing it all, with the added pressure of managing a house, is something that’s very new to me since I don’t need to only read and go to my classes but rather participate and make the most of it – it’s simply very enriching.

What made you decide to study a postgraduate course at the University of Birmingham rather than in your home country?

I come from Pakistan, and since Mental Health is a huge taboo there, I had very limited options for postgraduate study. The only options I had were mostly clinical psychology, which is something I did not want to limit myself to. Birmingham is also very multi-cultural and the University itself is something that incorporates a sense of co-production of knowledge and giving us the responsibility and feeling that we are the ones that make tomorrow – which I think is something I really appreciate. Moreover, I was fortunate enough to land three scholarships, which was just the icing on the cake!

Can you give a short outline of the postgraduate course that you study? How has it benefited you so far? What have you enjoyed about the course?

I’m doing an MSc in Mental Health. It’s a pretty interdisciplinary course, which is something I thoroughly enjoy. It’s helped me broaden my perspective and learn from my peers as well as professors, who tend to be from very diverse cultures, ages and so on. The course not only allows me to explore a topic I am passionate about but also enables me to apply it to real life as well as develop qualities such as empathy, appreciation and acceptance.