QMUL Annual Fund scholarship recipient
14 October 2016
My name is Oliwia and I’m a third-year International Relations student. I’m really proud to have the chance to speak to you all as you also studied here. You and I probably share similar experiences of student life. I wonder if you remember your time here as I do?
I didn’t originally plan to come to Queen Mary University of London – I knew London would be expensive, so I was looking at studying in Scotland instead. But one of my friends suggested I apply to Queen Mary, and it’s the best decision I ever made. I’m really happy here.
I knew that finances would be tough. The fees are £9,000 a year, and it’s hard to find anywhere to live for less than £130 a week.
My mum is a single parent – my dad passed away when I was 11 – and I have two older brothers. Mum’s wages aren’t enough to support me through university so she decided to basically sacrifice her retirement for me, and sold the flat which she’d inherited from my grandparents. I’m working as a waitress for three days a week too.
When I got the email saying I’d been awarded the scholarship, I felt amazing! Money is always at the back of my head whatever I’m doing, and it was such a relief mentally to know that my next lot of rent would be funded. I can’t explain how much of a burden was lifted from me.
Academic performance depends so much on the time you put in to your studies. I think 10 hours a week can make the difference between an average degree result and a good one. If you’re working all the time to make ends meet, your performance can’t help but go downhill. Because of the scholarship, I can spend more time on my studies and hopefully I’ll get a better final result.
Without such compassion and generosity, I don’t know what I would have done. I’m truly grateful for the kind support that people like you have given. My mum has worked so hard to support me so, although things have been hard I’ve never given up my ambition. Alumni like you have helped me achieve that ambition – that’s such a fantastic thing to do.
It meant so much just to know that someone cared about me and wanted to help. To me, people like you are heroes!
I can assure you that your donation has a huge impact. Hopefully it’s not a great strain on your finances, but it’s been a massive help for mine. And it helps psychologically too – I’ve had the time to get some work experience that could lead to a really exciting career.
This scholarship has shown me about the good will of people who want to help others. It’s great to see how the University community functions, and that you can still play a part after you graduate. I know I’ll definitely be giving back after I finish here!
I hope you enjoyed your time here as much as I do, and I hope you will give back to the university. Your kindness and generosity will widen opportunities for students like me, at a time when education seems to be getting more expensive every day.
Oliwia Wasik, QMUL Annual Fund Scholarship for Outstanding Performance