Alumni profile - Um-E-Aymen Babar
In regards to the fundraising campaign Um-E-Aymen Babar launched to financially support her MPhil at Cambridge: I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who donated and shared the link. Money should never be a barrier to education and this campaign has made me want to help other young people in a similar situation.
Why did you study English at Queen Mary? I chose to study English at Queen Mary because of the variety of different modules. I have always enjoyed critically analysing different texts so it only seemed natural to continue exploring this at a degree level.
What aspects of your degree did you find most enjoyable? What modules did you like learning about and was there anything that surprised you in your studies? Writing and researching my dissertation was the highlight of my degree. I wrote about two of my favourite things: cricket and literature. It allowed me to bring together all the skills and knowledge I had gained in the past few years and write a dissertation that could reflect that. My favourite modules were Post-Colonial Literature, After-Postcolonialism and South African Literature and Culture. I was taught by amazing staff members who made these modules very rewarding.
Why did you choose to study at Queen Mary in particular? I was particularly drawn to the variety of modules I could choose from. My favourite modules were Post-Colonial Literature, After Postcolonialism and South African Literature and Culture. Studying at Queen Mary also gave me the opportunity to make the most of what London had to offer. I was able to explore so many different exhibitions, museums and theatres.
Huge congratulations on securing a place to study your MPhil at Cambridge University in Modern South Asian Studies. How do you feel about this next chapter in your life? How did you feel when you found out that you had got into Cambridge? Thank you! I am excited to see what the future holds for me. I know that my postgraduate studies will be really rewarding. When I found out I had got into Cambridge, it felt surreal. I was initially shocked and scared but now I am really looking forward to the next part of my journey.
Please elaborate on the fundraising campaign that you launched to financially support your MPhil at Cambridge. How does it feel knowing that you have exceeded your £4000 target? I applied for a scholarship but unfortunately was unsuccessful, so I didn’t really know what to do. I had seen a few GoFundMe campaigns on social media, and I thought I would give it a try. I never thought that I would reach my target so to have exceeded it feels amazing! Everyone was incredibly generous and helpful, and I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who donated and shared the link. Money should never be a barrier to education and this campaign has made me want to help other young people in a similar situation.
What are your future career aspirations? After my MPhil I would like to take on a PhD project. I have always been inspired by the staff at university and I hope to see myself teaching in a university one day.
Is there any advice you would give to current students or recent graduates considering their career options? I would advise students not to be too hard on themselves. It can sometimes seem like everyone around you knows exactly where they are going, but I think most people are also scared and nervous. Explore as many options as you can through work experience or interning. Gaining insight into your potential future career can help you decide what route to take and what your next steps should be. I would also advise students to make use of the different career services that Queen Mary has to offer.
What was so special about your time at Queen Mary? One of my most memorable moments at Queen Mary was when me and my friends went on the march for education in response to rising pension costs; pay gaps relating to gender, ethnicity and disability; casualisation and precarity; declining pay; and spiralling workloads. It was an inspiring strike week but there is still a long fight ahead of us.
Do you have a favourite spot on campus? My favourite place on campus is by the canal. It is a really nice place for a walk or just to think. It’s also a nice break from the busy London life.