Queen Mary Alumni

Student story: Papia Kabir

Papia Kabir is a History and Politics student. She is originally from the East End and attended Central Foundation Girls School in Bow. She studied History, Geography, Sociology and Psychology for A-levels and achieved 3 As and a B.

Papia Kabir, History Scholarship recipient 2016-2019

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"I’ve always wanted to work in the field of law but wanted to pursue my interest in history, in an academic setting, at the same time. In the end I enrolled on the BA History and Politics course at Queen Mary University of London.

"I’ve had such a great time here. At the moment I’m studying the history of Britain and the East End of London and hope to broaden my learning over the next two years while gaining work experience in a range of disciplines to further my opportunities after graduation.

"A few months ago I received an email from the Bursaries Office telling me I’d been awarded a scholarship – I was genuinely thrilled! For me this scholarship meant lots of different things. For starters, I would be able to start saving for a Graduate Diploma in Law; this is a conversion degree taken after you complete your undergraduate degree – so I still get the best of both history and law. Secondly, it would mean I would no longer need to take out a maintenance loan in my second and third year to help fund my travel costs to and from university. Lastly, being a scholarship recipient makes me stand out on my CV because I was awarded this not only for financial aid, but because of my high attainment academically. I feel like this scholarship has given me substance and it is a good talking point in future interviews as it shows I am hardworking and always strive to reach my potential.

"I think finances are an awkward topic for students but we have to accept that it’s there and will be for a very long time – especially with all the mounting debt we’re in before we’ve even got jobs! I live with my parents but that doesn’t mean higher education is cheap; I have weekly travel costs to think about and resources for my course and what I want to do right after graduation. A GDL is costly which is why I’m so grateful for the scholarship; it’s given me a start in my preparations for after university and also because, not only has it boosted my confidence, it’s given me a renewed sense of motivation to try and achieve a first-class degree – thank you!

"I also work part-time as a library assistant on the Mile End campus and work with the Widening Participation team as a Widening Participation Ambassador and Coach. This role involves visiting secondary schools in the local area and encouraging students to think about going to university – this is one way of giving back to the community and University that has given me so much in such a short space of time.

"To the alumni who support students through bursaries and scholarships, thank you! Scholarships are not just about the financial help but the positive labels that come with being recognised for merit also; it’s a stepping stone early on in our academic careers and gives us the helping hand we wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. Thank you for making this big difference to my life!"