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Sarah Mahmood, alumna, BA (Hons) English with Creative Writing

Since graduating from her undergraduate degree, Sarah is continuing her education with a Masters degree and hopes to continue to PhD level in the future

From an early age, Sarah Mahmood was passionate about literature in general. “Initially, I wanted to study German literature,” she says, “but when I moved to London with my family I encountered Shakespeare’s sonnets, and fell in love with English literature. The power of words fascinates me and I believe they can lift us into a world which we only dare to dream about.”

Overwhelming support

After her A-levels, Sarah enrolled to study BA (Hons) English with Creative Writing at LSBU, which wasn’t on her original list of intended destinations – but she is now delighted to have studied with us. “Although I didn’t initially apply to LSBU, if I had a time machine now and could go anywhere in the world – I’d go back to experience my time at LSBU again,” she says. “If anything, I’d appreciate it even more. I fell in love with everything at LSBU. The support I received during my studies was overwhelming, and I could never have come this far without it.”

Commitment and passion

In particular, Sarah was impressed by the commitment, passion and enthusiasm of the LSBU staff she encountered whilst studying with us. “They were the best thing about studying at LSBU,” she recalls. “They will never give up on a student, and they always go the extra mile to help. They’re available if you need a tutorial to discuss anything – and that’s not something to take for granted. I had friends at other universities who did not receive the same sort of help and attention from their lecturers.”

Strong relationships

It was support that Sarah appreciated, and she made the most of the opportunity to shine on her course, winning the Course Director’s Prize at the end of her degree. “I couldn’t believe it when I found out I had won,” she says. “I think of it as a thank you to LSBU for being so supportive and polishing me not only in terms of knowledge and skills, but also as a human being. The ceremony was lovely, and made me feel really special. Coming back to receive the award reminded me of how much I miss LSBU and my lecturers, who I am still in touch with and have built strong relationships with.”

Building confidence

Looking back at her degree, Sarah feels that it has played a big part in helping her become the person she is today. “It helped me to build my confidence and become a stronger person – not just because of my studies, but the way I was constantly encouraged to push myself and to never give up.”

Scholarship success

Having graduated from her undergraduate degree, Sarah is continuing her education with a Masters degree, and ultimately hopes to continue to PhD level. “I actually secured a full scholarship to fund my Masters degree, which was something I never dreamed possible,” she says. “I thought I would have to work hard for at least a year to save up enough for my MA, but securing a scholarship meant I could carry straight on. I trace it all back to my time at LSBU – everything I learned there is helping me to succeed now.”

No dream is too big

With such a strong relationship with LSBU, Sarah’s ultimate career ambition should not come as a surprise. “After a PhD in English Literature, I would love to go on and become a lecturer at LSBU,” she says.