Fatemaa Waariithah Ahsan, Alumna, LLB Hons
I was an international student who originally came to London to study Law at the University of Westminster. On the day of my enrolment at Westminster University, LSBU was holding an open day for spot admission. I was aware that the Law department at LSBU had a good reputation and was keen on attending the open day. I met Mr John Koo, who was the Course Director at the time, and spoke to him about the course and my interests. I was very impressed by the course structure. As soon as I entered LSBU, I instantly connected to the vibe and all that the institution had to offer. I enrolled in a heartbeat.
I enjoyed student life
The staff and the faculty were always very helpful. I cannot express my gratitude enough to Dr Cherry James, who has been a huge support for me throughout the course and even after graduation. I would also like to mention my tutor Kathy Stylianov who was very kind in supporting my term to term difficulties. My journey would be incomplete without mentioning the names of Tracey Aquino (Tort Law Tutor), William Bain (Public Law Tutor), John Koo (Course Director and EU Tutor), Andy Unger (Head of the Law Department) and Chris Shepherd (Contract Law). They have all contributed to my career advancement.
I was seventeen years old when I joined LSBU. I enjoyed student life to the fullest and took part in various clubs and societies that the University had. I was not staying on campus which meant I was only a day student. I was also the student ambassador and an outreach mentor through which I mentored various sixth form students in the borough of Southwark.
In my first year out of LSBU, I pursued the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC), an LLM on International Commercial Law with a specialism in Oil and Gas Law, and a Masters in International Studies & Diplomacy from SOAS. I’ve been busy. One thing I realised early on, is that there is no such thing as a “perfect CV” or a “successful job”. Your perfection and success depend on your priorities. My priorities have always been different. My life at LSBU has given me a boost to face any challenges that life has to offer.
Different from the mainstream
I can’t say I have any regrets in my career to date. I feel everything happens for a reason and that is how it is destined to be. I have always been very proactive regarding every event of my life and I feel somehow the universe helps you reach your best destination. I have never lived a very quintessential lawyer life since I graduated and took interest in things which are slightly different from the mainstream.
Currently, I am an international public speaker, a social advocate, a consulting lawyer, social activist, a visiting professor at Asian University for Women Chattogram and founder of No Passport Voice. I am also the legal consultant of Savvy Females, a company strengthening women empowerment, based in Norway. My multi-faceted career route always gives me plenty of room to learn and grow. I love learning, be it from myself or another. My career’s biggest achievement is being a professor at an international university at the age of 29. My desire to thrive and just not survive keeps me motivated.
For me, the biggest personal satisfaction I can have is going to bed content with a free heart and mind. You should be your own competition and you should be your own satisfaction.
My most influential relationship would be with my father Alhamdulillah. He has been my biggest critic and my biggest supporter. He is my cheerleader. I say this because, he has seen my obstacles and furthered my vision through love, care and above all support.
During my BTC, I was clinically depressed and at the same time was having to do one of the most challenging courses in the world. It gave me the highest highs and lowest lows. Of course, I still struggle within myself and especially when you are doing humanitarian work, you are exposed to a lot of harsh realities which take a toll on your mental health.
I think we all have to give back when we are empowered to do so. I have always stayed in touch with LSBU faculty since my graduation and I intend to contribute in whatever ways I can. I have had the chance to speak at a career event at LSBU in 2018 and have also agreed to mentor students struggling during the Covid-19 pandemic.
LSBU is my alma mater. I have huge regard for LSBU because that is where I have passed my crucial years.
My advice to current students is to be present. You will never know what you are creating as you are living so take one day at a time and stay proactive. Every experience counts. I can say with conviction that every lecture, event, volunteering experience that I have had at LSBU helped me immensely to grow and have my CV stand out. Take care of your mental and physical health. They say “he who has health has hope” and I cannot agree with that statement more.
I believe in legacies; legacy is something that you build as you live and I am living my life by empowering my family’s legacy of dignity, honesty and giving back.
Fatemaa is on Twitter as @fwalive; LinkedIn as Fatemaa Waariithah Ahsan and her website is www.nopassportvoice.org. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.