April 2021

Sadhia sits at a table in a restaurant and smiles for the camera.

Sadhia Islam

BA (Hons) Education and Childhood Studies 2019.

1. Tell us about yourself.
A British Asian from the fine city of Norwich! Growing up in a small city, I was surprised by the diversity I experienced at ARU. It was so great to network with people from various backgrounds but also to meet people who had similar interests to me. I attended ARU between 2016 and 2019 and it has certainly been a memorable experience that has largely influenced my approach to working with younger people and my employment in Education; I am currently doing my Masters in Transforming Practice at the University of Cambridge. My research focus is on how youth intervention can empower educationally vulnerable children.   

During my time at University, I balanced two part-time jobs with volunteering and my studies. I was really determined to gain a variety of experience which interrelated with my undergraduate degree. Although it was challenging at times, I do not regret it as it exposed me to a deepened understanding of practice and knowledge. My most thought-provoking role is working as a youth volunteer for a social integration charity. Such an exposure has amplified my interest in working to build stronger relationships within the community. Through my undergraduate degree, I realised that I wanted to achieve this through education, both formally and informally. However, it was the year of the pandemic (2020) that exposed me to the reality of the barriers that many children face in accessing education. Since then, I've been involved in projects with the aim of reducing this barrier.

2. What is your fondest memory of Anglia Ruskin University?

My fondest memory was definitely graduation day. I was grateful to celebrate it with my family and friends.

3. What has been your favourite job?

My favourite job is certainly my current one. I have a part-time role within a primary school, since this is convenient whilst I study part-time. I was hesitant to return back to school after being unable to complete the final placement of my PGCE, however, it feels incredibly good to be back. I was able to remind myself again why I aspired to work with children in the first place.  

4. In one word, how would you describe ARU?
Diverse.

5. How did your time at ARU help you?
My time at ARU really helped me to build my confidence and encouraged me to socialise beyond my usual circle. My experience at ARU also trained me in balancing the time I committed to the responsibilities I had at the time. Ultimately, ARU made me realise the purpose behind my engagement in the Education field.

I am specifically grateful for the career advisor meeting I had where I was presented with a number of opportunities regarding my undergraduate degree. This consultation had a significant impact on the decisions I made post graduate year. I was given the reassurance to engage in applications largely out of my comfort zone and aim high.  

6. What did you love about your chosen course? 
I really loved the flexibility of the course and the ability to use our initiative and experience to guide our own research. I appreciated my tutors taking my work seriously, as well as investing their expertise and knowledge to push me further.   

7. What advice would you give to current students as they’re preparing to graduate? 
Arrange a career advisor meeting and just go for it. Apply, Apply, Apply especially to opportunities beyond your comfort zone or your current reality.   

8. What do you know now that you wish you had known whilst studying? 
Zotero! It’s a great app to store and revisit references.   

9. Who was the biggest influence on your career? 
It is difficult to define one person alone for the influence on my career. I have been fortunate enough to work with many different people who have offered great mentoring and advice along the way. When I think about it, I would have to say that it is the children I work with who inspire and influence me on a daily basis.  

10. What advice would you give your younger self? 
Learn how to rest and how not to quit. Although it is great to be career/academically focused, it is equally as important to take advantage of all the other opportunities that University has to offer to build on other skills and support the enjoyment of the whole academic experience.   

11. Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know. 
I am a hobby baker!   

12. What’s next? 
I hope to continue working with younger people whether that is in the social or educational field. My drive will always be to have a positive contribution and inspire younger people through the projects I get involved in, particularly younger girls.