Communications Assistant Fatha Hassan graduated from London Met in 2017 with a Creative Writing and English Literature BA. Winning a writing award has spurred her on to keep writing – this time, by taking London Met’s Creative, Digital and Professional Writing MA.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I always knew that I wanted to go to university, but I never really knew which subject I should take. I was doing English for my A-levels and my teacher was implying I should drop it since I wasn’t able to get the level I wanted. I’ve always enjoyed English, so I continued with it – I was determined to pass. I did, luckily, and continued the path of English through my bachelor’s degree and now my MA.
What made you choose London Met?
I had a family member studying at London Met at the time and she was telling me how it was a great university to study at and the fact that it was highly rated in English had me seriously interested.
What was it like at university?
When I came to university, I felt like I had just left the kiddy pool and entered the adult pool – it was a big jump up. I was in my creative writing class and one of my lecturers told me “you need to speak out and speak up in this lesson – you have the power to use your voice.” While I was in my second year, I entered a writing competition and I won first prize – and the grand prize – and I thought, I can actually change my narrative and my path – and I realised I wanted to be an author.
Did anything surprise you about London Met?
I thought due to my background I wouldn’t be able to fit in or people would perceive me as something I’m not. However, I met people who have really shifted my world views. I have had interesting conversations and I know I was able to change other people’s views on how they saw me.
What were your lecturers like?
I found the lecturers to be refreshing and insightful. I enjoyed learning more and having my own thoughts being challenged. I grew up feeling as though people who are in a slightly higher position than me were intimidating, but listening to lecturers and having them encourage me to speak up about my own life made me come out of my shell and now I probably have the biggest voice in the room.
How did you find the facilities at London Met?
There were a wide range of activities at London Met so you could never be bored. The fact that they were able to help with employment is also something I found really useful. I was stuck when it came to employment – I didn’t know what I wanted and where to start. I emailed a career counsellor and it was super easy – and helping me edit my CV made me see that I do have experiences and skills that are needed.
What do you do outside lectures?
I was introduced to the Student Art Pass and enjoy visiting museums and sights that are available to me. I also enjoy a bit of shopping on Oxford Street!
Did you have any work or industry experience as part of your degree?
I had some difficulties trying to get into publishing which was my main focus initially – however, I was able to use a different approach and was working as a special needs teaching assistant, which has been rewarding and fun.
What are your career plans?
I’m planning to be an author, however, while I’m writing I’d also love to work abroad as an English teacher in countries in South East Asia.
Can you tell us what you've been up to since graduating from your BA?
I have been currently planning a small list of things that I want to achieve. I’ve come back to university as a master's student which has been very fulfilling and challenging at the same time. I’m still working as a teaching assistant as well.
How do you think London Met prepared you for this?
I think with London Met I learnt that everyone comes from different walks of life, but that doesn’t mean a door is closed for you because of your background or status. I’ve learnt that to get what I need is to be able to make friends with different people and learn from them.
What's the most satisfying thing about what you do now?
I really love the fact that I am learning new skills such as journalism in my MA course. I’ve gained this new skill and it’s interesting to see that with creative writing there are many different avenues that I can pursue.
Any tips for anyone thinking about studying creative writing?
Don’t be so put off when they ask you what your favourite books are. I was a late reader – during my teens I read stories on Wattpad for most of my secondary school life so Jane Austen and Charles Dickens were not on my radar – for me it was online stories about high school bad boys and nerdy girls. There is enough space for everyone at the table – don’t be put off when they say your story is not "relatable"; I don’t relate to Jane Austen because I’m not a middle-class white woman but I will still pick up her book and read it.
Do you have any advice you’d like to pass on to new students?
Always speak up! The one thing I regret during my bachelor’s degree is not being able to speak up enough in my seminar classes. I had a lot to say but felt nervous. It took a long time before I was able to speak up and give comments in class. I thought I’d sound less intelligent than other people – but the fact you are speaking up and letting your opinions be known is enough.
You can do anything you want. You have the power to do it – it’s in you.