Vice-Chancellor's Fund: Jesse Jackson Scholarship Recipient 2012
English and Drama
Before Asiyah received her Scholarship she felt like she was missing out on vital experiences that would help her with her studies. Read her story to find out how she put the money to good use in order to improve her knowledge and visit places she had never been able to before.
Asiyah has always had a love of reading and singing and thought that the English and Drama course at DMU looked like a lot of fun. Being from Leicester and having watched many of her former college friends come to DMU; the choice was an obvious one. Asiyah was also impressed with the facilities at DMU and has continued to be so throughout her course. ‘I love the library! Its always alive – it never sleeps. It’s nice and it becomes a home away from home really because you have to spend so much time there.’
Although clearly dedicated to her studies and enjoying student life, things became tough for Asiyah in her second year. Asiyah’s mother is also a student at DMU and with both of them studying and a mix up with student loans; funds quickly began to run low. Struggling to pay the bills, there was certainly nothing left for Asiyah to buy the books and attend the performances that would be so crucial to her success on the course. ‘I couldn’t afford to go and see any of the plays, so when people were discussing things in class I wouldn’t have a clue what they were talking about. I felt like I was missing out.’
Hearing of the Vice-Chancellor’s Fund, it was Asiyah’s mother that convinced her to apply and that was the start of a new chapter for Asiyah and her mum. ‘I couldn’t believe it when I got the email. I literally thought I was dreaming when I got it, it was such a relief.’ Before Asiyah received the money she was worried about how she was going to pay the bills, never mind how she was going to buy her next lot of books. Thanks to the Vice-Chancellor’s Fund those stresses have been taken away and that in itself has helped her to achieve more than she thought possible. ‘There were some days when it was just difficult to be able to afford food and the essentials and that pressure took its toll on my studies. The scholarship helped in two ways really – with my studies and with my life. Just that one sum of money has changed everything for me.’
Not only has Asiyah been able to buy the books that she so desperately needed and attend relevant performances alongside her course mates, she believes the scholarship has also had an impact on her drama marks. ‘I think it has helped me to get better grades in my Drama performances. On my course, the things that you wear and use in your performance has to be related to your performance and a lot of the time – because I didn’t have the money to get stuff, I had to improvise. At the moment, I’m having to work on an Adam and Eve costume and I found one online which the money will help to pay for, where as before, I would have just had to go to Primark, cut out a t-shirt and make do.’
And the impact doesn’t end there. After reading Pride and Prejudice for one of her modules, Asiyah decided that Jane Austen would make a great subject area for her dissertation. ‘My dissertation tutor has told me that there is a Jane Austen Museum in Bath and advised me to try and visit, so the Vice Chancellor’s Fund scholarship will also help me to do that. It just means that all of the little things that I want to do to support my degree, I can now do.’