Small Heath

Introvert Success: Three Females From Small Heath, Birmingham

Small Heath which is in Birmingham is mostly in the news for violence, street crime, and gang violence. 

The location favoured by minority cultures and perceived as less academic compared to other locations in Birmingham.

I’d like to continue my studies for the sake of learning, but I aim to acquire new skills such as coding

Small Heath is in fact home to many academics regardless of the perceived negative culture and influence.

Yet in the mdist of all the crime and dangers within the community, the local schools have created and shaped some of the finest young individuals who have and are still attending some of the famed Russel Group universities within the UK.

This week, iTHINK interviewed three young females who too were born and raised in small heath and are now attending top universities in the country. While aspiring towards becoming industry specialists.

Their names, Umme Kulsoom. Ripa Rahman and Lubana Begum all aged 19. 

Umme Kulsoom – Aerospace Engineering

Small Heath

Tell us about studying in Small Heath, was it your first choice and why?

Before starting secondary school I looked at a variety of schools in and out of small heath but were still in Birmingham.

I weighed the pros and cons with my parents and thought the best would be to study in small heath close to home so in case of any emergencies it was close to home and it would be a short journey there and back to and from school.

Do you feel your school teachers helped you in reaching your goals and aspirations?

There were many who were very helpful and made the lessons really engaging and were passionate to teach the lessons, for example, the history teacher would have many ideas and engaging lessons planned for example re-enacting the character of historical figures and this aided history becoming one of my most treasured subjects.

Would you say you are different in your academic choices compared to the young people of your age?

I’m not sure, like most students in my class I was sure about what to do at uni but since then I have been conflicted between three of my most favourite topics: science, maths and history. So in that sense I guess I am different since I am still unsure what to do.

Now that you have made it to university (congratulations!), what is your next move? What would you like to do in the future?

I intend to graduate university and then getting masters and just delve into the real world outside of education in the subject/course I choose.

To the young girls out there who are approaching their GCSEs, what advice would you give to them!

It is never too early or too late to start revising, it is best to make a timetable regarding the amount of time you have before exams. It is advised to start revising as early as possible and if needed you can always ask for help from classmates and teachers. Also, remember it is just as important to rest as it is to revise and study hard. No matter what the outcome is you’ll know that you tried your best.

Ripa Rahman – Podiatry

Tell us about studying in Small Heath, was it your first choice and why?

Before starting secondary school, my parents gave it a lot of thought about whether I should continue my education in my local area or choose to go elsewhere.

Some areas were Sutton Coldfield, Kings Heath, Solihull, but the final choice was given to me. I chose to stay and continue my education in Small Heath.

Having older cousins who also studied in this area before me and being successful was what encouraged me to strive to do the same.

Do you feel your school teachers helped you in reaching your goals and aspirations?

I do think that my school teachers did help me in realising what I actually wanted to do. Having a close bond with some teachers really benefitted me when it came to choosing my options and career choices. Without them, I wouldn’t have made it to where I am today.

Would you say you are different in your academic choices compared to the young people of your age?

I would say I am very different. Many people have not even heard of the term Podiatry. Some ask, what is it? What it involves? I feel like there needs to be more knowledge on some medical teams that are not well known.

Now that you have made it to university (congratulations!), what is your next move? What would you like to do in the future?

I do intend on completing my degree and going to do a Masters year in Podiatric Surgery.

To the young girls out there who are approaching their GCSEs, what advice would you give to them!

Make a timetable beforehand. Stick to it. Change it if need be. Read over what you went through during lessons the same day after school. Write up extra or rewrite the notes. If you need help, dont be afraid to ask for it. Take breaks during revision. Look forward to it, even if its a snack break. But try your best x

Lubana Begum – Physics 

Small Heath

Tell us about studying in Small Heath, was it your first choice and why?

A lot of the students I met in secondary school who were also from small heath, discontinued their study at either before a-levels or university. I would say that influenced my choice of peers, so that I was around like-minded people who would respect a person who chose career first.

I sometimes come across people who thought travelling far or moving far away for the sake of education isn’t sensible. I think the local culture influences that, but also is why some don’t pursue a career they want or aren’t motivated enough to work hard.

In general, studying in small heath seems quite odd to me. In my personal experience, it’s celebrated and encouraged to get high grades and a respected degree or qualification. However, it may be purely for the sake of the prestige or status; not necessarily to embark on an exciting new career or venture into the world. That may be looked as being shameful or out of place, especially for girls.

As a result, even though I’m encouraged to work hard and get good grades, I’m not actually encouraged to aim high in terms of career, or to put my career before anything cultural, e.g. marriage. For me, this motivates me to study harder to prove others wrong.

Do you feel your school teachers helped you in reaching your goals and aspirations?

Once, my teachers noticed my talents certain subjects, they would definitely acknowledge it. Especially in the sixth form, I would say there was a lot of support received from my teachers to help me through my studies.

In terms of reaching my goals, I suppose the main one was getting into university. I did receive support with my application as did most a lot of students. Also, I don’t recall being refused support with things such as subject changes or admission exams, but I don’t think I reached out to my teachers as much as I could have.

I’d like to mention that they did push me to apply for a more difficult subject than would have done. I’m not sure if that’s support, but I’m glad they did.

Would you say you are different in your academic choices compared to the young people of your age?

Based in numbers in my school; a lot of my chosen a-level subjects were fairly unpopular with students. This wasn’t due to ability but preference in career. However, although I have changed courses my initial choice for university study was fairly popular amongst students also taking my subjects.

Now that you have made it to university (congratulations!), what is your next move? What would you like to do in the future?

Since, I’m still unsure about my choice of course to study, I think I know what subject I want to based in. For now, I’d like to continue my studies for the sake of learning, but I aim to acquire new skills such as coding to open up more career opportunities for me.

Currently, I’m influenced heavily by people wanting to start their own business or take an unconventional route into work. This actually made me consider using my interests to potentially start something for myself.

To the young girls out there who are approaching their GCSEs, what advice would you give to them!

I think a lot of students may get sidetracked with things such as work experience, prefect or other roles in school. At that stage in life, it’s important to get your studies straight so as tedious as it may seem, really work at your grades instead of stressing about the other stuff. Also, embark on hobbies to keep up your spirits.

Also, don’t commit to any career path. I changed mine numerous times. From medicine to software developer; I’m still not sure.

Use sixth form to gain skills and work experience because even though you need to work harder, you will have more free time.

There you have it, it does not matter where you are raised or the financial background of your family. Nothing can eliminate hard work, ambitions and of course hours of study.

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