As part of our new “Five Minutes With…” series, shining the spotlight on the staff that make up the AccessHE membership, we got to know Zee Mohammed, Outreach Projects Officer at Middlesex University London. Zee is actively involved with our Care Experienced and Estranged Students Forum and recently supported with the Life After University 2019 event.
Describe your institution in 3 words.
Diverse, friendly, nurturing.
I do what I do because…
Throughout my time as a careers adviser I realised that a lot of pupils coming from underprivileged backgrounds faced many obstacles in life and simply lacked aspirations for higher education. They constantly need to be inspired and working in widening participation enables me to educate them on ways to break down barriers to progression, improve skills and develop the right attitude for life.
What song would be the soundtrack to your life and why?
It’s a French song called ‘C’est ta chance’ – it’s about being the master of your destiny and seizing every opportunity that comes your way because each one is a gift.
If you could invite four people – alive or dead – to dinner, who would you choose?
I would choose four amazing young people I have worked with recently: H who is a care leaver, S who came to this country as a refugee, N who is a disabled student and G also a care leaver with a huge ambition. All these people have had hard childhoods where they had to face abuse, persecution or bereavement. S had to change home 18 times in his life, N lost a brother when she was only seven and H longed for maternal love as a child. However, despite all these hardships, these young people have shown tremendous courage and strived against all odds to create a better life for themselves. Hope is what keeps them going they say. And G who is a wonderful spirit with massive drive once said “I want to be the leader of a generation and use my own life experience to empower people to achieve their dreams no matter who they are and what their background is”.
If you could go back and meet your 16-year-old self, facing decisions about your future education/career, what advice would you give?
To have the courage to speak about your dreams, to be honest with yourself and make the decision that you feel is right for you, not someone else.
If you’d like to feature in our next “Five Minutes With…”, please e-mail Tanyel.