I’m really glad I studied English and Media, and doing so has opened up my mind to a world of possibilities.
More about Zahra
Zahra Onsori graduated from NTU in 2021 with a BA in English and Media. In our catch up, Zahra shares how her joint honours course fueled her passion for writing and gave her flexibility, which has helped her to thrive in her career path as a content writer.
Why did you choose to study at NTU?
The course flexibility is what sold me. I also loved the campus at Clifton. It had such a community vibe, and it wasn’t too far from home. I also had a few friends in Nottingham, so all these things sold it to me.
What did you learn – both inside and outside of lectures?
There’s too much to put here! Some things were how to stand on my own feet, understanding and exploring what I enjoy, what things I don’t enjoy also! Time management, understanding that things don’t happen unless you make them happen, try new things because the worst that can happen is you don’t like it, alongside many more things.
What still makes you smile when you look back?
Lots of things; I’m blessed to have had a great uni experience; one thing in my eyes that made my four years were the great people I met and befriended, many of whom are still close to me today.
What does your current day involve?
I wake up and make my way over to my office (about two metres from my bed because I work from home). I have just started this job a few weeks ago so I’m still learning, but typically we have a few zoom meetings during the day, I write some copy for the website or help with writing some campaigns up. We have brainstorming sessions too.
What attracted you to this field of work?
I’ve always loved writing and knew I wanted to pursue it at uni, I just didn’t know what in.
How has your degree influenced your career?
Uni made me realise that the opportunities weren’t going to come for me, and I had to work for them. I worked so hard finding unpaid volunteer writing opportunities (unfortunately when you’re starting out as a creative there’s very little chance of being paid). Uni made me realise what things I was passionate about and from there I began honing in experiences that lined up with that.
What challenges have you faced?
Like I said, lots of unpaid work became debilitating, and at one point I began questioning whether this career path was right for me. But I decided to not give up and give it my all, which has seen me through until today. If you’re passionate about something, trust yourself, because one day you will get your break, all you need is consistency.
What have been the highlights and biggest challenges of your career so far?
I have so many highlights! Prior to this I was an editor for a local magazine, which gave me amazing opportunities to interview some really big names in entertainment, government and social justice work – this was really inspiring to me. I also attended events and pushed myself – conducting one interview as I was hiking up Snowdon! This has inspired me to know that I can achieve the goals I have set myself.
Some of the biggest setbacks are definitely imposter syndrome; often not feeling good enough is something that deters a lot of people from continuing. On my down days it can be difficult to acknowledge my achievements; I’d say we all just need to be kinder to ourselves and remember that ‘careers’ are no longer something that follow a linear path.
What are your plans for the future?
There are so many. I’d love to become an author at some point in my life, I want to start my own magazine, I want to grow my small side business where I typewrite letters for people, I want to travel as part of my job. Lots of big dreams but I’m definitely still at the beginning of my journey for now.
If you had a time machine, what would you go back and tell yourself at uni?
There would be SO many things. First of all, make the most of everything the uni gives you! Whether that be societies, classes, or career guidance. Second of all, be a bit more serious! I felt very relaxed in my first two years and didn't take enough advantage of all the opportunities!
Finally, is there anything else you would like to share?
I would say NTU has fantastic support, and during Covid they helped me as much as they could’ve during an unprecedented time. For people who are unsure what to study, doing a Joint Honours degree is great because it helps you understand what you do and don’t enjoy more – I’m really glad I studied English and Media, and doing so has opened up my mind to a world of possibilities.
Choosing just one subject to study at university can be a challenge! If you’re stuck weighing up different subjects, a Joint Honours course could be the ideal solution!
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