“I worked closely with women from a variety of backgrounds."
Fazeela Mahreen had a clear idea of her career plans after university. But a competitive job market and struggling with mental health proved to be two major stumbling blocks.
However, she had the determination to make something out of her life. Hence, seizing the opportunity, Fazeela enrolled onto a graduate+ student award scheme, courtesy of Birmingham City University (BCU).
After seeking further guidance, the Employability team at BCU helped Fazeela secure an internship at a local charity, Suited for Success.
This experience has boosted Fazeela’s professional and personal development, along with helping her to overcome depression.
As part of her further development, the psychology graduate still works at Suited for Success on a volunteer basis. She hopes to gain more experience in the charitable sector.
Let’s take a closer look at Fazeela’s journey from suffering depression to making a positive impact in life:
Making the Most of Opportunities
While studying BSc (Hons) Psychology, Fazeela initially found university life challenging. She explains:
“I found it hard to adjust to meeting new people, how university worked and how assignments were marked.
“I definitely struggled with depression, but I didn’t realise I had a problem and didn’t want to label myself.”
Fazeela found that coming from a Pakistani background, she was embarrassed to share her personal struggles with friends and family. This was in fear of embarrassment and shame.
Things improved in her second year when Fazeela began to make the most of what the University’s facilities could offer. She says:
“I enlisted on the Graduate+ student award scheme and took up every employability option I could.
“The coaching I received from Birmingham City University definitely helped and I built up a good network of connections through various programmes including student mentoring.”
Fazeela was also able to take up various part-time employability opportunities including helping out at the University summer school, whilst studying to boost her CV.
New Internship, New Opportunity
Upon graduating in 2017, Fazeela faced a new set of challenges. Reflecting on this, she says:
“I wanted to work with kids, but it didn’t pan out after graduation. I had no luck when it came to securing a permanent role through the many agencies I contacted.”
In January 2018, Fazeela was put in contact with the University’s Graduate Talent Consultants through her previous experience with the student mentoring programme.
They helped her to secure a paid internship with Suited for Success.
This is a local charity that assists people into work, through suit donation and interview preparation. Fazeela explains:
“I was involved in managing and supporting the development of a programme to help women from ethnic minorities improve their English and seek work.
“I worked closely with women from a variety of backgrounds.
“It helped me develop a passion for this area, giving me valuable skills and the confidence to pursue this as a future career.”
Fazeela credits her internship and ability to think positively in helping her through a difficult time, following her initial setbacks.
When asked on what advice would she give to students in a similar position, she said capitalising on the opportunities presented are vital. She elaborates:
“Keep your options open. Embracing opportunities led me to working with Suited for Success and helped me find and develop a passion which I love and want to continue.
“It’s helped me develop as a person, and I would recommend partaking in an internship to any student or graduate.”
Fazeela continues to volunteer with Suited for Success, further developing her skills. She is now looking for new opportunities in the charitable sector.
Are you a student or graduate looking for support? Find out more about the careers services and mentoring support available at BCU here.