Anisah Vasta

English and Journalism BA (Hons)

Anisah took a worthwhile risk when she applied for her course during Clearing. Three years on, Anisah has excelled in her course, starting her career long before graduating. Now, she is  giving underrepresented communities a voice at Birmingham Live. 

“I always wanted to go to university and I knew I wanted to do something along the lines of English. I originally applied to study Film at a different university. But a few weeks before starting, I decided that the course, and the university, just wasn’t for me anymore.

I rang BCU during Clearing and I was given the option of English and Journalism over the phone and thought it sounded really interesting, so I took a risk and just went for it. It was a blind decision, but probably the best one I've ever made.

During my time at BCU, I did an internship with Huffpost UK, where I worked in their newsroom for seven weeks. I also did a few weeks in marketing at Jewellery Quarter BID, which was really interesting and gave me skills to write for a specific audiences. I was able to do an internship at the Graduate+ office at BCU, which gave me an insight into social media, as well as a placement at the Shropshire Star, which allowed me to discover my love for local journalism.

BCU is one of the best places for networking and making contacts and creating a name for yourself. Throughout the three years, I’d been developing a portfolio of my work in all areas of journalism and through the links and initiatives that BCU provided myself and others on my course, I was able to get in contact with many different editors.

My tutor, Marverine Duffy, is one of the best teachers I’ve had in my life, and she was able to point me in the right direction of who to contact while job hunting. I originally applied for an apprenticeship at Birmingham Live and I got rejected. But shortly after, they contacted me and offered me the Trainee Journalist position instead.

Making a name for myself within the industry definitely helped to make my application stronger. I’ve now been in the role for a couple of months. So far it’s been crazy, but I’ve already learned a lot. Going from university straight into a job was intense, but it’s great to be producing content that is right there for people to see on the website. I’m a patch reporter for an area within inner city Birmingham and it’s been great to get to know the people who live and work in those areas.

One thing that is really important about Journalism is that you have to be confident. You have to pick up the phone and talk to people you don’t know. Approaching people and asking questions to total strangers requires belief in yourself, which BCU gave me. How BCU ran a news day is very similar to how we do it at Birmingham Live, so the course did a great job of getting me ready for life after university.

The journalism industry is really up and down, but in the long term I would love to eventually make a documentary and discover more about video and production. I also want to progress in local journalism and continue to work on my portfolio. But ultimately, if I can get out the stories of underrepresented communities, I’ll be achieving my main goal.

My advice to other students would be to get involved in as many things as possible. You never know what contacts you could make that will help you in the long-run. Have as much contact with your tutors as possible, they have a world of knowledge and are there to help you so use them to your advantage. And also, have fun! They are the best years of your life.

For me, I AM BCU means inclusivity. I always thought that being a Muslim and wearing a scarf would be a barrier for me. But in fact, it has been the total opposite. I’ve felt the most accepted at BCU than I have anywhere else in my life.”