If I could give a piece of advice to my younger self it would be to not be afraid to come out of your shell and to embrace unfamiliarity. It was through being uncomfortable that I was able to push myself to meet new people and take on new opportunities that have shaped both who I am today and my future goals.
My name is Sumayya, and I was brought up in East London living in Manor Park. One of my favourite aspects of living in East London is the sense of community. I know I can always depend on everyone in my neighbourhood, and they’ve become like family.
My parents are from Bangladesh originally. Even though I've only visited Bangladesh twice, I’ve always been close to my Bengali identity since my parents always spoke to me in Bengali growing up. Islam has also been an important part of my life. It brings me an inner sense of peace so that I can re-centre myself from the daily stresses of everyday life. UEL has always been supportive of this and the prayer rooms at USS allowed me to complete my prayers in between lectures.
The main reason I wanted to study law was the power it gives me. By no means do I mean that in an arrogant way, but rather the power to help and inform people about their legal rights and knowledge about the free services available to them. Why should anyone be any different to me and not have the knowledge of their inherent rights? I think everyone should have an equal playing field with regards to the law. I joined the Legal Advice Centre at USS which strengthened my desire to make a difference within the legal profession.
During one of my courses, I visited Old Bailey, the Central Criminal Court of England, which made me realise the lack of diversity within the English court system. We had a mock trial and I remember the judge was also Asian. It felt so inspiring seeing someone within the legal system that looked like me and it made me feel that if they could do it, so can I. I also want to be that role model for other minorities so that they know it’s obtainable for them too.
Sumayya Munim studied Law LLB (Hons) and graduated in September 2022.