Serena-Amani Al Jabbar

Tell us a bit about yourself, your role and your time at Queen Mary

The basics:

I studied International Relations - and am due to graduate in January.

I was a President of Queen Mary Friends of Palestine Society.

And I am now your Student Union President!

The fun stuff:

I support the BEST football club in the world, yes, Southampton FC?

I like to sing, write songs, and convince myself that if I ever produced them, they’d be Brit-worthy

And I love wasting money on food.

Favourite spot on any of our campuses?

Admittedly I love the Whitechapel campus, specifically the library - a refurbed old church with books and dim lighting

If you could recommend one thing the Students’ Union has on offer for students to get involved in, what would it be?

Societies! Please, just throw yourself into anything and everything you have the slightest interest in. Not only will you make some amazing friends, but it will make your university experience an experience. Genuinely, the best part of my three years at uni was being a part of FOP (Friends of Palestine).

I know there is soo much to do in London, especially if it is your new home - but nothing beats being part of a community on campus - don’t underestimate it! Whatever year you’re in, it’s never too late to get involved!

Top study tip?

Ok so ‘studying’ was and continues to be daunting for me but, I was watching a YouTube video the other day (ironically at the end of my degree) about how you frame ‘studying’… I’ll link it here:

In short, if you are anxious and dreading doing something it means there is more reason to just do it (pls, don’t sue me, Nike).

But honestly, it has been the hardest part of my degree, overcoming the pressure I put on myself. Be kind to yourself, start working and it will get easier (easier said than done, but trust the process and watch the video).

(Disclaimer: This was not sponsored but if Ali Abdaal or Steven Pressfield happen to see this pls forward me the cheque)

Tell us about a hobby you do and why you love it?

For some reason I really couldn’t pinpoint a hobby so clearly I don’t love one that much, right? So, I turned to BuzzFeed to find a hobby I should do/will love, and the result was pottery! And honestly, that is something I have been meaning to try but first let me find an affordable class.

What’s one thing at Queen Mary that you couldn’t live without? ?

The people. Be it my friends, the lecturers who have gone above and beyond for me, or even now the Students’ Union family that I have joined. Do not isolate yourself, people make life bearable and enjoyable

What’s your ideal day out in London?

Ok - let’s start with a coffee in Shoreditch, follow it with brunch (I’m newly coeliac & desperate for food recommendations btw) - then, head to a book shop, recently I went to Shalimar Books in Kennington - it was so good for South Asian literature! Finally, finish the day with more food of course and then a sunset trip to a park - perhaps you’ll end up celebrity spotting - I saw Tom Hiddleston the other day (to be specific on 23/07/23)

What’s a piece of advice you’d give students?

Utilise the university counselling service. Counselling is expensive and we are in a cost-of-living crisis. You pay enough for university - make the most of the support it offers - I cannot stress this enough!

If you could have one superhero power, what would it be?

Well, a fun fact, I once sent in a self-tape for Ms Marvel, also known as Kamala Khan. Of course, I didn’t get the part because I wouldn’t be writing this if I did but I am a huge Marvel fan. That being said, my superhero power would probably be a knockoff from the Scarlet Witch - she is the most powerful character in the MCU, so, I’d opt for manipulating reality… take from that what you will.

What are you most looking forward to this year?

It’s a cliché but meeting students across all campuses and seeing what societies get up to (especially you, FOP).

View my manifesto