SOAS Grads of 2022: Abdullahi’s Story of Becoming Confident and Achieving his Dreams


This week, we’re back on campus for our Summer Graduation Ceremonies for the first in-person Graduation since the pandemic. Graduates from 2020 and 2021 will be able to put on their robes and celebrate their achievements. Abdullahi Yussuf is one alumnus graduating this week, having completed his BA in Social Anthropology in 2021. We asked Abdullahi about his time at SOAS and his hopes for the future.

How has your journey at SOAS been?

My journey at SOAS has been life-changing; being a student at SOAS allowed me to grow significantly as a young person, both personally and academically. At SOAS, I went from being a shy student who struggled to speak in lectures & tutorials in my anthropology degree to becoming a confident person during the pandemic era (I have no idea how this happened!).

What obstacles have you overcome during your time here?

The biggest obstacle I would say I overcame during my time here was academic writing. I know this is a big issue for every university student, but for me, my shyness and confidence issues got in the way of bettering myself in the beginning. Moreover, having a disability like cerebral palsy isn’t easy either. I really struggled with coming to terms with academic writing in my first and second years here at SOAS. But I had the best support system at this university, from my friends to lecturers, tutors and the support the university provided to improve academic writing. By my final year during the pandemic, I began to achieve everything I wanted out of being a university student.

What have you learned about yourself?

For the past three years at SOAS, I have learned that I can achieve whatever I put my mind to. I fought for my dreams, and my dreams fought for me – which was going to university and being the best I could possibly be.

What have you enjoyed during your time here?

What I have enjoyed the most during my time at SOAS is definitely the different people I’ve met. From my notetaker to lecturers, to my friends, tutors and the admin team. I’ve really enjoyed learning about my course and navigating life as an adult by learning from inspiring and knowledgeable individuals. But, I think it’s the people I’ve met that made me enjoy my time the most at SOAS.

What have you enjoyed about your course?

What I enjoyed about my social anthropology course was the ability to conduct ethnographic research and learn about anthropology’s theoretical and social aspects. I also loved that there was no right or wrong answer AND…that the anthropology department is the only department that has its own library. I miss the anthropology library so much as I loved being there every day of the week.

What are your next steps after graduating?

My next step after graduating is looking to do a Master’s in 2023. But I love that I’m currently volunteering at Hackney Migrant Centre & Coram. I love that I’m now learning about the life of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. Just working on ways I can help make their lives better and using the transferable skills from my anthropology degree to do this.

Are you looking forward to Graduation?

Although I finished my course in 2021, I have been looking forward to the Ceremony. I’ve wanted to experience Graduation since I was a young boy when I understood what a university was. I’ve always wanted to put on my gown and throw my cap up in the air. To be able to do that as a disabled young person will be the greatest feeling in the world. Obtaining a degree is definitely the greatest achievement of my life, especially when I look back from where I started to where I am now. It makes me happy that I get to share this moment forever with my family, as I’m not the only one that graduated. My family are also graduating with me as we went through it together.

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