Superwoman Of A Certain Age

Asma Begum is juggling both sides of her life and coming out on top. Aside from being a student, she is a mother to two daughters. Her younger daughter has special needs and must be constantly cared for.

Students sometimes say they have it hard: struggling to keep up with all the deadlines and turning up to early morning lectures, not to mention trying to have a social life. But imagine doing all that while being married with two kids – one of whom is sick and often has hospital appointments.

When her second daughter was born Asma decided to quit her job as a nurse: ‘I realised in the midst of crying babies and beeping hospital machines that jobs come and go, but when you see your dearest baby child struggling to breathe in your arms, nothing else matters anymore.’

After a year her baby’s health slowly began to improve, and Asma decided to go back to university as a part time student – a decade after leaving education. ‘Ten years ago I was misguided and lost. Now I am older and wiser’, she says.

Four years on she has completed many of her modules and done well in all of them. The only awkward moments in her university life are when she has to admit her age.

‘I’m 33, and I find myself saying this in a quiet, muffled voice.’

Alina Choudhry