Spirit of Sussex Award -Psychology Nominees: Bushra Farooq

The Spirit of Sussex Award (SoSA) Connector team has been in contact with Psychology students to highlight their impressive extra-curricular activities. Log onto the Spirit of Sussex Award website to start logging points for your own extra-curricular activities to secure a Bronze, Silver or Gold Award. 

This month the SOSA Connector team wish to highlight the activities of Bushra Farooq, who studies an MSc in Clinical Psychology and Mental Health.

Have you been involved with any societies whilst at Sussex? 

I was invited by the South Asian Society for a collaboration on a cook along as I have an Instagram page called @anotherfoodstory_ for One World Week which was held 15-20 March 2021. I’ve been an advocate for physical and mental health for years and my page is just a channel for everyday tips on nutrition and overall wellbeing.  

What have been your personal highlights at Sussex outside of class time? 

I’ve not had any particular highlights at Sussex because I stay off-campus. That being said, walks in different parks around Brighton. My favourite spot has to be near the beach as I feel so much more at peace and helps me disconnect from the immense overload of sensory experience. I believe being on your own does not have to be unhealthy or toxic, allowing yourself to sit with uncomfortable feelings, such as disconnection with others, allows you to know more about yourself, which contributes to personal growth. 

What have you been doing during lockdown?

 I took up the 56 miles running challenge with Cancer Research UK to raise money for cancer research. I successfully completed 56 miles in February and have gotten into a healthy exercise routine. I’m hoping to continue as it feels like a great way to connect with nature and listen to my favourite podcasts. 

What motivated you to get involved in those activities? 

Working towards a cause and being able to make a contribution motivates me to continue those activities. And a bigger picture of my overall health.

Where do you hope to take your activities in the future? 

I’m hoping to promote different health challenges within the University of Sussex for students from different clubs and societies and to encourage them to raise funds for organisations. I also want to create further awareness on the importance of nutrition, mental health and sleep in our lives.

Have you done any charity work in the past 12 months? If so, what did you do to raise money for those charities?

Role: Director in Public Affairs and Campaign Strategy at Child Awareness Project (CAP) (2016-present) 

This year, unlike previously, the majority of the advocacy projects moved online. One of the moments this year that I believe made a difference was a collaboration work with over 10 different individuals including myself on topics such as productivity during the pandemic, self-care and mindfulness, cyberbullying, habit formation, gratitude, resilience building, journaling, laws surrounding children, physical health and mental well-being and importance of handwashing. We all seem to be aware of these topics in passing but going in-depth and working with my team on making a consistent flow for the youth and children who follow us on social media was the most impactful and successful online campaigns CAP has run. 

Role: Project Leader at Shashwat Jigyasa (2020-present) 

Bushra delivering a training workshop on menstrual hygiene for Shashwat Jigyasa

In March 2020, I began a project on menstrual hygiene education for girls with Autism in Lucknow, India. We ran a successful workshop and were going to continue running in-person workshops for parents, caregivers and schools with special children, but due to the pandemic, I had to put a hold on on-field activities. I’ve been in the midst of training volunteers online and educating them about sexual education and menstrual hygiene and speaking with the girls’ parents to make the training more relevant and address the challenges mentioned by them. Lastly, the proudest moment of mine was raising over £500 for sanitary products for the schools so girls don’t have to miss school and be comfortable if they get their period during the school hours. Ongoing work with creating training manuals in Hindi and English for the parents. 

Other positions: 

"Taking the time and effort to go beyond what's expected of you and ensure that communities around you are being helped is what truly makes you a representative of TheirWorld"

Youth Opportunities – Global Youth Ambassador (Representative for India) 2020 

Theirworld – Global Youth Ambassador (Representative for India) 2020- present 

I’ve been doing work in communities for over eight years now in India, Oman, Vietnam, Malaysia and now the UK. My inspiration stems from the principle of paying it forward. 

Do you have a part-time job at University? If so, what is it, and what do you do in the role?

I currently hold three different positions:

International Student Ambassador (Part-time Job) 

My role focuses on working with the international student support and marketing team to help with Open Days, and emailing/speaking with students on the experience at Sussex, especially during the pandemic. Stating the pros and cons of being an international student in the UK and painting an honest picture of what the options are for the overseas students arriving at Sussex. 

Post Graduate International Student Representative (School of Psychology) 

My role focuses on being a voice for the international students at the School of Psychology. Whether that is talking about the attainment gap, feedback for examinations, further academic support for essays, providing further global examples in teaching and more. In addition to this, I also work with the UG International representative to create and leading events e.g. International Student Social.

This role is extremely important to me as there is a lack of representation for International Students at school level. The University of Sussex is a strong research-based university but it has a long way to go in catering completely for international students. 

Course Representative for MSc Clinical Psychology and Mental health program

My role focuses on creating a space for the students to contact me about any queries they might be having, whether they are course related e.g., EC claims or about their own physical or mental health. I help to provide resources on and off-campus after consulting with the student experience team, I make sure to inform the Student Director so they can provide any extra information. 

Are you feeling inspired? Log onto the Spirit of Sussex Award website to start logging points for your own extra-curricular activities to secure a Bronze, Silver or Gold Award. The award is open to all undergraduate and postgraduate students at Sussex, and you will receive your certificate at your Graduation ceremony. 

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