Olayinka Maria Daniel (BA Law and Anthropology, 2022) is a recipient of the New Futures Fund scholarship, which is funded through regular giving. Speaking to us before the coronavirus pandemic, Olayinka shares her journey from school to LSE and the hurdles she has faced along the way.
“I’ve always had a plan for my life, even though things at home have been messy. From our school in South-east London, my friends and I, we made our plans. We were going to ace our exams, go to University, get good jobs – we had it all planned out.
So I couldn’t quite believe it when I was told I couldn’t go to University because of our finances. Turns out that, although I grew up and went to school here, I didn’t qualify for student finances for British students because I was born in Nigeria.
I found that out a few weeks before my exams. To be very honest, at that point, I toyed with the idea of failing my exams, just so I could re-sit them and have something to do for another year. But I had studied very hard, with the full intention to do as well as I could. That, and because I’m the registered carer for younger siblings with special educational needs, and my bed-bound mum, contributed to a lot of stress.
It was a difficult two years for me after those exams. I did well, but spent that time out of school, working with theatre groups and as an English teaching assistant. I felt like I had lost direction to my life: that I would have to pick up the pieces of my plan and put them together in a different way.
The New Futures Fund award came at a really crucial moment. I had been offered a place at LSE that I was going to defer the day before I got the scholarship. It has kickstarted my future aims, whilst restoring happiness and motivation into my life. It has brought such a lot of joy, pride and relief to my family and I. It’s made me appreciate that there are many people in my predicament, and I want to play a role in making their lives better.
Now at LSE, I’m still under stress, but in a different way! I’ve not been studying for a while, and everyone here seems smart and knows what to do. There’s a lot of new information to take on and sometimes it feels overwhelming.
But being able to stay in LSE accommodation has been incredible. I didn’t have much of a conventional social life because of my responsibilities at home, and I’m making friends that I wouldn’t otherwise have met from my part of London: my roommate is Chinese, and other friends are from Indonesia, Somalia, and a couple of friends from Wales.
Ultimately, I would like to directly affect people’s lives for the better and make an impact on the world. I want to ensure that the financial obstacles which nearly scuttled my aspirations and plans do not bar others.
Thank you so much for your contribution to the New Futures Fund through regular giving – it has been life-changing for me.”
The Student Support Scholarship Fund
The COVID-19 pandemic is having a heavy impact on LSE students from under-represented communities, those who are most in need of financial support. Applications for assistance from current students have increased, and prospective students who might previously have aspired join LSE are likely to struggle without your help.
To give other LSE students like Olayinka the gift of opportunity, please consider a gift to the Student Support Scholarship Fund today.
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Make a regular gift by Direct Debit (UK only)
Thank you for your compassion and generosity in supporting our students.