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No stopping Future Leader Nosa

Named as one of Powerful Media's 2022/23 Future Leaders and a semi-finalist in targetjobs Black Heritage Undergraduate of the Year Awards, Nosa Charles-Novia (BA Film and Literature, 2022) is studying for an MA in Writing and working as a film-critic intern. Here she tells us about her Warwick experience so far and why that little voice in your head is your most powerful weapon.

How was your time as a student?
At the start of my first year, I couldn’t have imagined feeling the way I did at my graduation. It was incredibly challenging, especially with the pandemic, but I enjoyed the experience. I’ve made friendships I hope I’ll keep forever. But it was a journey. I didn’t have access to my student loan due to my immigration background. This was on ongoing issue that affected me and there was a lot of stress. But I had the best support from my department and personal supervisor. It’s a tight-knit department, which meant I really got to know my lecturers. They cared for me on a personal level.

How did the pandemic affect you?
I would say Covid made me more introspective because there was a long period of time when I went without external voices and pressure. It wasn’t easy to motivate myself. The change in the university experience allowed you to be more accountable for how you spent your time. I can completely understand why it was so hard on people’s mental health. I was always looking for things to fill my time and made a note of new ideas as I went. Then when we got out of the pandemic, I was more likely to pursue them. Part of my nomination for Future Leaders was an anthology I curated during lockdown, and I know I wouldn’t have done this otherwise.

Powerful Media selects 100 of the UK’s most outstanding African and African Caribbean students and new graduates each year as Future Leaders. What does it mean to be named on the 22/23 list?
It feels like winning a Grammy! The recognition makes me feel grateful for the hard work I’ve put in. As well as being featured in the magazine, I was invited to the launch event at the London Stock Exchange. The calibre of attendees was super high and hearing about other people’s success was an honour. Earlier in the year, I was invited for a celebration of targetjobs Black Heritage Undergraduate of the Year Award by its sponsors at Sky, but, because most of my friends are writers and performers, it was one of my first experiences being in a corporate, non-creative space. It was a bit intimidating!

What was the most important thing you learned at Warwick so far?
A lesson I learned from my friends is that of perseverance - trust why you made the initial decision in the first place and keep going. There’s wisdom in knowing what is (and sometimes isn’t) working for you and trusting your gut. I learned through experience that the regret of not applying or trying something new is much more overwhelming than the fear of rejection. That little voice inside your head - you have to listen to it!

What’s your favourite memory?
On the academic front, that feeling of falling in love with what you’re reading. I remember a reading from my first year by a French writer called Édouard Glissant. My friends tease me for always bringing him up, but his work really broadened my mindset. You also need to remember that not every module is going to be for you. My friends and I also tried out the Varsity experience one time. It was not for us, but the experience was hilarious. That’s an important part of university – the experience of finding things you enjoy.

What’s next for you?
I am looking forward to the future! I’ve just finished term one of my masters in Writing. I used to read books and think ‘I wish I could write like this’. Now I see it as an option for myself.

What’s your advice for new graduates?
It’s easy to say but try not to be stressed if you don't find a job straight away. When you graduate there’s this sudden pressure to get your life together, but there is beauty in taking time to sort yourself out. I also think there's this flex within the black community to be excellent, like we’re trying to prove a point to people. There’s an unspoken expectation around not wanting to let people down. I count myself incredibly lucky to have a mum and dad who are supportive and laid back. They sacrificed so much for me to be able to attend university. With support from your family, friends and peers, there is a lot of joy to be found in the journey.

Is there anything else you'd like to say about your Warwick experience?

I’d like to dedicate my every success first and foremost to my God who carried me through the really tough times I experienced at university and made sure that all the unfavourable situations I experienced ended up working out for my benefit. I’d also like to dedicate my success to my Mom and Dad who stuck by me at every point when I needed them, supporting me financially, emotionally, spiritually with their love and prayers. I would not be much without their support. Finally, I’d like to dedicate it to the wealth of family and friends I’m blessed to have, who always encouraged me to keep going. I’m so grateful and extremely blessed.


Nosa in her graduation gown with her family

“I felt very secure during my degree, like I was learning from people who are at the top of their game.”