A journey of self- discovery
NINETEEN- year- old Sharifah Aliah Syed Alwi Alhabshi described her feelings as happy, grateful and excessively joyful when told she was chosen as the valedictorian for the Foundation in Arts ( FIA) graduating class of Sunway College last year.
“For the last 11 months, my mind hasn’t had a chance to rest. Every subject provided me with new information and perspectives, from the ‘ soft skills’ of team building and change management to the ‘ number crunching’ skills of statistics.
“FIA is not just about learning facts, it is about socialising, developing opinions, juggling projects and activities with academics – finding laughter in situations that don’t seem funny at the moment.
“And when life gets tough, just take a minute, and pause, and then pull your way through adversity, pull past your greatest fears, pull in everything college has to offer,” said Sharifah.
Hailing from Subang Jaya and formerly from SMK USJ 12, Sharifah’s journey with the FIA at Sunway College began as one of self- discovery.
Being allowed to choose her academic electives provided a platform for her to explore her preferences. For Sharifah, the FIA enabled her to reinvent herself and become happier, more fulfilled, interesting and knowledgeable as its syllabus is planned to improve a person.
Challenging times were not lacking as Sharifah learned about the trials of working together in a group, pushing herself to improve and work around difficult situations. Her time in the FIA also helped her to work on time management, keeping organised and prioritising, pushing herself to progress.
Some of her most memorable experiences with the FIA include entering a debate competition with friends when she was a first- semester student, and being judged by a knowledgeable professional from a prestigious law firm.
Sharifah and her classmates had their share of fun too when they organised a movie pajama party in conjunction with Psychology Week.
“Having everyone dressed up in pajamas helped us de- stress while enjoying a movie and relaxing with friends,” she said.
With all the learning taking place, Sharifah managed to find time for part- time work in her final semester with classes in the morning and work in the afternoon at the Boost Juice Bar for at least three hours. Whenever possible, she tries to catch up on reading.
Sharifah believes in the need to be kind to one another, which motivates her to support the Pertiwi Soup Kitchen and Kechara. For her, volunteering is not about the packet of food but the act of caring, and that we are brave enough to step outside of our comfort zone for a positive change. Asides from building one’s character, it also allows one to be kinder and patient.
The next chapter for Sharifah lies in pursuing Politics, History and International Relations at University of Nottingham, something she attributes to her love of being in the know, of meeting new people and talking.
She believes with this, she will have the opportunity to be the voice of people and to be able to influence different audiences.
Sharifah’s advice is that it’s okay to not know everything because it can lead to new discoveries about one’s self along the way.
“Start off by carving your own path as each person needs to define himself or herself. The achievement begins with taking responsibility for moving forward in life.”
The Foundation in Arts is Sunway College’s homegrown programme and is recognised for being a holistic programme that helps to broaden students’ general knowledge, develop communication skills and is underpinned by the pillars of literacy and numeracy.
The programme is a direct pathway to undergraduate programmes at Sunway University where students who meet the undergraduate programme entry requirements are assured of their place in Sunway University’s Bachelor degree in Accounting & Finance, Actuarial Studies, Business Management, Business Studies, Information Systems, Information Technology, International Hospitality Management or Psychology.
For more information about the Foundation in Arts programme or other pre- university programmes at Sunway College, call 03- 7491 8622, e- mail info@ sunway. edu. my or log on to http:// sunway. edu. my/ college/ pre- u. Alternatively, drop by the campus on March 12, 13, 19 and 20 from 10am to 4pm for the Sunway Education Open Day.
The Foundation in Arts programme has enable sharifah to reinvent herself and become happier, more fulfilled, interesting and knowledgeable.