A jour­ney of self- dis­cov­ery

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - HIGHER EDUCATION -

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.

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