Writer: Kalyana Sidra | Illustrator: Ariyani Nuraini | Editor: Reinardus Darren | Photographer: Reinardus Darren
President of APUINA 2021, recipient of the Ando Momofuku Award 2019, member of Honors Program for Global Citizenship, Vice Campus Director for Hult Prize APU 2020, and a myriad of other achievements, Fathia Fairuza is just getting started.
Amongst her accomplishments so far, perhaps the most impactful has been Shape Your Life ID (@shapeyourlife.id on Instagram), an online platform initiated to help students who dream of studying abroad. Founded by Fathia in 2020 and reaching over 1,000 followers in less than a year, Shape Your Life ID is no small feat for anybody. So, curious to know more about Fathia and her journey? Read along!
What motivates you, and have you always been so motivated?
No, I haven’t always been motivated – not like this anyway. What got me started was the bad experience I had after going back to Indonesia from my exchange program in high school. I used to struggle a lot with catching up academically, I even used to get remedials often. It was hard for me to adjust to the curriculum in Indonesia after a year of being abroad.
What made it worse was that my friends were not exactly helpful either. Rather, they made fun of me for going abroad and for struggling in my schoolwork. “Going abroad is a waste of time and money,” I remember them saying to me. In retrospect, it made sense. In Sidoarjo, not a lot of opportunities are given to children. Information was limited to what people know already, so a narrow mindset was still prevalent.
Because of that, a certain fire was lit within me. I wanted to prove them wrong, I wanted to show them that aiming for non-academic experience is totally fine. I also wanted to show them that going abroad is not as expensive as they think if we can find the right programmes and/or scholarships. My friends in Sidoarjo were really smart, but what they hadn’t realized was that they could do so many things, so subconsciously they limited themselves. Ultimately, I wanted to share the word that almost anybody can go to school abroad, if they really wanted to.
How do you prevent feeling unmotivated, especially after knowing that you’ve already achieved so many things?
Well, what I do is I try to commit to what I say. In example, when I was presenting my goals for the Ando Momofuku award, I listed all the things that I planned to do over the next 2 years. So, those things are what I’m doing now. Since I plan on applying for that same award again, I’ll show them the exact list but this time, they will all be checkmarked. Another way can be writing all your goals with the time you want it to be done by, and post it up somewhere you see every day. That’ll get you motivated for sure.
So, what’s the story behind Shape Your Life ID?
Like I said before, I wanted to help people realize that going to school abroad could cost a lot less money than they think. I got the idea when I was looking for university abroad (before I came to APU), and it was really hard for me to find proper information about scholarship programmes. So, I decided to build this platform where students can find reliable information in one place, somewhere they can start a journey from.
It’s always very touching whenever someone DMs @shapeyourlife.id and asks for information about something, or asks for a webinar about a certain topic. It shows that Shape Your Life ID really does help people, which is exactly what I was aiming for.
Lastly, what is success for you?
For me, being successful is not when I achieve something, but when I help others to reach their own definitions of success.
Any parting words of wisdom?
Be resilient. Most people don’t see the struggle behind my successes. What they might not know is that every semester I always apply for scholarships and many times, I get rejected. But, after the initial bout of disappointment, I pick myself back up and try to improve myself each time. Everyone falls, you just have to learn to land on your feet!
Fathia has shown us that resilience and hard work are the keys to success. She has achieved so many incredible things so far, all because she never stopped trying to be better. If this is what she’s done so far, we can’t wait for what Fathia is going to do in the next few years! May her journey inspire us always!