Dream Big! – through the lens of Elyana Sofia 

By Elyana Sofia

“Elyana is a soft-spoken person and would go out of her ways to achieve her dreams.”

You might have heard her name by now. An active student of International Islamic University Malaysia, she is known for her talent in hosting. With a versatile persona, Elyana is one of a kind as she frequently opens her speech by reciting poems or singing songs to elevate the audience mood. She is sought after host in IIUM and also actively involved with community service to help those in need. 

Born in Selangor, Elyana is brought up in the township of Damansara sandwiched between Subang and Petaling Jaya, a hub for shopping malls such as Ikea, One Utama and @Curve and a stone throw away from Malaysian media and entertainment company, Media Prima. Needless to say, Elyana lives in a community surrounded by entertainment, multiracial demographic and strategic location to earn a decent living.

When she was as young as 11 years old, her parents moved to the Middle East to work as expatriates at the aviation company in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. She was then raised by her grandparents in a peaceful village at Alor Setar, Kedah and later offered a placement at an elite boarding school known as Sekolah Menengah Sultan Abdul Halim, Jitra, Kedah to pursue her education there.

Every twice a year, she travelled to the metropolitan city of Dubai with her siblings to visit their parents. The skyrocketing tower of Burj Khalifa, the gigantic shopping malls of Dubai and the luxury life of Emirati have motivated her to work hard and achieve her dreams. These experiences have shaped her thinking and character to be open-minded and tactful when dealing with challenges. 

Although her life may be full of unicorn and rainbows at a glimpse, the 5,496 km distance between her family and her, separated them from celebrating meaningful moments in her life.

“I used to be so emotional during my birthday as it falls on the same date as my parents’ anniversary,” Elyana shared. However, she refused to let her emotions consumed herself, and deliberately entered multiple competitions at school, such as public speaking, storytelling and represented the English Debate Team and the Drama Club at national levels. 

“Elyana is known to be a social butterfly with her carefree attitude, she makes it easy for anyone to instantly click with her.”

Despite being a social butterfly, Elyana is an old soul. She loves listening to the blues while writing poems when the sky is pitch black and the moon shines the world. Until today, her favourite singer is the 20th-century American singer, Frank Sinatra. Fly Me to the Moon is her favourite muse to inspire her to become a better person every day.

She also performed Malay poems known as Syair Puteri in front of Kedah’s Princess, Tunku Puteri Intan Safinaz during Academic Excellence ceremony at her alma mater. 

Apart from her interest in arts, she favoured volunteerism as she sought ways to selflessly enrich the lives of others. Upon graduating from high school, she joined Mercy Malaysia as a volunteer to provide humanitarian aid to help those in need at Kelantan after floods hit the country in 2015.

Her passion in volunteerism did not stop there, she became one of the volunteers for Kuala Lumpur SEA Games in 2017, and joined society club in her university that catered for the Orang Asli community. In one of her visits to Pos Yum, Perak she learned to become compassion and content, through the life of the Orang Asli community who lived in a poor condition without electricity and adequate housing. 

She pursued her degree in English Language and Literature intended to help others empower the language which is deemed important to master. She honed her skills in public speaking by actively hosting at university events, being a moderator for TV9 programme and joined IIUMTv as a host for Nightingale channel.

Just when she entered her final year of the degree programme, she was offered a position as a student ambassador for KPMG Malaysia and worked with the KPMG People, Performance and Culture (PPC) team to promote the multinational company to university students.

With her passion for media and broadcasting, she took minor in Communication to elevate her knowledge whilst understanding the importance of having good communication skills.

Initially, her father encouraged her to take Law as her talent in speaking should be used to its advantage, but she instantly fell in love with Human Sciences when she entered Foundation. She dreamt of becoming a television personality working with the national broadcasting companies such as TV3 and TV Al-Hijrah while juggling with her online business for a work-life balance. 

Knowing the importance of transparency in media, she read online newspapers such as The Guardian and The Star to equip herself with the current status quo. During her free time, she indulges with literary works from local writers such as Adibah Amin and Hanna Alkaf. Among her favourite novels is This End of the Rainbow written by Adibah Amin that highlights the challenges of ethnic diversity due to the Divide and Rule policy after the British occupied Malaya.  

Moving forward, she envisioned to become a prolific writer with a profile in media and broadcasting. She realised the need to improve her writing skills and grasp as much knowledge as she could before entering the market.

Currently, she runs an online business which started amid the COVID-19 pandemic that sells trendy apparel and cosmetics to gain some pocket money before her degree programme ends. 

“If I have to go out of my ways to realise my dreams and enrich another soul, I would do it.” ***

(This article is written as part of individual assignment series for Feature Writing class)

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