Of passion and changes of heart

By Ariani Mohd Nor

“To let go and let God.”

These are the words Ariani has sworn by – and has even lived by – throughout her 21 years of life thus far.

From an avid English debater in high school to pursuing journalism in the university – while both sectors are not that far apart, Ariani has never thought that she would pursue something she holds dearly today.

Nor Ariani Wahida Binti Mohd Nor, also known as Ariani Mohd Nor in her campus news by-line, was born and raised in Indonesia before moving to her home country, Malaysia, in 2012. As soon as she enrolled herself in high school, she was chosen to be a speaker for the debate team, in which she was actively involved with until she graduated in 2016.

When asked about what has got her into pursuing journalism, she answered with “languages.”

Being born into and growing up in a polyglot society, where her mother speaks Indonesian and Javanese; her father, a Malaysian, and spoke English throughout her primary school, she always thought the formation of words and languages in different cultures and customs intriguing.

Enrolling herself into a debate in secondary school and being an active participant in multiple English-language activities, journalism was not her top priority. To debate was to verbalise arguments and thoughts – which was a lot different from pursuing journalism, a path that documents what is normally verbalised into written forms.

Albeit the change, Ariani has found her new passion through news writing and journalism in general.

“How did I get here?” is something that she thinks of once in a while, in moments of solitary. Even today, she still thinks that her articulation of some words or sentences may be lacking – however, she is still, in her own words, “trying” – the one thing she believes she does the best.

Being registered for the Human Sciences course in the university was nothing but a serendipity, Ariani thinks. Her 18-year-old past precisely remembers the day she agreed on registering for an English Language and Literature course for foundations in hopes of cultivating her passion for languages, albeit only English. Being notified that she was accepted into a Human Science course was definitely a surprise – not unwelcome, but still unexpected.

Ariani, 21, a third year student, is now pursuing her degree in Communication, specialising in Integrated Media Journalism. Knowing that putting thoughts into words was one of her weaknesses, she actively involved herself in IIUMToday, the campus news portal for her university, since her first year.

Currently, Ariani holds a position as head of Social Media for IIUMToday – and she received Best News Journalist Award 2019 during the Communication Annual Dinner. She learned that her strengths were in hard news writing – reporting real time, interviewing key persons and keeping up with short deadline. Thus, she took the award as an inspiration for her to further improve herself not just as a news writer but also in writing feature stories. As news writing, she realises, has a pattern, writing feature stories requires more effort in putting extra thoughts into words.

Throughout the semester break, Ariani has been trying to improve her writing by re-reading her teenage fantasy books and some books that can freshen up her views on life; she still finds interest in the fictional world of Percy Jackson and the Olympians – a series about a boy who lives in the ‘modernised’ ancient Greek mythology, and a new book that finds her interest lately is Almond by Won-Pyung Sohn – a book about a boy who is unable to experience any emotion.

Ariani learns to write better by reading other people’s works, so she spends time to go through news articles from news websites such as New Straits Times or Al-Jazeera English at least once a day just to see how angles are being played during events, and so she doesn’t stray far from what’s happening in the world. While she does not have political belief or view, she does believe in a just government especially during today’s pandemic.

Moreover, she is also an avid user of social media – which is telling, as a social media manager of an organisation. There are times where she would only use Twitter to try to compact her thoughts into 280 characters, and there are times where she would be a silent reader just to know what’s going on with her friends and family.

She also frequently uses Instagram, mainly to catch up on some viral news or updates on some social media influencers or her ‘K-pop boy’ (who happens to be J-Hope from BTS).

If we were to ask her on how she sees herself in 4 to 5 years’ time, her answer would definitely be a small shrug or a little murmur of “who the heck knows, right?” Mainly because four years ago, she did not see herself pursuing journalism. She saw herself pursuing psychology or sociology, actually – however, she gave that up when she was 16 and struggling with biology and geography.

To Ariani, the Almighty and the world has weird, yet not unwelcomed plans for her. From someone who has a passion in verbal language to suddenly being so immersed in written language; she thinks that as long as she is contented with the outcomes of what have been assigned to her through rizq, Ariani thinks she would be fine in the long run. ***

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

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