39th IIUM Convocation: KAED Best Student, Shazwani, overcomes feeling of quitting to excel and fulfill ambition

By Nabila Ereesha Nasir

GOMBAK, 1 December 2023: “There were so many points in my life that made me want to quit my degree journey, but thinking of how bad I wanted to be an interior designer and as it had been my ambition since I was a child, I kept pushing myself forward until I completed my degree now,” said Best Student Award winner, Nurshazwani Binti Mohd Helmi. 

Shazwani was conferred her degree specialising in Interior Design from the Department of Applied Arts and Design at the Kulliyyah of Architecture and Environmental Design (KAED) on 28 November 2023 (Tuesday) in the seventh session of the 39th IIUM Convocation Convocation, at IIUM Gombak. She did not only overcome her feeling of quitting her study but also excelled in it.

Shazwani also has shared her thoughts with IIUM Today on winning the Best Student Award, “I think there are so many other students that deserved this award more than me, but I feel really grateful that my hard work is being seen and that I am being acknowledged.”

She recalled that before accepting the offer to enroll at the IIUM, Shazwani performed Istikharah prayer, that confirmed her decision to accept the offer. Thus, she shared that her heart felt at ease and at peace at the thought of getting into the university.

Shazwani disclosed to IIUM Today about her goal to be an interior designer from the beginning, but she did not expect that she had to sacrifice many things to achieve her dream.

“Little did I know, it consisted of little sleep, more of staying up and a lot of consultations, however it was really fun to do all that because I had my friends with when doing all my assignments. I also get to play a role that I really wanted to become, which was becoming an artist, you can see my paintings hanging in IIUM clinics at both Gombak and Pagoh,” she reminisced. 

She also acknowledged that it was hard to keep up with the workload at the beginning but as she grew wiser each year, she managed her time well. As she also often received a lot of inspiration and ideas, Shazwani struggled a lot in choosing which idea would be the best one for her to adopt.

Shazwani proceeded talking about how much she loved the IIUM for valuing and giving priority to their students. She mentioned how much the IIUM valued students’ privacy, particularly reflected in the way that the rooms at the Mahallahs were designed; how much it valued people with disabilities by providing all the access to accommodations they needed; how much it valued students’ voices by letting them express their concerns; how much it valued individual talent by showcasing students’ artworks; and how much it valued employees like Daya Bersih who were not regarded as cleaners per se.

Shazwani showed her appreciation towards her family, lecturers and friends for becoming her support system throughout her study.

“My family always came and picked me up during the weekends so that I can spend time with them, even on the bad days when I wanted to quit, home was where I headed to, that made myself feel better. My fellow lecturers who always saw potential in me, they were the ones who made me feel confident of my own works. Also without my friends, especially the ones who spent so much time with me, eating together three times a day, playing together, talking, doing work together, I don’t think I could have finished this degree alone in my own room,” mentioned Shazwani.

Shazwani finally shared some advice to students who were struggling with their studies, “Don’t be so hard on yourself, make sure to reward yourself with anything that makes you happy even if you only studied for a short time, you are still more knowledgeable than your previous self.” ***