Farhiya Shaban, who is originally from Dadaab, Kenya, is a senior at the University of Louisville majoring in psychology and currently completing several minors in Middle Eastern and Islamic studies, Humanities, and Arabic language.
When Farhiya is not studying for an exam or at work, there is a good chance the standout student leader is involved in co-curricular activities and volunteering. Farhiya is highly involved on campus and in the community as a Woodford R. Porter Scholar, a member of the International Honor Society in Psychology (Psi Chi), a member of TRIO Student Support Services, a mentee in the President Council Mentorship program, and a Metropolitan College participant working in the customer service department at UPS Worldport.
“I am also a mentor and service ambassador at the largest student run philanthropy at the University of Louisville. Joining raiseRED as a committee member was one of the best decisions I have made during my time as a Louisville Cardinal,” said Farhiya.
This spring, Farhiya received a nomination for the 2021 Outstanding Metropolitan College Student Award, an award that recognizes students who demonstrate outstanding leadership, work-life balance, and academic success.
Farhiya was first introduced to the Metropolitan College program as a senior at Doss High School while participating in the UPS School to Work Program, a cooperative education program that offers eligible high school seniors the opportunity to earn college credits while working at UPS.
Initially, Farhiya had no intention of continuing with UPS and joining the Metropolitan College after graduating high school but was inspired to participate after speaking with a mentor and alumnus of the program who raved about the amazing benefits and opportunities afforded to students in the program.
Looking back, eight semesters in, Farhiya has no regrets and recommends the Metropolitan College program to others.
“Working at UPS has helped me strengthen my interpersonal skills and develop other skills that I can utilize in my future career. I am better at multitasking, communicating my thoughts in a professional manner, and proper etiquette in the workplace. I was exposed to various people that have enabled me to broaden my perspectives which I consider character development.”
Right now, Farhyia is completing a 10-week internship with Amazon as an area manager intern working on a project that is geared to increasing revenue for the company while decreasing hazardous situations that puts associates at risk.
After the 10-week internship is over, Farhiya plans to study Arabic in Jordan for the academic year if Covid cases decrease within the next four weeks. “Studying abroad is an enriching experience and because of UPS this dream may actually become a reality,” said Farhiya.
Following graduation in Spring 2022, Farhiya intends to either teach English in Morocco with the Fulbright fellowship or pursue employment at Amazon as a full-time area manager.
Learn more about Farhiya Shaban in this Metropolitan College Spotlight Q&A Interview and Video
Video Produced By: Renecia Griffie Davis
Music in this video:
Song Artist: Scott Holmes Music
Song Title: Think BIG
What led you to choose your major?
I like to believe that I am curious by default. My curious nature can be accredited for my interest in Psychology. I have always enjoyed asking the “why” in a scenario “why do we do the things we do?” Psychology helped me answer these questions but there are still mysteries on the human behavior that intrigues me (I watch a lot of criminal minds). I also enjoy learning languages; I was raised in a household where three languages were being spoken simultaneously.
My decision to minoring in Arabic was just to pass the time and receive easy credits. But now I am dedicated to increasing my fluency in the language because I hope to work in the U.S government to provide aid to children in refugee camps. Arabic is one of the most spoken languages in refugee camps so learning it will be beneficial in the future. I decided to minor in Middle Eastern and Islamic studies so I can have a cultural awareness of the region. I intend to study abroad in the region for the upcoming academic year so I can reach my goal in obtaining a position to help children.
What has been your involvement with co-curricular activities, co-ops or internships, volunteer experience, community service, undergraduate research, etc.?
During my sophomore year at UofL, my amazing social psychology professor provided students with internships and volunteering opportunities. I then came across SPAVA (Society for the prevention of aggressiveness and violence among adolescents). I enjoyed being a SPAVA mentor because it essentially influenced my decision to continue working with children who are at risk. I would spend approximately 5 hours per week with students in the middle schools I was assigned to. I enjoyed being in a classroom where students were given a platform to speak, I learned so much for them that it was disheartening when it all came to an end.
What has been your biggest challenge as a MC participant and how did you overcome these challenges?
The biggest challenge for me starting off in the program was creating a balanced schedule. It was difficult getting eight hours of sleep while juggling 16 credit hours and being active on campus. I was able to overcome this by using a part of my weekend to relieve the workload. I would always do my assignments earlier, if possible, to help me keep up and have room to maneuver. I know it's unappealing, but I always start assignments before the semester officially starts. This works great because as the semester progresses assignments start getting harder, so knocking out the easy assignments before classes start will give you the chance to spend more time on assignments that will take longer otherwise. Another thing that helped me overcome these struggles was never shying away from emailing my professors with concerns and questions. This helps me understand the structure of the class so I can prioritize my assignments. Lastly, it was beneficial for me to always join a GroupMe with other students in the class. If someone hasn’t created one, then I will take the initiative to create one and email classmates the link.
What motivates and drives you to succeed while pursuing your educational goals?
One thing that motivates me to pursue a degree, outside of my parents pressuring me, is my desire to prove people wrong. The national college graduation rate for black students is low. My goal is to raise this by graduating and being an influence on my younger siblings to do so. I also want to give people hope that they don’t have to accept these statistics and should try defying them. I migrated to this country not knowing how to speak English, and now I have the opportunity to represent the country abroad as an honor student at the University of Louisville. Taking child development courses taught me how important representation is for children, so I want to be the representation that they need to break glass ceilings.
What person(s) has been the biggest influence in your life and why?
The most influential people in my life will undoubtedly be my parents. It would be impossible for me to be here if it wasn’t for their support and sacrifices. They were able to leave their home country to make sure that their children had the opportunity to do more. Through bad and good days, they stuck with me. As sentimental as this sounds, they did the impossible. I'm not just saying this because I was raised in a collectivist culture, but they are truly the most selfless people I have encountered. It is really hard for immigrant kids to accept their identity due to scrutiny from their peers. My parents made sure that when I wanted to fit in and be like “everyone else'' that I had the proper tools to do so. Starting a new life in a new country where this is the only place your children know cannot be easy. That’s why I want to work with refugee children so I can directly take the load of parents who are doing their absolute best to shield that life from their children.
What advice do you have for students interested in the MC program?
Take your time! Do not be afraid to put yourself out there. Introduce yourself to your professors, apply to be involved on campus, and most importantly utilize your co-workers. Also, UofL has tutors that you can contact, you are already paying for it through your tuition so get the best out of it. It’s fine that you do not know what you are doing, everyone is winging it through life. College is where you find yourself, so do not forget to enjoy the moment.
What is an interesting or fun fact about yourself?
I can speak four languages and multiple dialects in each of these languages. I was valedictorian of my high school. At age 15, I worked at Class Act Federal Credit Union as a student teller. I am amazing in the kitchen.
We are proud of our current students and alumni and their incredible accomplishments! The MC Spotlight is a way for us to highlight the amazing things our current students and alumni are doing. As you read their stories, you will learn how their Metropolitan College experiences helped to shape their futures and influence their careers.
We are always on the lookout for inspiring MC Spotlight stories. If you or someone you know is interested in sharing a story with us, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: At Metropolitan College, we consider our alumni anyone who has ever completed coursework and received tuition benefits with us.
Brooke’s advice to students interested in the Metropolitan College program, “Stick with it! It’s hard at first, but the rewards you get are more than worth it."
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