FAD Stories: Habon

FAD Projects, FAD Stories, Leadership Academy

In the year prior to joining the FAD Leadership Academy, Habon had dropped out of university after the first term and was unemployed.  Here she writes about her experience, and how working with FAD has helped her to find direction.

“I came straight out of college which put a huge amount of stress on me, and then went back into another stressful situation, university. I felt like I was rushing into things without really thinking about what I wanted to do with my life. At the time my teacher at college tried to pressure me into going into Illustration, but I chose to do a Graphic Design degree as I felt it was broader and would give me a better chance of getting a job.

However after completing a foundation in Art and Design and one term at university, I realised that I wasn’t happy so decided to drop out. That’s the sort of spontaneous person I am. It was scary but I do not regret a thing as I have learnt so much about myself, and life in general, over the past two years.


Habon (second from left) with the FAD Leadership Academy

At first not being in education was great, I didn’t have a schedule, I didn’t have a bed time (which I rarely stuck to before anyway), but after a couple of months I realised that I had to get a job, so I went into care work for the elderly. I met so many people and I’m a great listener so they would tell me their stories and show me their family photo albums. For the first time I got to experience life outside the education system and what it was like to pay bills. I was also working with the Ideas Foundation, and every couple of months, I would do a creative brief at an agency which was fun.

Aged 21 and after going to a university advice event with FAD, I decided that I was ready to go back to university. I was wiser than before and I knew what I wanted to do. The personal statement part was the bit I was dreading, but it wasn’t until I started listing all the things that I had accomplished in my gap years, that I realised I had achieved a lot. I am now studying a BA in Advertising at London College of Communication.

Having the opportunity to work with FAD has not only helped me gain more experience in industry, but also in my personal growth. We’ve met speakers that have given us an insight into industry, as well as life coaches who have given us advice and helped us become more confident in our own skin. I believe that my work with FAD has helped me gain a place at one of the top art universities in London, and as a freelance photographer volunteering with FAD at London Fashion Week has been a great contribution to my portfolio.


Jackie & habon presenting their ideas for the #IWishIdKnownThat campaign


I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for FAD. I’ve had so much help there. They supported me through my uni application and have given me advice to cope with stressful situations. They have been a friendly face nudging me in the right direction. I like to think of the Leadership Academy as a family and I always feel welcome at FAD. I’ve met a group of young individuals like me who are passionate about change and it’s great. I’ve literally told everyone I know about FAD and what they do. Let’s just say it’s a great conversation starter.

They say your teens and early twenties are when you feel the most insecure about yourself, and I’ve definitely struggled with confidence. I’m still struggling, but it’s getting better as I am learning to love myself. The #IWishIdKnownThat campaign is definitely something that hits home. I would always read problem pages of teen magazines at the age of 13 to see if others felt the same way I did and it was a relief to see that girls my age had the same struggles as me. What’s so important about this campaign is that we are not behind an anonymous article, but humans in the flesh, and we are showing young girls the faces of people who have been there and come through it.

In the future I hope to be an Art director in an advertising agency, as well as to do something big with my photography. I’m also interested in writing reviews/articles for films, cosmetics and TV shows so I hope to start up my own blog. I recently wrote an article for a new fashion magazine on my wearing a hijab for the first time, and I had the chance to use my storytelling abilities and find my writing style which was really fun. 

If I could give the 16-year-old me some advice? I would tell her that things get better. Learn to accept the way you are because time flies and it’s a shame to miss what’s happening around you.”

Read more FAD Stories here. Are you a past FAD student with an inspiring story to share or do you have an idea for a blog post? Email us at info@fad.org.uk.




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