Iowa State student finds her stride in helping others


Chris Jorgensen/Iowa State Daily

Sabah Ali, junior in apparel, merchandising and design, is the author of the Amazon best-selling book “Enrolling in Confidence: How to Live the Lifestyle You Want in College.” 

Kai Creswell

Sabah Ali, author of Amazon best-seller “Enrolling in Confidence: How to Live the Lifestyle You Want in College” and junior in apparel, merchandising and business management, has learned there is more to college than just going to class.

For Ali, coming to college was an opportunity for a new start. She had lost her mother in high school and was in a relationship that didn’t allow her to feel good about herself.

“When I came to college, meeting people who have such a positive attitude and being around them made me realize, wow, this is something that I really like doing [helping others],’” Ali said. 

She never thought she would have written her own book and started her own podcast before graduation.

Last fall, Ali attend an extra credit lecture during Business Week. She listened to Brandon Adams, serial entrepreneur and Iowa State alumnus, talk about the Young Entrepreneur Convention (YEC) and its need for interns.

She hated speakers, but the passion Adams had in his voice and her interest in entrepreneurship was the push she needed. She reached out to him and became an intern at last year’s event.

As an intern, Ali had to overcome her fear of public speaking. She spoke in front of classes and lecture halls, and then was one of the two people who introduced Adams to a crowd of 500 people at last year’s YEC.

Through Adams’ mastermind group — a group that develops one another’s personal skills and helps members achieve success — Ali met Laura Petersen, author of Amazon best-seller “Copywriting for Podcasters: How to Grow Your Podcast, Brand, and Business with Compelling Copy.”

Ali hadn’t sold anything on Amazon before and wasn’t a writer, so she asked for Petersen’s help. They talked on Skype once a week, and guided Ali through the process of self-publishing a book.

She set a goal of writing it in 30 days, and chose the month of March, dedicating her spring break to complete her book. 

The digital copy is now a best-seller on Amazon in two categories: Careers and School, and Education. Last Wednesday, Ali got her hands on the proof physical copy.

“The main reason I wrote this book is because I want other students to know that they can do so much more in college rather than just going to classes and working a part-time job,” Ali said.

Ali said she tried to make the book personal by writing about her current experiences and revealing things about herself that she rarely tells anyone.

She provides principles that she lives by and intentionally gives broad advice so a student in any field can be impacted.

Paul Kirkpatrick, senior in biological and premedical illustration, met Ali through the hip-hop club “DubH.” Like Ali, he didn’t know what direction he wanted to go coming into college and felt like there was just something missing.

Kirkpatrick realized at the beginning of the year that he needed to put himself out there and make a name for himself.

He said surrounding himself with people like Ali has helped his confidence and has made him more social.

“In the time that I’ve known [Ali], she’s definitely pushed me to do better in college,” he said. “Making sure by the time I graduate I’m doing something I want to do.

“I don’t want to be just another college student that graduates with a degree,” Kirkpatrick said.