One small decision can change the trajectory of your life completely. When alumna Faryal Atif moved to Louisiana with her family seven years ago, she never imagined that her journey at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette would end with a royal reign.
Atif was recently crowned the 2023 UL Lafayette Homecoming Queen. She is a non-traditional international student graduating in December with her master’s degree in English. Atif was highly involved on campus and in the community throughout her time at the University as an undergraduate and graduate student. This involvement mixed with her leadership qualities made her the perfect choice as this year’s queen. “Getting to represent so many diverse groups during Homecoming was a very meaningful experience and one that I’ll never forget,” Atif said.
She’s learned several lessons along the way throughout her time as a Ragin’ Cajun — including that not all paths to success are linear. Atif is originally from Pakistan and received her first undergraduate degree in her home country. When she arrived at UL Lafayette, she immediately planned to pursue her master’s degree. However, due to issues with transferring credits, she was told that she would need to complete her undergraduate degree again before her graduate school dreams could become a reality.
“Sometimes things happen for a reason. They change you as a person and your perspective on life. The relationships that I built and the experiences that I had wouldn’t have been possible if I had just gone straight to graduate school. My life became so much more enriched from my undergraduate journey at UL Lafayette,” Atif said.
What made her collegiate journey even more special was that she got to experience it with her son right by her side. “There aren’t many times when you have the opportunity to go back to school with your son,” Atif said. Jasim, her oldest son, is also a current student at UL Lafayette. They’ve been able to make so many memories together on campus, including when Atif was crowned queen during the Homecoming festivities. “When they announced that I was the queen, he was so proud and happy for me. It was a memory of a lifetime for us,” she said.
As Atif prepares to become a two-time graduate from UL Lafayette, she’s had time to reflect on her wonderful ride as a Ragin’ Cajun. “The University has given me so much — great memories, relationships and even scholarships. Now, it’s time for me to give back to my alma mater,” she said. Atif plans to stay involved through the Alumni Association and share her love for the University with the next generations of Ragin’ Cajuns. No matter where the next chapter of her life takes her, she knows that she’ll always have a home at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
Main Photo Caption: Soon-to-be two-time graduate, Faryal Atif celebrates after riding in the Homecoming Parade. (Submitted) Story Photo Captions-Left: Atif is crowned by Dr. Savoie during halftime at the Homecoming game. (Submitted) Right: Senior photo of Atif after earning her bachelor's degree from UL Lafayette. (Submitted)