The biggest mistake anyone could ever make is to challenge a go-getter, to tell them they cannot - will have them spend as much time as is needed to prove just how well they can do it. Ever notice that when a student is about to fail a course, because they have been performing below the bar and pass mark, and they engage the lecturer to perhaps moderate their test papers and the lecturer responds with a simple – do not bother, you will fail anyway. That student goes into a state of survival to not only prove to this said lecturer that their potential is not to be undermined, but to themselves that they will not fail. In most cases, had the lecturer sympathized, the student would not have gone into survival mode. However, the basic human instinct is that of survival.
I am a graduate civil engineer, who doubles as a radio personality. I am an uncommon narrative and combination of career paths. I have for years explained that this is because my personality is diverse and caters to both career paths, but that is far from the truth. The truth is that I had a point to prove, to the world and to myself. The disadvantage to this is that I only later realized that this is sometimes the reality of many. Choosing career paths for the sake of wanting to prove that they are capable. I had a conversation in the beginning of my matriculation year, which is Grade 12, and a man that I told I want to be an engineer after he asked what is my career aspiration, looked at me and laughed. Now, to someone listening in on the conversation, they would have said to dismiss the enemy of progress and move on. However, it stayed with me. It haunted me, because the words that followed after he laughed were, “but you are too girly, what is a girl like you going to be doing in engineering?” As a result, I went into survival mode, I was adamant to prove a point, that I could be whatever I pleased. Be it a hairdresser, lawyer or engineer.
That marked the beginning of my engineering journey. The fact that someone thought I could not do it became my medicine, my drive and my obsession. For every time varsity became challenging, I held onto the disbelief that man had in me and it became the boost I needed to persevere. Now, one would think that being a registered engineering student would put the narrative that I am too girly for the course to rest, however it worsened. The same narrative followed me around as it was said by my lecturers, my supervisors and potential employers. As though engineering had a face, and I went against the status quo. The more society tried to embed into me that I simply couldn’t be a female engineer that liked the better things in life and dressed different, the more I was inspired to prove the narrative wrong.
It could have gone one of two ways, I could have opted to let it go and do what was expected of someone who loved to wear high heels and liked my hair straight down my back, or push past the status quo and do what I am passionate about. To which I choose the latter. The one thing that made me falter sometimes is that I have a real love for public speaking. This I carried out by working for radio energy, a local radio station as a radio personality. I was able to join my two passions and they worked out well.
Engineering Mavis is a Mono Me blog that will speak on my life journey and the journey I continue to take. Journeying into the real me without the judgment, whilst engineering the areas I would like to be tailored by me. Sharing experiences and thoughts, not as a philosopher but rather a relational Namibian girl. Who is simply trying to get by the challenges of life.
We have all been told we are not good enough, we have all been challenged to step into our real potential. You either succumb to the pressure and quit, or you opt to persevere and win!’’
With a Tad Bit of Crazy
With Love Mavis
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