We need to own our Industry!

I was a curious person when I was younger. I always wanted to know how things worked or tried to figure out how to solve problems on my own. I did a lot of accounts and sciences in high school but accounts bored me. In my opinion, there was nothing complicated or intriguing enough about the subject.

Therefore, I knew that I didn’t want to study that for university.

I was looking for a challenge, something that would always keep me on my toes and after much research I chose Engineering. Then the question came, what are you going to do with Engineering? What is the purpose of studying Engineering? I wanted to improve people’s lives, the standards and conditions they were living in. Engineers are problem solvers, so what better way to do that then study the field.

I remember my very first lesson at varsity, the head of department was giving us a pep talk, and he boldly said ‘’if you guys want to graduate with a Mechanical Engineering degree you have to work hard, there is no two ways about it. No one is going to give it to you, you have to earn it,” and looking back I can truly say that was the secret. I knew my course was more demanding than hanging out with my friends, hence why I made peace with the fact that I couldn’t party or do fun stuff as often as others did. My life was centered around school. As much as I put in the much needed effort, a good support system at home helped me push through. I have a very supportive mother and stepfather who helped me through the highs and lows of college life.

My advice to the youth would be, first thing’s first; be prepared to work hard,

there is no easy method to it. Secondly,I truly feel that having a mentor is very important. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a mentor guiding me through the beginning of my career in this industry. A mentor to give me valuable knowledge of what exactly to expect in the real world. Therefore, I had to learn a lot of things on a first-hand experience. A mentor will help you identify or ascertain if you are in the right industry. He or she will also teach you the ropes of the industry and how to push through and propel forward. Thirdly, you need to understand and appreciate your purpose; why you wanted to study engineering because when you have bad days, that will drive you. Lastly, believe in yourself. Do not allow anyone to give you validation, if you want it pursue it.

Because the engineering industry is a male dominated field, we (women) have to work twice as much to prove ourselves.

We have to be firm and assertive so men can recognize our presence. Having said that, being a woman in this industry has its advantages. Women think differently to men, we do things differently and in my opinion we are more patient than men. Hence why we need to own this, and this will give us that competitive edge. I have never seen being a woman as a problem in my field, I see it as being a great asset.


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