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My road to engineering by Shanice Narian

iSaturday, Sep 14th, 2013 comments by jamielee

Shanice Narian is a lovely young lady from Dannhauser with a persevering spirit; an important quality in the field of engineering. She is very passionate about joining the SAWomEng mentorship team and her honest story below explains it all…

My road to engineering

As a child, I always told my parents that I want to be a veterinary surgeon since I have a love for animals. However, that changed as I grew up to become a so called 'softie.' I could no longer stand to see the animals in pain and that's when my career path changed. Throughout my schooling career, I was an A student. That gave me the confidence to choose engineering as a career and a platform to building my future. In matric, I did not obtain the marks I would have wanted but I was blessed but I knew I had to make my life goal come true.

By God's grace, I received a bursary and I was accepted into the University Of Pretoria (UP) in the year 2010 to study engineering. However, it was a bridging course because of my matric marks. As the year progressed, I passed all my subjects but life came crushing down on me when my bursary was not renewed because of not achieving an aggregate pass of 80%. I had to leave UP and head back home because my parents could not afford my tuition fees. I was devastated.

The following year, I took time out to reflect and gather myself up again. I was advised to change my career and was told that engineering was not for me. I did not want to quit engineering because I knew I still had it in me, but I also felt like a failure. Going from an A student in high school to just a 50 % + pass at university certainly made me just want to quit. At the end of 2011, I decided on a career change to my second choice of forensics. I applied and got accepted into the University of Johannesburg in 2012, but little did I know that my life was about to throw me with a little twist of faith. 

I was awarded with a merit bursary to study electrical engineering by another company. Once again by God's grace I was allowed to change faculties despite my matric marks and my academic performance at UP. The first semester was a success as I passed all my courses, but I encountered struggles and personal problems during the second semester. The fact that I was alone and far away from home was also a negative. I failed and could not continue. My life came crashing down on me for the second time and being an impatient person, I kept pulling myself down by thinking I was a failure. I felt I would never succeed and that I was wasting time because I was not getting any younger. For four months I was in a depression state, I didn't leave my room or spend time with my pets. I literally felt this was the end and I could not handle this failure. My mindset was that I had let myself, my family and everyone down because I was expected to become something in life. I was upset with myself for not living up to those expectations, especially since everyone knew me to be the 'geek and A student.' Little did they know I was failing in the real world.

I gathered myself up once again after four months. I accepted the fact that three years of my life had already passed and that perhaps I was not meant to be at a university. I always believed that if I went to study at an FET college, I would be less of an A student. I would not have that “status” anymore and people would look down upon me. That was my biggest downfall. I was living up to everyone else's expectations and I was lying to myself that I could only do it through a university. Had I gotten 80%+ in 2010, I would currently be in my final year of university.

Despite all this, my “never quit” attitude kept coming back. I applied at a college in Newcastle, where I am passing and I am so happy now. I'm currently awaiting my N4 results for electrical engineering! I am loving it for the first time ever and I feel like this is it now. I know engineering is definitely for me. I can do this :) College level is what I needed and I have no regrets whatsoever. I have applied for a learnership and I am awaiting a company response. It is stressing me out *sigh* but it is all worth it! My new mindset is that nothing will stop me from earning the title:


It will give me no greater joy and happiness. In fact, it is my purpose :) I plan on obtaining my degree through UNISA and not worry about what people have to say, especially the ones who said I can never make it. I know I will be a successful engineer whether I spend all my life getting there or not. My new goal is to become a recognized INDIAN FEMALE ELECTRICAL ENGINEER IN SOUTH AFRICA because to my surprise, when I searched that topic on Google, not one story came up. I was rather let down by that, so I want to be the first and hopefully one day some young lady just like me would do a Google search on that topic and my name would come up to inspire them. 

I do apologize for my long story, but I really want to share my story and be a motivation to others and help them overcome failure if they ever encounter trouble towards engineering studies. I have picked myself up and never quit on my goal of becoming an engineer. I want to help those who feel like they want to quit, especially females because from personal experience we are always underestimated :)

By Shanice Narian

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