Growing up I wanted to be many things; I always told my parents my occupation would be this or that and I am sure they probably gave up on listening to my different versions. I knew for sure though that I wanted to be someone in the lines of a respectful, happy human being helping others and contributing to their happiness.
Along the journey, I wanted to be a pediatrician, a pilot maybe – but more of the first option because at the back of my mind, I wanted kids someday and I knew I had to be the one to take care of them. Girl was ambitious!
Boarding school across my house street did not really change me because I still felt comfortable. Then high school was four hours drive away, and I think I changed during this phase. I met amazing women from all over Kenya aspiring to do different things for a living. Some wanted to be doctors, nurses, engineers and the list was endless. I loved CRE , I could make a good nun or so I thought .
I did not do so well in Math, nor did I pursue a passion for it; I used to terribly fail. I am naturally competitive though, so I had to do something. I got better and when it was almost national exams time, I had to choose an occupation so I could select a University or my top 3 Universities of choice. At this point, I realized that I wanted to be an engineer – fix stuff basically. “I’m pretty good at it” – I justified.
I had options. I made a wish list and did my best with the selection. All roads would lead to Dedan Kimathi University of Technology (DeKUT) on September 9th, 2012 to pursue my engineering course of choice but right before that, my dad thought I’d make a good accountant and there I was in Strathmore University for 7 months pursuing an ACCA certification before receiving an acceptance letter from DeKUT.
Take me back to when I wanted to do Marine Engineering in JKUAT so I could spend half of my day at work aboard ship and water bodies then news came in that the course is no longer offered. Was I heartbroken? Yes. Did I give up? No!
I moved on to Mechatronic Engineering.
The course was tough mentally, physically and emotionally and yes I failed some units too but there is more to life than just passing. I engaged myself in all the co – curricular activities I deemed fit. I traveled the country and beyond, started up International Exchange Programs and coordinated a few other successful events in my college years, not forgetting a little partying here and there. After completing my course, I practiced engineering in Kenya and the USA for 4 years. The experience was rewarding, unveiling every version of myself. I later joined the US Navy and guess what? I am now a sailor and a baby doc (Hospital corpsman). My expertise in patient care extends from 9days old babies to 88 year old adults. I am yet to go on a ship but it’s coming .
They define a career as an occupation, a job, a dream come true. Reality (my reality, if you like) is that a career is what you want to be at the moment. It can last a month or 10 years if it makes you happy and pays your bills. Building a career is a progressive journey. I look at it as taking steps to be someone who goes home with a grateful heart.
I have become everything I wanted to be except for a pilot (working on it). I have embraced the changes and the sometimes uncomfortable growth that comes with success. Have I made it yet? Some would say yes but I am not there yet because I want to live many lives; one moment at a time. I want to tell stories of the days of my life in different chapters.
I hope this story redefines career and success. I hope you gain your own perspective of who you want to be, own your journey and make it happen.
By Anastasia Wangui Kinyua
DeKUT Alumna and a Hospital Corpsman, US Navy.