Showing posts with label Massey University. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Massey University. Show all posts

Monday, September 30, 2013

The Sweetest Revenge

School for me as a youngster was my second home.  I loved it! I had great friends (who I'm still friends with to this day, regardless of where they are running off to, living their adult lives).  School was not only my playground, it was where my thoughts were nurtured and where ideas came to life.  It was my childhood haven..I looked forward to school everyday (mostly) from primary school right up to high school.  

My eagerness for school started to wane when I was in University.  The decline of interest did not occur due to studies, no it had nothing to do with that.  I still enjoyed my studies.  Being one of five females at flight school for that intake, we had to work twice as hard as the boys.  We had to study hard and had minimum time for socialising.  When you fly planes and take seven to eight papers a semester (the normal students take 4 papers) with two weeks of flying every month depending on the weather, there is little room for socializing. That Avgas owns you once you take a sniff!

 Massey University provided great support for Pacific Island students.  There was a Pasifika space for students and Learning Advisers to ensure that  students had the support to realise their  academic aspirations.This was one of the spaces where I met great people, who inspired me to do well but also there were students who were just the opposite, including one Learning Consultant. They did not like people who were different from them, who did not go with the flow, who did not want to 'hang out' and socialise with them.  They enjoyed gossip, backstabbing, making up false stories about other students, recruiting other people to side with them in their ways.  If you were not part of their 'in group', you were crucified socially.  I remember one bright girl who I met for the first time on my way to the library, she said to me 
 ' So, you are Enid, the half caste. I've heard a lot of things about you, they say you don't want to be in the same group as us because you are half caste, your family is well off and will not socialise with full blooded Samoans, you are famous'.  

At first, I smiled but inside I was seething. It is true that I have a Swedish last name but I've never seen myself as  half caste.  I have many full-blooded Samoan friends among other nationalities.  In Samoa, I was never bullied or the subject of such mindless gossip.  I also knew the group of girls who were spreading these rumors.  Sadly, some of the girls who did this were some of the same girls from Samoa who went over to New Zealand on scholarships. I thought 'What did I ever do to these girls to make them so nasty? They must have a lot of time on their hands to enjoy passing false stories around about other people? Just because I'm half caste, doesn't mean I will overlook my own people.  I don't have time to socialise, I have too much to do".

This was not the only encounter which surprised me.  I met many more Pacific students who told me the same thing and after I became friends with them, they confirmed that I'm not this snobbish half-caste these people made me out to be. I tried my best to ignore the gossip and stuck to my studies as well as making many friends along the way.  During my second year at univeristy,  I became the Pasifika fellowship president, I also was a member of the Student Council.  I held many leadership roles and took part in many projects.  I hardly saw the gossip group around.  Last I heard, one of them became pregnant and did not finish school while the other moved back home. While I do not enjoy hearing the demise or downfall of others, it does remind us to better ourselves. My first year might have been unpleasant especially since I did not have family nearby but I was never alone.  Thankfully, I had a group of great Godly women who helped me.  I have one lady in particular who helped me see the better side of life and reinstated my eagerness in school again.  Janeen Mills was my biggest supporter, she helped me overcome many obstacles that I faced with similar people throughout my university days.

I graduated and have gone on to do many great things in my life.  I've held many leadership roles and still enjoy studying.  I have a friend who's motto is 'The sweetest revenge is success'.  When I think about it, this is very true.  Being successful and reaching your goals regardless of what people say or do to you is indeed the sweetest revenge.

Today, I look back and I'm glad for that experience.  It taught me that no matter where I am in the world, there will always be people who will personally attack you without reason.  In addition, there are far more people who are willing to help you if you let them. As a Samoan growing up in Samoa, I know that we are our biggest enemy. Some Samoans (if not most) do not like other people to better them, sadly some people who have nothing better to do will spend their time tearing others down.  The same goes for all other ethnic groups, this is common in this day and age.

I do hope you read this and have more courage to succeed rather than giving up or giving in to people who do not care for the well-being of others.  You are never alone.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Cock-pit to fe-pit

With the speed of technology these days and the vast information that is out there, I wonder at times how many people stumble upon articles about us (about me). What is the image that is being portrayed about us online? How do we deal with that perception of us whether we are painted in a positive or negative way? How often do we want to reinvent ourselves due to those reviews? How true are these painted words about us?

Being one of the few females working in the aviation world of Samoa (however small that is) I am continuously reminded of those women who went before me.  The few females who paved the world that was and is still very much predominantly male.  There is a reason why the flight deck area is called a 'cockpit' after all.  These are some of the women that overcame numerous challenges so that people like me can enjoy the benefits of aviation.

Of course the men cannot be downgraded, they are a part of the aviation world but nowhere near challenged bombarded like us.  I remember when I first applied to be a pilot at the Massey University Aviation School.  One of my teachers in high school strongly discouraged me from applying simply because I 'will not get in'.   I wondered if it was due to me being a Pacific Islander or that my Math skills weren't as shiny (I gave up on Math a long time ago), maybe both.  

"NO' and "YOU CANNOT" are two phrases that simply leads to more determination on my part.  I come from a place where women do not sit idly while life goes by, where tama'ita'i do not let the men do all the talking while they take the back seat, where women do not shy away from the hard and rugged road.  I come from a place where women are warrior queens, where women take courage in the face of animosity and take a challenge when their souls say so.  In the words of a true warrior queen -Vaimasenu’u Zita Martel “E au le ina’ilau o Tina ma tama’itai.” translated to English “The legacy of women is one of total achievement.”

I ignored what my highschool Dean of Students told me, I went ahead and applied and was one of the five girls in the whole course.  It was no easy feat, we had to work twice as hard as the men.  You don't have to be an Einstein to fly a plane but it is not easy feat either.  In the end, the women graduated and to this day, I know that four of us are still in the aviation industry.  
You might ask, ok so what does the first part of this article have to do with the mini testimony in the second part? There may be a substantial amount of information about us on the internet these days, our facebook pages might be splashed with glamorous shots (or not) and our Linkedin profiles might speak of great achievements (or not).  These bleeps of our stories do not give a full picture of our journeys, they do not define or validate us, they are just that---bleeps.  So next time you ask someone what they do make sure you ask them the following
  • what their story is
  • what their journey is like
  • the challenges they faced along the way
  • if that experience has added value to their lives
I'd like to add a link of the small bleep that is my aerosexual or my aviation aficionado side (acidionado defined) journey through the aviation folds.

Me flying a B787 Dreamliner  simulator @ the Boeing HQ in Singapore before the actual plane entered the market

 If you are a young woman (which I once was and still am at times) and if you want to take up aviation, do not let a person or fear hold you back.  If you want to be a pilot, go for it.  If you want to be an airline manager, go for it. If you want to be an air traffic controller, flight inspector, aviation specialist, ground handler, baggage handler, aviation consultant ....there are endless possibilities.  Life is what you make of it.  Take that step and never look back :)

If you are interested in aviation and have some questions, feel free to leave a comment and I shall try my best to answer.


aerosexual defined by the Urban dictionary - 
  1. someone who loves planes and generally flies them.  Also know as a pilot. Usually face large dilemmas such as choosing between the curveness of a Cirrus SR22, verse the tenderness of handling a piper
  2. the industry term for aviation aficionados (I like this one)

Ehhh..your grandmother was hot too!

My vision fulfilled When Dr A (fiancee) proposed 2 new years ago, I suggested a photo shoot of some sort. Of course being shy with ...