I can’t believe that in a week, I will be somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, on my way to the USA for the first time! My US visa arrived yesterday, thank god! The interview process was actually really quick and simple, not at all like the application process which was a nightmare!
I have one exam on Tuesday and my MTN Science Ceter water-display project report to finish, and I’m free as a bird! MB came over yesterday to work on the project and we got out value-streams and fishbone diagrams done. We pulled out some old A2 sized prints that my art-student sister wasn’t using and used them to make charts with colourful sticky-notes! It was actually a really great way to get a grip on all the complicated aspects of the project inputs and outputs! I just remember thinking, Prince Charming is going to be soo proud of me! (He’s a lean/6sigma green belt btw!) And he was!!!
I’ve finished the drawings for one of the designs for the display I’m working on. I’ts s boat race where kids can stand on either side of a trough and turn a water wheel to make their boat go faster. I had to get some of the parts cut out of PVC pipe that I found at the hardware store and I found some more in the workshop. The method for getting the workshop-guys to do your work for you is this:
- Put on something a little tight (not short becaus you wont be allowed into the workshop, safety first girls and boys!)
- Make sure you wear plenty of make-up, especially mascara and lipgloss
- Speak to whoever is in charge and act like you really are relying on him to do this or you fail (damsel in distress always works)
- Hand in your drawings
- This is an important step: Get out of the way! You cant turn around after acting like you really need these men and let them know that you actually do know how to use a lathe and the other machines needed. The drawings you’ve handed in should be well-dimensioned with clear tolerances already (knowing how neurotic you are). So don’t be a control freak and leave you fate in the very capable hands of the workshop guys
So there you have it. Now if you know me, you know that I’m a closet feminist and hate admitting that men can do anything I cant! But in this industry, women who plan to break in need to understand the delicate dynamics of the creatures who have run the show for centuries: men, or more importantly, their egos! Its their world after all, (for now), so you’ve gotta know how to use your feminine intuition and you’ll always come out on top! (excuse the pun 😉
When I first started studying Mechanical Engineering years ago. I learned very quickly that in a class full of guys,if you as a woman try to show that you don’t have a brick in your brain and that you actually (are often the only one) who knows whats going on, you may find yourself being sidelined and even ostracized by those who feel threatened by your presence! So yes, there were times where I’ve had to try and curb my showing off a little and just be quiet while two arrogant guys battled it out over the (wrong) answer. On the other hand, when test/ assignment marks came back, congratulations and surprise from the same arrogant guys was an experience I never got tired of.
So to every fresh young woman who feels out-of-place, inferior or even ostracized in a sea of mechanical engineering guys, my advice to you: don’t bother about the apes, put you head down and work. Don’t do it to prove yourself to them or to make a statement or ‘win’. Do it because you are in that class for one reason: to get a degree that will open doors and ensure that you will never need to rely on anyone else for support! (Note, I said you’ll never ‘need’ anyone, don’t go burning any bra’s or anything just yet!)
O no, I’ve digressed from the point of this post,. my project, but that ok, I’ll put up all the pics anyway! Enjoy the weekend!