One Lesson the pandemic has driven home with a heavy blow is that nothing is ever certain. The virus has brought about grave economic and societal consequences. COVID-19 has not only cause but also exposed many inequalities of life including issues in healthcare, housing, food insecurity and most importantly education system. Where I come from, we were used to surviving from hand to mouth Pre-COVID. With the pandemic, it has gotten worse considering our ‘vibaruaz’ and ‘mjengo’ gigs are no more. Even those with formal jobs have been laid off and others have been forced to go on ‘Unpaid Leave’. As a young creative still in school, I keep wondering, whether the major I am taking in college will sustain my carrer in case of another pandemic.
Growing up we were so sure of what we wanted to pursue and become but as we grew-up life seemed not to turn out as quite as we had planned. We are in a phase where we are faced with limited choices. Some end up taking certain majors because their parents asked them to or because they seem lucrative. Halfway through college we realize we have no passion for that a career path and decide to change our major. Unfortunately for people like me, we only have one shot at college.
When the chance to get in any tertiary institutions emerges, we hold it dearly like our lives depended on it because it does! Hailing from a humble background, choosing the right major is an extreme sport. Will the career pay my bills? Will it take me out of where I am currently? Will my folks be happy? We tend to forget that our careers have not been chiseled on stone. While emerging technologies in the world have presented us with many different opportunities the process is still tedious. At 24 years now, I have changed my major 3 times before settling on the one I am currently pursuing. Is there really settling career wise?
Through the years, I have learnt that choosing a major should not only be personal but requires a holistic view. It should not be influenced by popular courses like medicine and engineering or by our friends or community. We matriculate colleges and universities at a tender age but that should not be our parent’s card to use when it comes to what we want to do. One’s major should not reflect the voices of our village people who probably did a “harambee” for them to join school or that of the priest/imam who most of the time have a say in our lives as the children of the community. I wish that someone told me at a very early stage that it is okay to choose yourself over what everyone else would think. That girls belong in the tech world too, maybe I would have found my niche long ago. That sometimes, the road less travelled is best. As a senior in collage, I sometimes second guess myself. I am faced with questions such as, ‘What if I making a huge mistake, what really is best fit for me?’ I am lucky that my school provides career counselling for this because it has helped me make a decision on what to settle for. But are we always certain? I pray that as we write our stories, we will confidently say that we chose the major that was right for us and will weather any storm. Always have faith and be very good at what you go and the world will have a hard time to say no to you.
By Aisha Ahmed (A NairoBit’s Media Lab 2020 Student