Friday, May 6, 2016

Despite Everything

Hey my name is Anne and I am new to this blog!  I recently thought about all of the things I could say in my first blog post. But only one thing came to mind. 

"If I could do it, you could do it."

I have had this passion and burning desire in me for years to work on rockets.  I turned to my mom when I was 9 years old and said "Mommy, I wanna be an astronaut." 
She looked at me funny and said "That's nice Sweetie." We were at the Kennedy Space Center on National Girl Scouts Day. After getting home I went to my dad and said "Daddy I wanna be an astronaut." 
He didn't even look away from the TV and said "That's nice Sweetie, I'm in the middle of something." 
From that day forward I tried my hardest to do well in school and keep my grades up so that maybe someday I could fulfill my dream. 
Unfortunately every now and then I would have a rough time. 
You see my father was born in the 1950's, and sometimes his brain still lives in that era. 
So when I would have a rough time he would say "Well honey, boys are better at math and girls are better at reading.That's just the way things are, it's scientifically proven."

So he set fuel to my fire. 

I was up for a Navy ROTC scholarship in high school and I was incredibly close to signing up in the hopes I would land a Navy pilot spot. 

One step closer to the Astronaut gig. 

But I couldn't see myself in uniform, and made a vow. 
If I couldn't go up there myself I would be a part of sending others in my place.
I started applying for Engineering schools. Of course my father's response "Honey, let's be honest. You know you are not smart enough to be an engineer." 

More fuel. 

I finally started school and my first two years were awful. I failed test after test. And every time I failed, and called home just for some happiness I got the same words over and over again. 

"Sweetie, you know you can't do this. You are just not smart enough. You need to come home." 

For years I tried to beat the odds and the statistics my father had lovingly shoved down my throat. Unfortunately everyone has their rock bottom moment, but it just so happens I had years of it. 
My sophomore year of school, the year that makes or breaks you, family issues, money, life, and school blew up in my face. My father's words just kept singing in my head like a broken record. 

One night, when I was feeling down, I watched this video:

"Achieving your childhood Dreams." The last Lecture by Randy Pausch.

You just have to do it. 
You have to take the risk and keep going. 
If you hate what you're doing, and it's not what you wanted, life will be meaningless and filled with regrets. 
Sure there are so many challenges. 
Not to be cheeky but "If it were easy, everyone would be doing it."  
And who cares what he says. It's my dream and if it makes me happy then I'm going to keep chasing it. When you are gone from this world, how do you want to look back on your life? Are you gonna look back and regret not taking that risk? 
Or are you gonna look at your family and friends and smile knowing you did it?
I hit the ground running, got an internship, went thousands of miles away from home, and found my confidence in the middle of the desert (that's the location of my first job). 
I came back to school later that year to start my Junior Year and aced my classes. 
God what a feeling. 

Unfortunately people can be incredibly hurtful.  

Classmate: "Hey how'd you do on that test?"
Me: "Oh I got an A"
Classmate:  "Oh you only got that A because Professor so and so loves girls." 

Classmate #2: "Yeah you only got that job because the company desperately needs women."

Classmate #3: "Sometimes you're a little too ditsy to be an engineer." 

Coworker #1: "Is it your period this week?"

Coworker #2: "Do you want some ice cream? I heard when girls get upset ice cream makes them feel better."

Despite those obstacles I made it. I graduated with honors, pulled straight A's, had 6 internships in my career, and wound up being the speaker at my graduation, talking to my dad in the front row with love and compassion the whole time. 

Aerospace is a white male dominated field. 
Every job I have ever had, there have been men/women who look down on you in some capacity (usually the older generation), men/women who stare at you as if you were the circus in town, or worse look you up and down like meat
(yes women are just as guilty sometimes too).

Here's what I have to say: It happens. It's not going to change. 
But that doesn't mean you have to let it get to you or beat you. 
That doesn't mean you should give up on the one thing you've been burning to do. 
There will always be horrible people in this world, regardless of whether they are a man or a woman. 
But it should never stop you from chasing that star, or launching that rocket. 
Bite the bullet, pull up your bootstraps and KEEP GOING. 
The choice is yours. 

Free Awesome Inspirational Video: 


  1. The most gut wrenching thing I've heard in my career was you got this job because your a woman ... And for a moment I actually believed it. But then I remembered who I was and just turned around and said no it's because I'm a good engineer! It is hard though sometimes not to let the doubt creep in. Standard imposter syndrome

    1. Yes! I totally understand that feeling. But glad to hear you know how to combat that! :)


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