Hi everyone, I hope you are enjoying the series so far. Today I have the pleasure Alvine Pete Mfuapon. Such a vivacious young lady with lots of potentials. I met Alvine last year in Dallas, Texas at the Women Ambassadors Forum (WAF) and she was literally the ‘life of the party’. Hope you enjoy her story.
What is your name and what university did you attend?
I am Alvine Pete, I studied at Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa.
What year did you graduate and what course did you offer?
I graduated in April 2015 a Bachelor degree in Mechanical Engineering.
Briefly describe how your university life; any extracurricular activities you were involved, scholarships, awards/ honors etc.
My life at university was a different one, I worked outside campus, I was not really involved in any of the activities going on at the campus. I came when I had class and left as soon as I could. The few times that squat at my friend’s room we basically just studied the entire night. I only heard from others that there was a party, or they are elections coming up…
Based on your experience in university, do you regret going to university or did you regret at a point? If so why?
I was raised in a system that believes in education. Many of my family members never got someone to pay for them to have access to higher education. I was privileged to go to university in another country. I never regretted. I was tuned to appreciate the opportunity. I had a personal commitment plus the needs of the family back home pressurizing me to succeed.
Upon graduation, did you have any plans as to what your next move was? Could you please share?
I was one of the most fortunate students, I studied for two years full time and my third year was an internship. After my internship, I was offered a small job in the company. I completed the fourth year in part-time and worked full time till this day.
Based on the answer from the question above, did these plans materialize in the short term or even long term? If it did what was the process like? If not, what happened? Did you have any backup plans?
I basically had a job before graduating.
In the case where you faced rejections especially in applying for jobs etc, what effect did it have on your person? Care to share any experiences if you had one?
Before getting the job where I am currently working, I applied to various companies for an internship. The year was going and was still at home not getting any job. One of the government company came to the university and requested to interview the top seven ladies from my cohort. I was selected and called for my first interview. I spent nights preparing for this as if I was writing a final exam. I attended the interview, it was a panel of four managers (HR and Engineers). I was just telling the truth and I was very enthusiastic about working in engineering especially for the government of South Africa. It meant a lot to me. I was told the results will take four weeks since it’s a government job. A month later I met a friend who attended the same interview and she said she had started working. All this time I didn’t stop looking but I was 90% sure I got this job (they needed four out of the seven). I was just going for interviews just for the record (lol). In this time I went for the interview at the company where I am now but I wasn’t really interested. Later that day after meeting my classmate, I went to the coordinator. She vaguely told me they recruited some time ago and they did not want foreigners. I was broken, I felt stupid, small, needy, not good enough. I went home in tears. That same afternoon I got a call telling me that I could come start work the next morning. (the job I initially interviewed for).
If you were to be that 18/19 year old going back to university, knowing what you know now (irrespective of how many years after university) what advice will you give yourself? Any pieces of advice to others?
I will live on campus, this will reduce the traveling time to campus and from campus. I will get a job on campus this is generally school related, it keeps your brain busy with stuff that you need to remember. Outside jobs just clutter your memory with unnecessary stuff. I will get involved in other activities like (health club, student’s representation organizations, and Science club). All these shape you. It exposes you to some realities and teaches you skills that you don’t learn in a class. It builds leadership and creates a network of future leaders.
I will stay out of love stories, it drains you, hurts you and wastes your precious study time.
With the current state of the job market, do you think in like 10 years’ time, universities will still have value? Especially with the rate at which many graduates end up being unemployed or young people prefer to start their businesses or train in apprenticeships?
The job market is poor due to the courses people are enrolling for. Students don’t want challenges anymore, there is no orientation after high school. Most learners chose what their friends chose. There is a need for orientation between high school and varsity. University doesn’t teach you a job, it gives you skills to be able to think, learn fast and work efficiently. Your personal goals are what motivates you to be self-employed or to have a boss. Teaching learners is basically a part of the work that universities do. There are a lot more. Universities conduct many research and development in various fields.
What do you do now in terms of work or any other thing you are involved, care to share your social media handles so people could connect with you?
I am a Project engineer in a pharmaceutical plant. Mostly involved with youth development and children school performance projects where with a group we tutor and encourage girls in to choose sciences. You can connect with me on LinkedIn.
Hope you enjoyed Alvine’s story…What did you learn from it? Stay tuned for another feature on Monday! Have a lovely weekend!