In today’s society, people are told they can be who they want to be, but is this true? Growing up, like every little girl I wanted to be a princess, then a doctor or vet; but when it came time to decide what I wanted to do with my life I didn’t know. So, I thought about what I enjoyed doing. When I thought about it, I realised that I wasn’t the typical “girly girl”, I like building things, looking at cars and fixing them, going to lorry shows and car shows. This led me to think, why not become a builder but this was not normal for a girl to do so I was told to pick a more practical career goal. This was probably the right decision to make and stick to a career I could fit into, but I decide not to just fit in.
When choosing my GCSE subjects, I chose to go with technology and design and then again at A-Level I chose construction and ICT. These decisions were questioned by both my family and by my teachers as I was the only female in these classes. I worked hard to prove them wrong, that girls were able to fit into the construction world. After the 4 years of building, designing, creating and even learning the laws around building and development I came top in my class with an A* and two marks off getting 100%. I was the first student at my school to every receive this grade. At the age of 18 receiving this grade I was smug and proud to be proving everyone wrong.
Following into my university stage, I applied for Engineering Management. I studied this for a year only to realise that it would result in staying in an office working through paperwork and not becoming a practical job. It was also extremely difficult, and I didn’t know if I was going to be able to be who I wanted to be. I gave up. I questioned whether the stereotype was right and only men belonged in this world. I wasn’t ready to give on a career though. So, before finishing with the engineering course I thought about what else I was interested in.
I found myself always interested in how social media influencers promoted products through their Instagram. They would be sent products to wear and use and then have to post pictures or create short videos in their stories and review the products. This grabbed my attention even more as it grew more popular. This is when I decided to apply for the Communication Management and Public Relations (CMPR) course.
Throughout this course i have learned a lot about how the marketing world works. I have also learned a lot about how this world works and how society is changing. Women are more expected now to do things out of the ordinary. There was a time when even advertising showed that women couldn’t buy a snickers bar through their television adverts. Women are now taking on more “masculin” roles in society. They have now abandoned the stereotype and strived to do what they want. More women are becoming CEO’s of companies, building their own companies, becoming lorries drivers and other male dominated job roles. This has taught me to do what makes me happy and leave the stereotype behind.
Although, this also applies to men. Men can be nurses, hairdressers and stay-at-home dads. These aren’t simply female job roles anymore. We are turning our back on a stereotypical job role and not turning away the opposite sex simply for not being the “correct gender” for the role that they have applied for.
This has encouraged me to continue with pursuing what I want to do with my career. The drive and mindset that other women have has encourage me to be who I want to be and not conform to what certain parts of society think a woman should be doing. Once I finish my degree in CMPR, I have decided to complete and mechanicing course and possibly obtain my HGV license. This is something I’ve always wanted to do, and I will continue on to do so. We are all equal, which means we can all do equal jobs.
We must continue to be true to ourselves and defy the stereotype. That is why I would encourage everyone to be who they want to be and not listen to the judgement that we go through when we are striving to become who we want to be.
Hollie Walls is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/hollie-walls-565716198/ and Instagram – @holliewallss