Eunniah Mbabazi is a telecommunications engineer at Italian Space Agency, Luigi Broglio Space Centre in Malindi. She is also a creative writer at mbabaziafrica.com and poet at rapando.co.ke.
What is your alma mater?
I was confused about the course that I wanted to pursue after I graduated high school. My first choice was medicine, but I did not merit for it. Engineering was my second choice and I opted for electrical engineering because I enjoyed the magic that lay behind physics. I had passed highly in sciences and thought it wise to try it. At that time, The Technical University of Mombasa (TUM) was the only school whose cut-off points matched my scores.
Which were your favourite and worst units and why?
Digital Electronics/Digital System Design was one of the units that I really looked forward to probably because I enjoy the manipulation of zeros and ones to design various system. Principles of Marketing was supposed to be easy, but it was not anything close to that for me. I attended only three classes, one of them being a CAT, and even missed a group presentation because I was away for a Robotics competition. The fact that it did not involve any form of mathematical calculation was also not appealing for me.
What are some of the misconceptions you have encountered about electrical engineering?
Lately, people have started embracing the fact that even women can enroll for it. Therefore, I think that has ceased to be a misconception. Many also assume that people who study it are untidy. On most occasions when I introduce myself as an engineer, I am met with “You do not look like one”.
Who was your favourite lecturer?
My favourite was Mr Charles Majani because he inspired confidence that he knew what he was doing. He also nurtured us more like his children than students. He knew each one of us by name and registration numbers. Every student deserves the grade he marked.
How did you manage your finances?
The only bills I had to manage was my meals the and occasionally rent. I received a monthly stipend so I paid my bills as fast as I could to avoid the temptation of debt. It was hard, but manageable. I also had great friends who chipped in whenever things were not good.
Where did you hangout?
My free time was spent on the beach.
Did you date in campus?
Yes, I dated in campus. While it was not the best experience, I picked valuable lessons from it. I am glad I did because one way or another, it opened my eyes in so many different ways and shaped who I am today. My view is that campus dating certainly boils down to what an individual wants from it. Are you in for the thrill or is it peer pressure? Do the two of you have the same purpose? If you are comfortable with answering these questions, and you still feel good about yourself, then go ahead and do it. If not, take your time, breath, move forward. Learn to love yourself enough to know when to stay and when to walk away. Love yourself enough to understand there still is much more to life than that relationship.
What were your best and worst moments?
Holidays with my friends, weekends at the beach and the fact that I never failed in any unit make for good memories. My worst moments would be the time I got sick and was in hospital for two weeks. It was one of the hardest times of my life. I could not do anything on my own, and it really weighed down on my family and friends. I also lost one of my classmates during our third year in campus, which was a sad affair.
Advice to college students
Live for the moment. Laugh when you can. Make friends that will last a lifetime. Live fully, so that one day when you look back, you will have nothing but a smile on your face.