We all want a happy and fulfilling life. But the question is how do we find it? That joyful state of ikigai, or the intersection of doing what you love, what you’re good at, what you can be paid for, and what the world needs.
As a girl, there’s the added pressure of people telling you what you can and cannot be. If you’re dealing with self-doubt, you’ll need an assuring voice to remind you that you will find your way—in this case, through the stories of successful women who have gone through the same struggles you’re facing. On this note, we welcome National Women’s Month with heartfelt “slam book” conversations with our #FutureOfYoungPinays ambassadors.
Here’s hoping you find the inspiration and advice you need to succeed in your own path.
In this slam book Q&A, WiTech founder Audrey Pe talks about combining her interests for the sciences and humanities, balancing school and advocacies, and promoting women in technology.
Favorite subject in school and why
I can’t choose one, but my top two are Psychology and Computer Science. I love the technical aspect of CS, but also appreciate understanding how cultures and societies think and function in Psychology. When put together, they make a combo that represents tech and the context to which tech is applied to!
School and course in college
N/A but looking at majoring in something like ‘Science and Society’ or ‘History of Science.’
Why did you choose this course?
I am working towards closing the gender and tech accessibility gap in the Philippines, which can only be done with an understanding of the technical side of tech but also a range of knowledge pertaining to the context in which the tech is applied to.
Hence, I want to combine knowledge in the sciences and the humanities to better understand how to advocate for gender equality in tech and bring tech accessibility to areas without access to the tech resources we get in the city.
What’s your biggest insecurity as a student? How do you overcome it?
As a student and founder, impostor syndrome has been a big hurdle. It’s not easy to balance school, speeches, events, and team meetings but the balance has definitely taught me a lot about time management. Because I pile so much on my plate, I’ve definitely had moments where I’ve stepped back and doubted myself. But because of my amazing group of friends and family, I’ve always picked myself up and seized the new day!
What achievement are you most proud of during your school life?
So far, I am most proud of the school days where I’ve juggled classes, homework, talks, and team calls—all in 24 hours. Despite how jam-packed those kinds of days tend to be, I find so much joy in the work that I do and what I learn in school. Those days, wherein I try to squeeze as much as humanly possible out of a day, are always balanced out by self-care and as much sleep as I can get on lighter days.
What’s the most important thing you learned in your student life?
The most important thing that I have learned thus far as a student is that rest is important. As much as one would like to go at full-blast productivity every day, sleep and proper meals will prevent burnout from occurring. I’ve come to realize that taking breaks isn’t a sign of weakness, but instead of tactfully considering your current health and future self.
The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan is a book that seems to always have something new every time I read it. Each essay has bits and pieces that relate to me more and more upon every read. My tattered copy has highlighted quotes and has become a bit of a diary throughout the years.
Who’s your life peg? Why?
Reshma Saujani founded Girls Who Code, a nonprofit that provides summer camps for high school girls to learn programming skills. Her book entitled “Women Who Don’t Wait In Line” inspired me to start WiTech and has taught me to be “unapologetically ambitious.”
What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about passionate people. I love connecting with others who are so deeply rooted in a sense of purpose or desire to make the world better.
What’s your advice on finding and pursuing one’s passion and purpose?
Don’t wait until you graduate to make an impact on the world. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that obtaining a degree is the one path to enacting change. Know that there are so many possibilities and opportunities for you to act on your passion and purpose in the now.
What’s the hardest thing about being a girl?
Having to deal with menstrual cramps and periods #notoperiodstigma
What’s the best thing about being a girl?
In your own words, what is gender equality?
Gender equality is having the same opportunities to thrive, learn, and grow as anyone else.
What is something that makes you proud to be a woman this National Women’s Month?
I’ve recently been named a 2019 Global Teen Leader, and will be flying out to NYC in March for the Just Peace Summit!
Congrats, Audrey! And cheers to more women achieving great things in their respective fields!
There’s a Swedish proverb about the magic that happens when we openly talk about our troubles and achievements: “Shared joy is double joy; Shared sorrow is half a sorrow.”
When we see the relatable struggles that other women face, our own obstacles seem less insurmountable. And when we hear about people who succeed, it sparks a confidence in us to work toward our own goals. Moreover, these success stories point us back to ourselves—with an encouraging inner voice that asks, “What are my strengths? What more can I achieve? And what achievements have I already made that are worth celebrating?”
Many, for sure.
The National Women’s Month Celebration every March is part of the worldwide observance of the International Women’s Day (IWD). Since 2017, the National Women’s Month in the Philippines has been highlighting the empowerment of women as contributors to and recipients of development.
Find more stories that will inspire you to be the best that you can be.