Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Winning woman- Munira Khamis Sahal

 Asalaam aleikum loves, Meet Munira,a 22yr old girl with a Masters in chemical engineering and make up skills like no other. I first came across her page after she gave me a shoutout on Instagram saying the kindest thing, talk about women who support other women right! In fact i was inspired to revive this segment after seeing her graduation day post. I don't know a lot of chemical engineers and i'm happy to know (virtually) a Muslim woman who is one. As always, be inspired, you know i am.

1. Tell us a little about yourself, who is Muni
Munira Khamis Sahal is a 22 year old girl who's just completed her Masters in Chemical Engineering. Lives in the UK but originally from Tanzania. 
Munira is also very enthusiastic about fashion and makeup, hence the Instagram pages (@munirascollection and @_itsmuni). 
Munira's collection was opened to mainly focus on designing and selling Modest clothing. However, this is still a developing page considering it needs time dedication and in the last couple of years I've mainly dedicated my time to studying. 
@_itsmuni is a page used for personal purposes; be it everyday posts, makeup, fashion e.t.c.

2. Have you always wanted to be a chemical engineer?

Have I always wanted to be a Chemical Engineer? No. When I was younger, I always admired those who were in the Law field. Since primary school, I had always wanted to be a Lawyer. Also in secondary school, I really enjoyed Art (Drawing, Painting e.t.c.) and Performing Arts (Acting). However, after a few years of school and getting to know more about the different subjects, I decided I wanted to base more on the Sciences. Therefore, after completing my secondary education and moving on to A Levels, I chose to study Biology, Chemistry, Physics and of course my favourite, Maths. I really enjoyed learning these subjects but after a year in A Levels, things got hard, especially Biology. So then I dropped Biology before moving on to my second year and completed my A Levels. 
Ok so the funny part is when I was applying for uni, I had no idea of what I wanted to do. None at all. What I did was just randomly applied for different courses from Law to Business Studies to Medicine to Pharmacy to Chemical Engineering. Mind you, at this point, Engineering was my last option. When people talked about Engineering I had always thought of it being about buildings and cars and stuff like that. But yea long story short, I got accepted at that one university which I applied Chem Eng at. And here I am :)

3. What’s the hardest and the best part about being a chemical engineer?

I wouldn't say it's the hardest part, but the one challenging thing about being a Chemical Engineer is the work load. There is so much to do in so little time. However, you actually get to enjoy every moment of it. It's like going on a rollercoaster ride. I mean there are ups and downs but people still get excited to go on a rollercoaster. So it is very exciting being a Chemical Engineer because of the many different things you can do, now this is the best part. 
Chemical Engineering allows you to spread your little wings and fly, exploring things and learning new things each and everyday. Being a Chemical Engineer gives you the opportunity to be able to choose from a wide range of fields. For example working in Oil and Gas Refining, Food Manufacturing, erm Pharmaceutical Processing, or even base on the Cosmetics side of the field. So as you can see, there are lots to choose from. You do not have to stick to one thing. Even though it is hard getting through all the years doing all those things, it is definitely worth every second. 

4. Aside from your job/academics, I noticed you are passionate about make up, tell us more about that?

Yes. I love makeup, not just applying it on faces. You see a lot of people fail to understand me when I speak of makeup. Makeup is art, and I love art. When I'm about to do my makeup or someone else's makeup I always think of it as an Art Project. The face is the canvas while the makeup itself is the paint. So when creating art (doing makeup) I always treat it as a masterpiece. The priming, the painting (applying foundation/concealer), the blending, the finishing touches e.t.c. It also requires precision, that is why makeup application is very challenging. I myself learn new things everyday about makeup application. I used to hate the thought of applying all these chemicals on my face. But the more you learn about makeup, the more you know that you can also take a good care of your skin. Knowing what products to use on your skin type, different skin care products for after you wash off the makeup e.t.c. There are so many ways of achieving a certain look but you just have to find what you feel comfortable with or what is easier for you. 

5. In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you build yourself back up?

Ok so when I start doubting myself in anything, first I seek help from Allah. Asking Him to give me strength either during Salah/Duaa or the Quran. The second thing I would do is ask myself, "what's the worst thing that could happen?" As in if I'm scared about facing something, what is the worst possible outcome? This usually calms me because most of the time I just realise I'm panicking for the silliest reasons. 

6. What does success mean to you?

Success to me means achieving even the littlest things you have been working on. It could be perfecting that wing liner that you have been struggling to do for the longest time. Or even selling your first abaya which you have designed yourself. Success doesn't necessarily mean being on top or for example getting the highest grades in school. It is simply when the work and effort you put in starts to pay off. Even when you fail, you succeed in a way that you get to know your mistakes and learn not to repeat the same mistakes. So pat yourself on the shoulder because today, you are wiser than you were yesterday!

7. What quote or saying or book do you live by or rather inspires you?

"Kutangulia sio kufika"
This very inspiring saying is mostly used by Swahili people. People translate it in their own different ways but let me tell you how I understand it, or rather what it means to me. 
So here's a scenario, two people, one graduated at 25 and got his PhD. The other could not manage to finish his PhD up until he was 40. The 25 year old graduate got a job immediately after graduating. He was employed at one of the best paying companies, got himself a family, house and a car. He was living what's considered the best life. But this only lasted for three years. He got greedy over time and forgot about his family. All he cared about was travelling and spending on things like drugs which lead to him getting arrested. This ruined his reputation and lead to him losing his job and everything he had. 
Now the 40 year old graduate got his dream job even after long years of waiting. His family, who were there to support him through his journey lived with him for decades.. he unfortunately died at 80. 
So looking at the two scenarios, what I understand is that everything happens with Allah's will. If you were meant to graduate today, you will. If not, wait for your time. Sabr is key. Just because so and so is out there doing big, living big, doesn't mean you have to be like them. I mean it's good to be inspired from looking at someone else's way of living for example. But it will happen in Allah's timing. Just work hard, pray about it and leave the rest to Allah. 

8. Which of your traits are you most proud of, why?

Erm, I'm not really sure how to go about answering this question. However, I must say that I'm very proud of how far I've come and the woman I'm becoming day by day. Alhamdulillah for where I am now and the fact that I can focus on building myself by doing what I do. Also, just basically being myself and not caring what other people say/think. 

9. What characteristic do you most admire in other women, career women or otherwise?

Oooh this one is easy... basically I admire all hard working women. I don't really have a certain type. But generally women working hard to get things for themselves rather than having someone else provide for them. For someone like me, who looks up to these women, I get inspired quite a lot. I also do believe that there are thousands like me watching these amazing women each day. So it makes me so happy seeing these women win considering what the world has come to. We get women standing for themselves and fighting for their rights. Women just doing what they do best on a daily basis like fashion and beauty bloggers. Women running businesses and gaining exposure globally. I mean come on, this stuff is literally goals. 

10. What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received in your life and what advice would you give to girls who want to be a like you?

Ok so the funny thing is, I used to hate hearing this over and over again. But my dad would always find time to remind me of this. "Usidanganyike na mambo ya dunia - Don't let the world fool you" his words like every time he lectures me. These words have a broad meaning to me. Basically, the world is full of lies and deception. People living "social media lives" and not the real lives. Just because someone posts a picture of a Lamborghini doesn't mean they own one. Or someone posting a picture in a second hand 2001 car doesn't mean they're poor. People should live their lives and do things to please them, not to please other people. This doesn't only apply to social media by the way. Another meaning I encounter from my dad's "famous" saying is we shouldn't get influenced by bad habits, bad friends e.t.c. Just because your friend does drugs, it doesn't mean you should. We should learn to live our lives as safe as possible. Someone buys a pair of jeans for £10, another buys one for £1000 just to compete. At the end of the day, it is still a pair of jeans. We shouldn't compare ourselves to others, you never know what people are going through behind closed doors. We should always aim to be better versions of ourselves, not better than others. 
I guess my advice to other girls is that, never compete with other girls. In fact, never compete with anyone. Pray good for others as well as for yourself. Empower and encourage one another to be the best versions of yourselves. Always be humble and never look down on others. And In Shaa Allah, we'll all make it. 

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