This is a story about a girl who has big dreams; who also believes in herself so much, but she is forced to be self-motivated and to be her own encouragement because her loved ones (family and friends) never supported or encouraged her in anything that she wanted to achieve. This girl is me, Nwabisa Nkululeko Dubase.

It was 2013 and I was going to do my Grade 10. I had to choose subjects that would lead me towards studying for my dream career to become a paediatric nurse, because I have a huge love for children and I believe they should not suffer. In January 2013, before the reopening of schools, registration began of returning students at Bisho High School in the small capital town of the province of the Eastern Cape, Bisho. I had sat my guardians down and told them about the school subjects that I was going to choose, which were Maths and Science. They were against it, telling me that I would not pass Maths and Science as they were meant for someone who was smart. We ended up having an argument and that morning I went to school heartbroken and discouraged. I was not sure anymore which school subjects I wanted to do, but I ended up choosing them anyway.

I worked so hard trying to prove to my guardians that it was not a mistake that I took those subjects. It was not that I was doing this because of peer pressure or proving a point that I’m smarter; this was what I wanted as a person to achieve my goals. It was not easy at all. Things were difficult at home almost every day. I had to go to school heartbroken and discouraged but that did not stop me from being a hard worker and also believing in myself and my dreams. Just because I was not โ€˜smart enoughโ€™ as they said, I was not going to give up. Giving up was not an option at all. I had to push. I passed my Grade 10 with flying colours and went through to the next grade.

My hobby is to model, I love modelling. My school was going to have an anniversary that year so they were going to hold a beauty pageant. I wanted so badly to enter that I went home excited that I was going to be a contestant. I found my aunt sitting on the couch that day watching television. I did not even go to my room first. I sat next to her with my eyes wide open and full of excitement. I told her that I was going to enter my schoolโ€™s beauty pageant. To my surprise and disappointment, she did not approve at all. She said I was very short, not pretty and that the girls in my school are prettier. She said I did not stand a chance and that I was never going to win because other talented and pretty girls entered the pageant. Well this time, I did not argue. I pulled out of the competition.

It was the day of the competition. The girls were indeed prettier and taller, but deep down in my heart, I knew I should be among them doing what I love to do. But then again, I was reminded that I was not good enough. My heart was really torn into pieces. I had to be on that stage! I was supposed to be on that stage even if I was not going to take the crown, just to be allowed to do what I love would have been enough. I went home and cried myself to sleep that night. My confidence was low for a few days, but I found a way to keep going and gain my confidence back.

Weeks and month passed and before I knew it, it was New Year. Time for new things, new beginnings. Well, this time around, I was not going to let anyone or anything bring me down. Besides, it was my final year as a high school student, so why would I let anything spoil my final year?

I must say I am very competitive. I love to do things that are challenging, especially if itโ€™s something I believe in. I was really going to work hard that year. I had to live up to the mark that I was once a student of my high school. I was focusing on my books. I was not going to discuss my plans with anyone; even my friends could be a little discouraging sometimes. There was going to be another beauty pageant again that year, so I had to come up with a plan to be able to enter the competition without discouragement. I signed up, but this time I did not tell my aunt. She only found out on the day of the competition and it was too late to stop me. I went through with it and guess what? I became the First Princess! I was happy not because I was the First Princess, but because I did what made me happy. The First Princess crown was just a bonus.

My final year was very exciting, yet draining, because of all the learning. I did a lot of exciting things, avoiding discouragement, and believed in what I wanted to do. My aunt was judging me from the outside; she did not see the passion and desire that was inside me. I passed my Grade 12 regardless of the subjects I chose and I am now a first year Information Technology student. I am still entering beauty pageants and I am as competitive as ever.