“My life as a teenager was very demanding, or rather monotonous, as I was the type of girl that would always remain indoors and study. I didn’t have a social life at all. Back then I did not mind being at home and called boring by my peers. I preferred to stay at home and read a book or two to increase my intellectual capacity.
“People would always call me the girl that was obsessed with good marks, because during the time I was at school I always made sure to score good grades. Back then the word dating did not even exist in my vocabulary. I always said it was a waste of time and energy. Since my mom was a single parent I had to make sure that at least I make it to varsity, so that one day I can look after her and my siblings.”
This is the story of Genevieve Sorica Barry (23), who was born and bred in the coastal town of Walvis Bay but currently resides in Lüderitz. Life’s trials gave her so many reasons to give up on her dreams, but for the sake of her family Barry did not let obstacles overcome her.
Barry has two siblings and attended her primary education at Diaz Primary School before going on to the Lüderitz Secondary School, where she completed her Grade 12. After high school she attended the University of Namibia, but due to factors beyond her control could not complete her studies.
“One of the biggest challenges I faced was the time I got pregnant at Unam. It was the most difficult experience I had ever encountered. I found myself in a situation where I had to drop my studies and go home. It was a very painful experience since her mother is a single parent and she did not know how she was going to tell her mother.
Getting pregnant as a teenager at university presented a real obstacle for her, especially the judgments and discouragement she experienced from peers, but after processing her own feelings and refusing to let people walk all over her, she found her own inner strength and decided to ignore what others say. She opted to pray for them instead.
Pregnancy was never an excuse to drop out of varsity, but she says not going back to varsity the year after she gave birth was the biggest mistake she had ever made.
“The pregnancy issue made me think negatively. I always told myself I had messed up. My choice made me lose my government loan and having to be at home for another year was such a waste, because I could have used that time to go back and at least I would be in my second academic year.
“My situation made me stronger, because that entire year I drafted a strategy and told myself ‘OK, I’m still young and I have the potential to go out there and reach my dreams. So, next year I’m going back to [varsity] to complete all of my modules and complete my studies within three years’ time,’” says Barry.
Despite all the negativity she had this hunger for success and that made her stand up and go back to university to complete a degree in Human Resources Management within the prescribed period at the Polytechnic of Namibia.
Barry got her first job in November 2014 as a receptionist at a fishing company, but due to the fact that she had to go back to university, she only worked during holidays to gain experience. “I basically just dropped my CV at several companies and I was lucky enough to get a call from one.”
Since she is a recent graduate she has only worked at two companies so far, Novanam and Marco Fishing, where she is still currently working. Barry says one of the biggest challenges she faced in the industry was the transfer of knowledge.
“People with years of experience are not really keen on sharing their knowledge.
During the past few months I learned a lot within my career field. At first I always said that Human Resource (HR) wasn’t for me, but I began to love my career as time progressed.
“As a new HR graduate I was honoured to work with one of the best people in the industry and that really changed my mindset about HR. I must say it is an interesting career.
“Through HR you are able to learn things about yourself that you did not even know. Since you are working with people from diverse backgrounds all the time you begin to develop people-oriented skills. When it comes to HR you need to have the patience that drives passion, because working with people can be very difficult.
“I always say people are like the wind, calm today and the next day it’s a totally different thing. That is where HR comes into play, as you would know from your training how to handle such an individual. I love my career and would not trade it for anything in this world,” she says.
Barry encourages fellow youth to never give up on their dreams no matter what situation. She is a strong believer in prayer and turns to God for guidance and strength.
“Don’t mind what people say about you. People will always talk about something that they can’t have or be. It is your life. Once you listen to what people say about you, you no longer live your own life, but theirs.”