Current Students / Uncategorized

Jeanette: What I’ve learned about hard work and perseverance

Jeanette Moumakwe is a Northwest Community College Initiative (NWCCI) participant studying business management at Pierce College.  Here she writes about how she felt as a young woman in South Africa with dreams to travel and see the world,  dreams that her family thought were impossible to attain. She shares what she learned about motivation, perseverance and struggle while pursuing seemingly impossible goals.

12063738_761803353945842_7582828729714335846_nAs part of our NWCCI activities, we went to the Tacoma Festival and watched Landfill Harmonic, an amazing and inspirational movie set in Paraguay. While watching the movie, I learned a lot and had some reflection about my journey in life.

My name is Jeanette Moumakwe, 23 years of age and I am from South Africa. After I matriculated from a high school equivalent in South Africa, I had big plans for my life, and my parents were not supportive and did not believe in education. Dreams are our starting point in life; they give us directions as to how we want to turn out, although the future seems uncertain, we hold on to our dreams. When one has dreams, support from teachers is sometimes all we have to hold on to, and we hope then it makes sense.

We need a community to help support our goals. The moment we are willing to achieve, we start having hope, we work hard in achieving our goals and often then we can persevere irrespective of the circumstance.

Sometimes that requires leaving, some people and some things behind, I had to leave my family, friends behind to come and study in Pierce College.

The Landfill Harmonic showed me that hardship can be overcome, team work is required, and determination, sacrifice and focus are needed. I am paving my way, making my mark; an opportunity of a lifetime must be seized. I am the catalyst of my life. The world is full of opportunities, and we must go out there and seek them, embrace change, share our goals and somehow somebody will come help.


As NWCCI students, we come from different parts of the world to make change in our lives, to prove to the world that uncertainties can be overcome. We are the change we want to see in our future.

For the opportunity I was granted, I have nothing but gratitude. The situations we face in life tells us otherwise, they limit us, cripple and sometimes leave us with no hope for the future. Our dreams are what we have to hold on to, something within us that motivates and, drive us to success.

Success is defined in many ways for me. In 2013 I had dreamed that one day I would travel the world. How? When? I had no clue but it was my dream, and guess what, dreams do come true.


Coming from an economically challenged background is no excuse to feel sorry for yourself; it should not be a reason not to pursue your future. Never give up when you seek to make the world a better place for yourself. When you allow change, you grow and allow others to grow. We define ourselves; if we define ourselves by our misfortune in life we limit our capabilities. We are the architecture of our destiny.

My journey in life taught me to make it happen for myself, going out there even if it means leaving my comfort zone, my life, it requires my time, hard work, dedication, courage, perseverance, respect and humility. When I believe that I can, I can. Education is the most powerful weapon one can use to change the world, as stated by Nelson Mandela.

The world has so much to offer. We need to talk to people; network and we may find that our big breaks lie with the people we meet along the way.

I had told myself I wanted to travel the world, and through a friend, I came to know about the exchange program. I now study in Washington State, living my dreams, collecting my qualifications, learning Americans’ ways and teaching others about my country, and paving a way for others to follow.


My advice to others is to not let fear hinder you from achieving your goals, for dreams do come true. Trials, tribulation, valleys and the storms of life are there to redirect, to make us strong and build us. Our responsibility is to keep moving and keep the faith, and carry on. Nobody said it will be easy. Attitude is key to success.

The Landfill Harmonic reminded me to reflect on various aspects that took place in my life, and persuaded me to share my thoughts.


The NWCCI program is part of the Community College Initiative, an exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The opinions expressed in this blog by writers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Northwest Community College Initiative program, Edmonds Community College, Whatcom Community College, Pierce College, the United States Department of State or any employee thereof. NWCCI and Edmonds Community College are not responsible for the accuracy of the information supplied by the student bloggers.

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