A Space Engineer’s Perspective on International Men’s Day
Written by Jishnu Thangallu
Mathematics Tutor, Stepping Stones Education
Have you ever heard of International Men’s day?
It’s on the 19th of November, and it’s one of the many days we have to celebrate diversity and to confront social issues, particularly among men! This day is an opportunity for us to talk about the stereotypes that create toxic masculinity and recognise that men are in fact diverse and do not need to fill a particular ‘role’ in society. I believe this day also a great way to give voice to the many young male academics who dream big. It’s important that everyone who wishes to succeed knows that they can do so freely and I hope my story provides some with the inspiration to reach for the stars.
International Men’s day is a day that celebrates the accomplishments of men, like valuing male role models, and working to improve male health. It is important to recognise that men are diverse and there is no longer ‘one’ perfect stereotype that all men aspire to. In all corners of society we now have men who fill roles that support gender fluidity and further disprove gender binary! Men are living in a day and age where they can follow their hearts and be accepted for it.
This is especially important when it comes to thinking about study and pursuing an area of academics. As a tutor, you come across a lot of students who want to dream big and all they really need is some support. There are countless great stories in our history about successful men who have pursued their dreams, and it’s important that while we may be sometimes surrounded by good stories, there is the reality that there are men who are told to ‘man up’ and ‘suck it in’ until they achieve something… and that just isn’t right.
On International Men’s Day, it is a chance for us to see how students in the classroom have been affected by some of the toxic stereotypes that exist for men. The reality is, being a man doesn’t mean anything when it comes to the textbook and exam room and there are men out there pursuing their academics feeling as though they need to be a ‘man’ and just ‘work hard’. Academics is a lifelong journey and it’s important to be reminded that we all need to take things one step at a time. I believe that a positive classroom is one where all students can work hard to achieve their goals, but at the same time receive support, and be willing to ask for support when they need it.
Stepping Stones Education reflects this attitude and that is why I enjoy the classes I have taught as a Mathematics tutor. In the classroom, men can be smart and they can also struggle, they might also fail. This is the life lesson we need to tell all the boys who will become men, fathers and more.
Another key aim is to tackle discrimination and disadvantages that men experience, and for fostering positive gender relations. All of these work to make the world a safer place. It is important to address issues in society and to appreciate the accomplishments made so far. For me, one male role model that I look up to is Martin, the Head Tutor of Stepping Stones Education.
Martin has always has my best interests at heart and constantly strives to make our workplace the best it could possibly be. He is aspiring to seek more for himself and I find it to be very inspirational. International Men’s day speaks to me because I find it important to try to seek new challenges, like Martin, and to accomplish more for myself and for the greater environment around me.
Aeronautical Engineering – Space Engineer Major
I’m Jishnu Thangallu and I am an Aeronautical Engineer, Majoring in Space Engineering at the University of Sydney. When I was younger, I was fascinated with space and to study and reach other planets. As I reached high school, I found a fascination in physics and engineering, and this culminated to my current study.
One day, I would like to work in the space industry, working at places like NASA, SpaceX and Boeing. I definitely feel a sense of pride whenever I am able to talk about my dreams and aspirations and this is definitely one of those moments. On International Men’s Day I’m particularly thankful that we can discuss the hopes and dreams of men out there, myself included. It’s no secret that hard work and a good attitude will get you to places in life, but it’s good to be reassured that I don’t have to bottle up my challenges and I am in fact encouraged to share them and reach out whenever I need to.
In achieving my goals, I hope to fight against discrimination in all it’s forms, and to further improve my accomplishments and attitudes to promote positive gender relations, and to make the world safer. I thoroughly enjoy sharing my knowledge and as I’ve been assisting students face their HSC like I once did, I hope to continue this when I reach my goals. For all the young aspiring minds out there reading this, I believe in you.
International Men’s Day is a way for us to be reminded of the impact we can make by embracing and accepting who we are.
The positive impact that I would like to leave behind is simply taking humanity at least one step forward in our progress and evolution. Whether that means reaching a new planet, exploring more about the space around us, developing technologies to better sustain human life outside earth or otherwise, I want to contribute to getting us that one step further. People, like me, have all sorts of aspirations for positive contributions to humanity and our environment, but there are many societal issues that inhibit their ability to pursue those ambitions. Issues like mental health, societal expectations and gender stereotypes all make it harder for people to do what they want. It is important that we take days like this to be aware and work towards resolving these issues so that people can fulfil their aspirations.
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