A British Army captain who became the first woman of colour to trek across Antarctica has told students from North West Regional College (NWRC) that there are no limits to what they can achieve if they believe in themselves.
Preet Chandi (Polar Preet), visited the college’s Limavady Campus recently to speak to students studying courses in Uniformed Services and Sport. Her talk was also streamed live to more than 600 students at Northern Ireland’s five other Further Education Colleges.
Polar Preet trekked a mammoth 700 miles to reach the South Pole in 40 days, during December and January, battling 60mph winds and pulling a 90kg sled in temperatures of -50°C.
She told students how she spent two and a half years preparing for the expedition, many times training in difficult conditions while pulling a tyre on her back.
“Push boundaries and believe in yourself,” she told students. “I wanted to do this expedition because I once googled Polar Explorer and I couldn’t find anyone who looked like me. I want to break barriers. No matter what you look like or where you are from, you can do anything.”
The 32 year-old explorer who also detailed her endurance feats that included a 50-mile Ultra Marathon, said that even though her challenges were tough at the time, the achievement was worth it.
“I never thought of giving up because of all the work I put in,” she said. “There were tough days, but I brought audiobooks, messages from home, and audio clips to keep me going. I’m so glad that I never listened to the people who told me ‘No.’ I’m glad I believed in myself. There’s so much you can achieve if you believe in yourself. The possibilities are endless. I recently googled Polar Explorer again and my picture came up. I was quite pleased about that.”
Ian McGregor, Lecturer at NWRC, said Polar Preet’s visit to the college was inspirational for both staff and students.
He added: “I’d like to thank Polar Preet for her discussion with the students at Limavady campus which was watched live by more than 600 students across NI.
“Her talk was particularly inspiring for students who are currently studying for careers in Uniformed Services that include the Fire Service, Police, Ambulance Service, Coastguard, and the Army. Who knows but we may have the next future Antarctic explorer in our midst?”
NWRC’s Open Days will take place on March 1 (Strabane), March 2 (Derry~Londonderry) and March 3 (Limavady). For more information go to www.nwrc.ac.uk/opendays