Saturday, July 31, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
Saturday, July 24, 2010
I am happy.
Good-bye, East Coast!
I thought I had my mind mostly made up on what feminism was and what leadership was, but we attacked these issues from all possible angles, and Kisa let everyone come to their own conclusions. All the professors, the TAs, the RAs, the Leadership Fellows, the staff, and the students were so approachable. Nobody ever told us, "this is the way it is because I said so," or "this is the way it is because it's written in a textbook." I really love that way of learning. As Mercedes Domenech said, in the end it doesn't matter so much what you're learning as long as you expand your horizons and learn how to see the world in a different light. I was surprised about the program and about myself in the best way possible.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
The closing was a game where we would all sit in the chairs formed in a circle with our eyes closed. Two of the girls would tap someone or people in the group that matched the description My read. For an example, she asked the girls to tap someone who you believe in and tap four people who you really respect. This activity really touched me. I did not know some people viewed me in some ways.
Before that, the class had a self-defense course for the afternoon session. I really enjoyed this class because it involved physical activity and yelling. We learned different punches (one which was called the hammer fist) and kicks and how to deal when someone is trying to choke us, pull us away, and has us in a bear hug.
In the morning session I practiced my action plan in front of a small group in class. Their feedback was to slow down.
I cannot believe that tomorrow is my last day at Brown!
I am off to a fun but probably sad good-bye dance party.
Yesterday was Wednesday, and I presented my Amazing Woman monologue.
It was exciting for me, because the person I chose was Tamora Pierce, an author who has been my inspiration since I was in the early years of elementary school.
I know I said a little bit about her the other day, but I’d like to elaborate, considering her huge influence on me.
She grew up in San Francisco, just like me (well, Bay Area) and when she was little, she loved to make up stories to entertain herself. She was drawn to science fiction (like Star Trek) and fantasy (like Lord of the Rings). Her early love of literature and writing mirrors mine, and she knew she wanted to write from a very young age.
I am like her in this respect. I love reading and writing, and fantasy/science fiction is my favorite genre (though my own stories tend to be more realistic fiction).
From the very first book I read by her, Alanna: The First Adventure, when I was in the fourth grade, I knew I wanted to read and write for the rest of my life. In that book, a young girl named Alanna decides she wants to be a knight, instead of being sent to a convent like all other girls her age. Through the series, she accomplishes this, first disguising herself as a boy, then revealing her womanhood, and fighting the discrimination from the men around her.
What a message for a young fourth-grader like myself. Not only was I learning from my parents to be confident in myself, and not to be constrained by trivialities like gender, but I was getting it from the books I loved too.
I can say with certainty and pride that a large part of the woman (and budding novelist) that I am today is die to this woman.
My presentation went flawlessly, and I just hope I imparted a little bit of what I learned from her to my fellow classmates.
Also, in my research for the Action Plan paper I had to turn in today, I found the perfect charity.
It’s called Project Belén, and directly benefits Belén, the area of the Amazon that I visited. I’m not sure if I really talked about my Action Plan yet, so I’ll go in depth now.
When I visited Peru (Belén in particular), I saw a lot of poverty. This was the stark reality of the country I had idealized for seventeen years. But it didn’t diminish my love for Peru in any way. It only made me sad, but that sadness awoke a fire inside me that demanded I help, demanded I do my vest to change the situation of the people there, as they couldn’t do it themselves.
So coming to Brown only a day after my return from Peru was really the best thing that ever could have happened, as we learned about this Action Plan project, where we picked a cause to benefit the world, and act on it.
I knew immediately that I wanted to help the people of Belén, and last night, I found the perfect organization to do so. Project Belén provides healthcare, food, counseling, and more to the poverty stricken residents there, and sends volunteers down to work with the locals and improve their situation.
I’m so excited to go back home, talk to the presidents of the Interact Club at my school, and set up find raising activities to raise money for the charities.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
In class successful women came in for a panel and gave us very good advice, such as doing what you love but not spreading yourself out so much. One of the women brought her young daughter of age 5 to class. During the panel I sat next to her. She reminded me of children I had babysat for and my own younger brother. Her little bunny reminded me of my younger sister.
At lunch I meet with Mercedes Domenech. She was very funny and straight to the point.
There was a blood drive, of which I wished I could participate in but I was too young. You had to be 17. Someday I hope to give blood -- if I can take the physical strain of doing so.
Kisa brought in a panel of professional women, which was very diverse. Their professions ranged from educators to doctors to leaders of community organizing groups. One of the women was rather soft-spoken, and I was almost surprised that someone quiet could be a successful leader. It was great to have role models that everybody in the room could relate to. Another brought her five-year-old daughter in and said that child-rearing was much harder than any career. Even those that did not have children said that it's important to stay connected to people that are important to you, such as mentors, family, and friends in order to keep a balanced life.
Today at 12:15, Lucero, Lupe, Lydia, Selene, and I made our way to the V-Dub. This was because last week, we (the ILC students at Brown) had arranged to have lunch with Mercedes Domenech of the Brown Admissions Department. We had met her 2 times before at ILC events, and she offered to answer any questions about the University or about admissions that we had. We learned more about the interviewing process and how students are selected. What stuck out was how she emphasized taking challenging courses in high school not just because they would look impressive, but because if we got accepted to Brown, we wouldn't have distribution requirements or any required classes at all (excepting majors). Senior year is our last chance to show how much we love learning.
Mercedes also emphasized how important it is to study what you love even if it might not seem like it leads to a concrete career path. For example, Ruth Simmons, President of Brown University, holds a Ph.D. in French. Who would have projected her position now with her chosen field of study? Mercedes got me to think about how it doesn't matter as much what I choose to study, as long as I am educated in something and I know how to think and analyze. Undergraduate majors that are very specific are actually limiting because people may change their minds even if they initially think they're set on something.
I still have to finish my Action Plan paper and polish my Action Plan presentation, conduct another interview with a fellow student, catch up on my journal assignments for the past week, and meet with Ms. Stewart at 7 about the logistics of our departure. It's sad that we're already talking about leaving. In some ways I miss my family and others who are close to me, but in other ways I fear missing my friends, teachers, and mentors at Brown even more.
The 3rd round of the presenters presented theirs first thing this morning. Each woman I heard about was individual in passion and personality. We had students that did theirs on: Toni Morrison(author of Beloved), Maya Angelou(poet), Dolores Huerta,(activist) and many more.
Afterward, we had four women come in to form a discussion panel on their professional and home lives. Qualities, achievements and education were some of the topics touched upon. Each women had a different background. One was from Harvard, another went to Brown, one had two kids while still another had none. This range of perspectives and backgrounds allowed us to see how similar (or not similar) their difficulties and/or opportunities were like.
The discussion was very informative for me. I had living proof in front of me that women could both hold a great job and also have a great social/family life as well. Some women chose to have kids and others did not. For me, this was a big topic to talk since each of us is going to have to make that decision when we're older. But one of the ladies spoke about priorities. She said that we would come to realize what each of our priorities would be once we've gained enough experience and wisdom, whether it would be our family, jobs, friends,etc. I marked this side note in my head. Nikki, who graduated from Harvard, discussed the "vision" we all create in our minds of what we want to accomplish. Sometimes, our dreams change, or perhaps it only shifts and you realize that there are infinitely many opportunities and jobs out there that you might want to try, is what she said.
During lunch, Irene, Lucero, Selene and I met with Mercedes Domenech to discuss any questions we had about Brown. She was very humorous and down-to-earth once again when we spoke to her. I found out more about the PLME (Program in Liberal Medical Education) which, although seems nice, I do not see myself applying for it.
Considering the PLME, I am not entirely certain I want to enter the medical field. I love medicine, however, I would also like the opportunity to explore other options as well. Politics is my other passion, and I find hard to choose between the two. However, I was told by someone that there are many politicians that have an MD among other degrees and balance the two. I find it won't impossible to combine both.
We also discussed other admissions doubts. I felt like I learned a lot during the lunch and every day, I picture myself at Brown more and more. It is the perfect learning environment for me. I am a very curious person and the type of education offered here would give me the opportunity to explore other subjects: engineering, art, anthropology, Egyptology and so much more. The financial aid package is generous, which is also a plus for me. Come December, I will submit my application to Brown university.
After lunch, it was time for my presentation and Lucero's as well. Lucero went first and I think she did an awesome job! Then, I was right after her. I practiced a lot the night before and it paid off. I stumbled a bit at times but overall, it was fine. The public speaking workshop we had earlier in the week helped me a lot with this presentation. It gave me more confidence and skills to present myself in an effective manner.
After class, I decided to participate in the blood drive that was on campus today. It was may first time doing so, but I had my friend Thara to accompany me on my new experience. I have to admit, I was a bit nervous about it; I have never donated before, but I kept telling myself I would save lives.
Turns out, it was not as bad as I thought and I feel very good about saving three lives. The volunteer was was proctoring my donation pointed out a woman in the hall who was saved by a blood donations while she was giving childbirth. If it weren't for the donations, she would have not survived. This made me feel very happy that I could make the difference in someone's live just by donating blood. It is something simple one can do to good in the world. This is why I am drawn to medicine: you can help save lives.
We met with Ms. Stewart during dinner and we had a blast. She gave us the departure information for Saturday.
I am sad to be leaving Brown. I feel like I have a home here now in the Rhode Island community. The people here are amazing and I love my class and the professor as well. There is so much that I learned from being here on the East Coast. However, every beginning has its ending, and with that, another new beginning emerges, ready for us to grasp hold of it for a new chapter in our lives.
Tomorrow, we will practice for our Action Plan presentations for Friday.
Homework is calling me.