Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Coming Together for Change - My Final Reflection

What's unique about the Women and Leadership course at Brown is that they don't only teach leadership skills for young women, but also social responsibility and a truly open mind. An open mind doesn't just mean being respectful of ideas other than your own, but honestly trying to see things from a different perspective. It means treating others as you would like to be treated in every way, even though initially they may seem so different from yourself. That's what I learned firsthand inside and outside the classroom at Brown.

I wasn't so concerned about being on the East Coast, because I've been there before to visit family. What really hit me was meeting people who were truly from all around the world. We each had different ideas because we were individuals, but more often than not, we were essentially the same in one respect: we all were at Brown because we wanted to change the world for the better, starting with ourselves.

My self-confidence has increased exponentially throughout the course of the program. I think that self-confidence is the make-it-or-break-it factor in leaders and in anybody who wants to be successful in life. It also means being comfortable with yourself - with your heritage, your skills, your interests, and your ambitions. No matter what the external obstacles may be, self-confidence always has to be there so that you can move past them.

The final project in the Women and Leadership course was my Action Plan to implement interactive peer presentations in classrooms to combat homophobia. By moving this plan forward, I will not only improve my school and community, but put into practice my improved leadership skills. I've seen how it's possible for an incredibly diverse group to come together and support each other through difficult times. I always thought that "coming together" was a cliche that didn't actually happen in real life, but I was proven wrong. I want to bring this feeling back to my community so that everyone can learn just like I did.

Looking toward my own future, I'm very excited about getting placed with a mentor who is an alumnus of Brown University. Everyone who I've talked to who has gone to Brown is a very accomplished yet humble person who is focused on helping. I know that I can learn a lot from an older and more experienced person who comes from that kind of background, and I'm looking forward to it.

I want to help in my own way. Hopefully, I can continue to get guidance from the Brown Leadership Institute through the Symposium for Social Action. Students from summer@Brown will share how they have progressed on their Action Plans during the weekend of November 5-7. I know that the ILC can help me attend, and I'll do my best on my end by helping my community in the ways I've outlined above.

I want to thank everyone who has helped me get to this point. No matter how small the contribution may be, I am incredibly grateful to you all for this amazing experience.

1 comment:

  1. Irene,

    Every time I read one of your blogs you surprise me. Since I’ve gotten to know you these past couple of months you never impressed me as someone who lacked confidence or might not already have those leadership skills and an open mind you referenced in your first paragraph. I guess you just had me fooled. Or maybe I just saw something in you that you had trouble in seeing for yourself.

    I’m looking forward to seeing how the implementation of your Action Plan progresses. I’m confident that you’ll be able to recruit others to assist you and work on your team as you make this a reality.

    Good luck to you.