Saturday, July 24, 2010

I Surprised Myself

When I first came into this program, I thought that I was really open-minded. However, I slowly realized that the Women and Leadership program at Brown would challenge me intellectually and emotionally more than I had thought it would, and make me even more understanding of all kinds of diversity.

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.

I also realized that I can't be a "supergirl." I can't be perfect and I can't do everything perfectly, but I can certainly try. I will try. If I make a mistake I won't dwell on it, but learn from it. I will concentrate on doing what I love, whether it's skating, playing clarinet, or leading a community organization.
~Kisa gave us bracelets with inspirational words on them. Mine says "lead."~

I teared up so many times on the last day of class. Two weeks seemed much too short. I would be so incredibly happy if I could go back and learn in that environment again. Before this program, I never would have seriously considered applying to Brown, but now I will definitely apply to Brown and other highly selective universities.

I learned that there are still obstacles for women and for many other groups of people in the world, but that the final barrier to success is always one's own self-confidence.

If I believe in myself and others, and believe in our dreams, I'll surprise myself yet again. Thank you to everyone who made this experience possible for me.


  1. Irene,

    You surprise me. Of all of the Brownies we sent you were one of those that I had pegged as being one of the most confident about her future.

    Now you write some surprising things.

    I still have faith in you and look forward to seeing what you do with your life. I see good things on the horizon.

  2. I was confident before I went on this trip, but now I have so much more to back that up. I've tried to describe it in words here on the blog, but it's hard.

    Thank you so much for all your support and kind words!