Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Amazing Women and Lessons

In class, we started off with more Amazing Women monologues. Maddie had originally thought she was presenting in the afternoon, but it turned out she was in the morning group. She was concerned because she had left her props and power-suit jacket in her dorm room. To spare her from running back to the dorms and having her be under prepared, I offered to switch spots with her. Butterflies flopped in my stomach, as I remembered that I had originally wanted to practice my speech during lunch. I then calmed down by telling myself that I knew the information without having to rehearse it.

These are the people that presented in the morning and who they represented:

  • Cynthia Yip - Ruth Simmons 
  • Ava - Whitney Thompson
  • Me - Amy Chua 
  • Abi - Isadora Duncan 
  • Ludmyr - Anna Wintour 
When I went to present, my stomach flip-flopped. I held my notebook that contained my notes in my clammy hands and looked at my classmates. I told how Ms. Chua was raised "The Chinese Way", how she secretly applied to Harvard and met her husband there, and how she was a visiting professor at Duke and then became a law professor at Yale Law School (she has been teaching there since 2001). How she raised her two daughters Sophia and Lulu "The Chinese Way" as well. How Sophia practiced piano and Lulu practiced violin for six hours a day. How "The Chinese Way" worked for Sophia, but Lulu did not accept it and rebelled at the age of thirteen, how her third novel, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is a memoir that was big family therapy, not a how-to guide. How she felt about the fact that her book sparked a global debate about parenting methods. How she was accused as a child abuser. How she rose above it and is now a famous author.

When I was done, my hands were not clammy anymore. I happily realized that I had only looked at the first page out of three of my notes, and when I sat down, I realized that I had said all my notes. I was pleased with myself and my performance.

After the morning performances, we got in groups to discuss our Action Plans. My group consisted of Mariko, Marilyn, Kaylyn, and Refjola. I was impressed with everyone's ideas, aspirations, and how dedicated they were to their topics.

About an hour before lunch, a professional panel of graduate Brown students came to talk to our class about challenges, college experiences, and to give us advice:

  • Grace Yeung: She graduated from Brown in 2010 and works for Abercrombie and Fitch. She was the previous Impact Systems Manager at an A&F store. She grew up in the Philippines and majored in Economics and International Relations. She said that she poured her energy into her academics at her K-12 international school, and that she really geared herself up during high school. She also stated that every three years she made a new sense of friends because every three years people would leave and come to the school. She met Brown Session 1 and told us that - it all made sense to us then; who the "Grace" the Brownies #1 had been talking about.
  • Devienna: She went to the University of Oregon and majored in science of art, concentrating in jewlery. She said she wasn't a very good student in high school and didn't like school until she went to college. She went to the Rhode Island School of Design for her masters and is currently in graduate school at Brown. She owns a  jewelery company called DA Metals. 
  • Margarida: She majored in communications at the University of Rhode Island and is going there again for her Masters. She is a first generation college student. She wasn't extremely involved in high school and went to educational camps every summer. 
  • Medeva: She went to North Carolina State University and was originally pre-med, but she started working in a lab and got very hooked on doing research. She went to graduate school in New York to get a PhD in microbiology and worked in labs in Paris. She was recruited to work at Brown to work with the Leadership Alliance. She was very serious in high school and was the Drum Major of her marching band and DJ'd part time. 
I was very pleased to hear everything the professional panel and learn about their experiences.

Grace and I
After lunch, we had more Amazing Women Monologues:

  • Mariko - Amy Tan
  • D'ara - Oprah Winfrey 
  • Maddie - Jeanne Shaheen 
  • Selena - Rachel Lloyd 
  • Kayla - Danica Patrick
After the monologues, we conducted an Ethics workshop. My group consisted of Selena and Alli. We received scenarios asking us what we would do if this happened to us. There was one scenario where a girl had to decide whether to take her intoxicated friend to the hospital and rat out her friends or risk her friend's death. We agreed that not reporting the incident would be selfish and inconsiderate of everything a good friend stands for.

After class, I went to my dorm and worked on my Action Plan paper for three hours. I was very happy when I wrote the last sentence. I feel like I did a very good job. As I write this, my good friend Irene Rojas-Carroll is editing my paper. I am excited to hear her feedback and criticism before I email the paper to Kisa.

However, while writing the paper, I became sad. In two days I will be leaving these girls and Brown University. While in the back of my head, I am thinking "It's about time to come home", I definitely will be heartbroken when we leave.

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