Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Down To Earth

I came down to earth with a bump today. Yesterday was a fantastic birthday, and I am so glad I could spend it with all of my new friends here at Brown. However, I only have a few more days left of class so I have to buckle down even more to finish my projects.

The rest of our class finished our Amazing Woman monologues this morning and afternoon. I was the first to present this afternoon. I “was” Amy Tan, author of The Joy Luck Club and several other books. I picked her for a few reasons:

1. Amy Tan is (more or less) from the Bay Area

2. I read her kid’s book The Moon Lady a lot when I was little and I also really liked The Joy Luck Club. In fact, when I get home I plan to reread it.

3. Kisa put a cool quote of hers into our syllabus: “If you can’t change your fate, change your attitude.” While I don’t completely agree with the part about fate, I do believe in the “changing your attitude” aspect. To me, a positive attitude often makes all the difference.

When I did my research, I found out lots of information that I never knew about Ms. Tan. I won’t bore you with all the details, but one of the things that I found most impressive was her struggle with Lyme disease. She contracted it in 1999 and it went undiagnosed for about four years, during which she suffered hallucinations and other health problems. Ms. Tan now raises awareness about Lyme disease so that other people don’t go through what she did, which I found really admirable.

Above: D'ara was Oprah Winfrey. She was hilarious!

Below: Maddie was Jeanne Shaheen, the first female governor and now senator from New Hampshire. (Maddie is from New Hampshire and will be interning at Ms. Shaheen's office this summer.)

Once we were finished with the presentations, we had an ethics workshop. After all, since the Leadership Institute is teaching us the skills to be persuasive, effective leaders, it would be irresponsible of them to neglect our moral compasses. They don’t want to release a bunch of evil, corrupt leaders on the world! Which absolutely scuppers all of our plans, darn it.

A panel of four young professional women also visited this afternoon. They spoke about the challenges of balancing family and work, as well as their personal high school and college experiences. They counseled us about pursuing our interests and told us not to be afraid to try new and difficult things. One of the panelists, Grace Yeung, had met with the previous Brown cohort. Some of us from the ILC went up and talked with her briefly after class, and she was very friendly and encouraging.

After class today I pretty much made a beeline for the Science Library to do my homework. It’s now one of my favorite places on campus! The main attractions are the air conditioning and the area on the first floor that allows you to have food while you work. I got a large portion of my work done before heading off to dinner.

I am now back at work finishing up my Action Plan paper and notes for tomorrow’s practice presentations. I can hardly believe that I only have two more days here. Not even two days, really–on Friday we will be whisked off to the airport with barely a chance to say goodbye to all of our new friends. I will have to exchange contact information with everyone before I leave!

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