By Laura Nunez
Project GirlSpire is calling all girls – young, old, first graders to college seniors This year is YOUR year to shine. It’s been a month or two since you’ve wiped the cobwebs from your composition books, strapped on your trendy new messenger bag, and shrugged into the squeaky desk back at school. Awkward “Getting to Know You” ice-breakers have concluded, you’ve turned in the obligatory essay documenting your summer escapades, and now you’re starting to delve into the nitty gritty of this year’s curriculum.
You’ll face tiresome group projects, intriguing class discussions, difficult concepts, boring lectures, inspiring debates, and everything in between. This year, if you have the urge to refrain from contributing your opinion, challenging the status quo, asking questions, or volunteering your assistance, remember that YOU are the next generation of trail-blazers. Someday you will be the next set of accomplished role models for a new generation of curious young dreamers. Strive for excellence and make an effort to participate in class.
If you don’t understand a concept, or want more information on a topic, raise your hand. Don’t wait to send an e-mail after class, or silently hope that someone else will ask your question. If you want answers, details, solutions, then ask for them yourself. You have a voice. Let it be heard. Soak up the knowledge that is rightfully yours. Too long were women applauded for their silence. It’s not nerdy to show your intellect and just how high you can reach; it’s a sign of true success.
Be a leader. In group projects, class discussions, on team activities, assume some of the leadership responsibilities. Prove that girls can delegate, manage, direct, coordinate, and make decisions just as well as the boys. It’s a known fact that males hold an overwhelming majority of positions of power in almost every industry, so it must be your mission to break the trend. Don’t be afraid of being called bossy or assertive. It’s only your sparkling poise and confidence making themselves known to the world. Remember that bossiness is praised in men, and with your hard work, it will become a celebrated quality in women, too.
Never settle for the status quo – in class, at home, or anywhere in your life. If you see room for change, then fight for it. Advocate for your beliefs and positions. Don’t back down if you feel you are fighting for the greater good. Until the ratification of the 19th amendment in 1920, women did not have the right to vote. Today, not even a hundred years later, we have a female presidential candidate on the ballot. This is all thanks to previous generations of women before us who refused to give up, refused to accept second best as good enough. Use your voice to make a difference and advance female progress.
Clubs, teams, committees, plays, bands – join them all. If you are passionate about something, don’t be afraid to show it. If your school doesn’t have a club or group that piques your interest, be an innovator and start your own. You’ll make more friends, learn the values of competition, diversity, responsibility, cooperation, and foster a sense of school engagement that academics can struggle to provide.
As I’ve mentioned before, you will become the next set of talented heroines for young girls across the globe, so when you see a fellow sister in need, lend your assistance. Mentor, guide, tutor, encourage, cheer, defend, speak out. By simply striving to achieve your own goals, you will have cleared a path for the next girl in line.
Girls, the overall message I’m trying to convey, is that you need to make yourself heard. In the classroom, at the team meeting, in the hallways, your voice has value. Remember it! Tell your girlfriends! Text it to yourself! And most importantly, participate this year at school.