IVY GIRLS LEAD Pt. 1
(takeaways + the foreseeable future )
I realize that I haven’t been as active on here as much as I would have liked to have been, but I assure you that I have been taking every opportunity away from my blog to take on a new and exciting challenge.
In fact, one of the most notable activities that I have taken on since my last update was a project that Ms. Fleming (our school counselor) introduced to us late last year around winter break. Since then, myself along with 24 other girls from across the island and from school have taken part in a 4 month long initiative to empower young women in leadership positions, with the mentorship of over 7 notable international Ivy League graduates. This was an incredible honor since only 25 of us got chosen out of 200 people that enrolled island wide! As a result of this opportunity, I was able to make friends with a diverse group of incredible girls along the way and not only that but I got a once in a lifetime opportunity to come into contact with an immensely inspirational group of female leaders along the way.
The first two weeks of the experience consisted of introductions, team building activities and many guest speakers, who told us the intricacies of what it took to succeed as a female leader in the world.
The topics ranged from self affirmation to breaking gender norms and purpose finding, all of which I found extremely beneficial to add to my arsenal of knowledge.
My personal favorite was the very first session led by author Christy Rutherford, who gave everyone an amusing, but memorable talk on self affirmation and deciding the difference between coming across as arrogant and cocky and being confident and put together.
Starting out with the Girls Lead, I must admit that I wasn’t entirely keen on being put in a zoom meeting with a majority of strangers at first. I may seem somewhat extroverted at times but in reality I’m pretty shy and awkward in social situations, and as for me, having to step up to the role of a leader in a room full of very talented and outspoken girls seemed beyond daunting to me.
As I wrote down in my main goal for the Lead at the very beginning, I really wanted to improve my confidence, because it just so happens to be that I have a lot of thoughts but they unfortunately tend to become difficult to articulate the correct way when I’m under pressure or have to speak in a public context.
Thankfully for me, I got to grow in leaps and bounds in that aspect. There was a visible change in the way I carried myself along the the course program and it became evident to myself and the people I interacted with on a daily basis, that I truly had learned to step outside of my comfort zone and rise to the occasion.
A lot of people would not be granted such once in a lifetime opportunities to get such hugely informative lectures from such qualified, experienced and capable people that had succeeded so much in their fields of work, which is when I knew that it was not something that I could take for granted.
After that realization, I actively participated in each call, making sure to ask questions and share my thoughts every session and even took the initiative of leading my group’s service task. I even diligently took notes to make the most of what was being said, which in hindsight was a very wise decision, I look back it every so often for a boost in morale. It was clear that I had changed so much by the end of the program that even the CEO of the Ivy League, Swati Sahni, laughed on the last day when I told her about my initial goal and she responded by saying ‘We could’ve never guessed! You did really great.’ 😂
Overall, I am extremely proud of how much I managed to grasp from those two weeks of leadership development and am already applying it to real life, in areas like football where I require a certain sense of leadership whether it is to coach or to share my ideas on how we could improve our gameplay.
This program has been so effective and such a learning curve for as that the OSC batch in Ivy Girls Lead decided that we wanted to be able provide the same kind of opportunity our OSC student body as well!
Only this time, it will be us mentoring the girls! We felt this might be hugely useful as having gone through middle school myself, I know how difficult it can get for us to stay motivated or to be confident or feel welcome enough to share our own opinions, especially at this age where everyone is trying to figure their own identities out, I know I for one would have benefitted hugely with some time of guidance and support along the way.
And so it has come time that we introduced the new *drumroll please…* OSC Girls Rise Program!! We are very much looking foreword to launching the project in the near future where we, the former students will become the next group of mentors! (more on this in the upcoming posts)
Here are a few of my own session notes! Feel free to use them for personal reference, I promise they’re very conveniently useful 🙂