When I attended the Girls Leadership Institute I was going into my freshman year. For most people, this is a pretty transitional time. Most incoming freshmen are attending a new school, or at least a new division of their school. My school was different. High school started in 7th grade, and so I was pretty …

With the New Year approaching, I can’t help but entertain the idea of resolutions. As I think back on past years and try to recall goals I set for myself, I can’t think of any. I certainly can’t think of any I’ve actually achieved. However, I can think of many things both in my personal and more public life that I feel I’ve conquered since December, 2008. This makes me wonder if the idea of New Year’s Resolutions is actually incredibly contrived, artificial, and unrealistic.

I recently came across this article by Linda Babcock from 2008 called, “Women, Repeat This: Don’t Ask, Don’t Get.” The article deals with the issues of Babcock’s new book Women Don’t Ask. Babcock noticed through her own life and by watching the careers of women around her, that women often were promoted after men, simply because they didn’t ask for it, like the men often did. Her solution? Women need to start asking for things.

Two weeks ago, I made one of the biggest changes of my life. I left my school of eleven years and transferred to a different one after school had already started.

To be a successful student, we’re taught to follow the rules, to raise our hands, and to do all the homework. We’re also taught to stand up for ourselves, become passionate about an area of life we can later pursue as a career, and make creative choices. We’re taught to take PSATs, SATs, SATIIs, ACTs, APs and do as many as possible. We’re taught to value the college application process as the climax of our entire teenage life. We’re taught to pick a college that will suit us, and we’re also taught that college should be an Ivy. Sometimes the things we’re taught conflict with each other. Like the fact that we’re told to be creative, yet all our choices seem to have already been made for us. Or, the fact that we’re told to join tons of clubs and do lots of extra-curriculars, but somehow we’re also supposed to be doing all the homework we get from school and doing it well. We’re told to get lots of sleep and not to stress, and underneath it all our teachers and parents don’t want anti-social kids. How is any of this possible?