One of the first things a person learns is the alphabet. One of things people can cherish most is the letters that follow their name –whether those letters are MD, JD or PhD, etc.
In the past, men have had most of the ownership over these letters, but as time goes on, women are claiming their rightful ownership as well. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day (Singles Awareness Day or Stuff-your-face-with-chocolate Day), a New York Times article was circulating the emails of many Harvard women. This article was comforting, especially because I spent a week before my sophomore year discussing the hardships of harmoniously intertwining a successful career, a blissful marriage, and precious children.
Last August, I spent a week participating in the Harvard-Radcliffe Women’s Leadership Conference. During this week, I met 39 beautiful and driven undergraduate women and soaked in the wisdom of successful female panelists who work in various fields ranging from consulting to entertainment communications. One of the recurring questions from my peers during the panels inquired about the possibilities of being successful as well as being a mother. All panelists defended that being a “power mommy” is possible, but none of these defenses stemmed from personal experience which left us aspiring women skeptical.
Our doubts drove extremely profound dinner conversations about love, goals, and dreams. We articulated our observations about how sometimes it seems like boys don’t like to date girls they deem as their equals due to the intimidation factor. We sketched our life plans by trying to coordinate pregnancy with the chilliest time in graduate school. And most importantly, we prioritized ourselves and embraced the words of Sheryl Sandberg.
A large part of conversations here at Harvard include shallow facts such as origin, concentration, and dorm/upperclassmen house affiliation. Yet more often than not, a lot of conversations dig really deep into controversial and worrisome topics – this is one of my favorite things about Harvard. The environment and its supplementary programs are super conducive to open discussion. Therefore, my peers provoke my thoughts just as much as my professors! It’s always really refreshing to be learning from all those around you because an immense amount of learning is completed outside the constraints of a classroom. Perhaps the next epic lesson you’ll learn will come from a game of Scrabble! Get ready to rack those letters up 🙂