Monday, July 31, 2017

Hunting for Seals

When I say the Women and Leadership course is the most fun here at Brown's Leadership Institute, I mean it. Today was the epitome of that. We went hunting for seals, literally.

Okay it's not what you think. On Friday, Mary Grace told us to wear comfortable clothes and meet her outside in the Vartan Gregorian Quad for Monday. Did I know why? Not really, but that's how my Monday morning began. I woke up at 8 and was at the VG by 9. We started class by debriefing, and then were assigned another team building exercise: building a house of cards. Now this may or may seem all that difficult, but not having an entirely flat surface and a slight breeze made it much more difficult. My group managed to build only 2 layers, but even that took a while. I feel as though with each team building activity we participate in, we, as a class are getting better at working together. Every mistake we make with each activity, we learn from and take it as a learning experience to improve upon  in the next activity.

We then made a quick trip to the International Student Experience Center and learned a bit about what they do and what they have to offer. At the center, which is fairly new, we met Christina Phillips, who is also fairly new to Brown. This center takes care of everything and anything related to studying abroad. Christina herself lived in Japan for a few years, and also chose to study abroad there as well. We only stayed there for about 10 minutes, and made our way back to the VB.

Now came the real challenge: a scavenger hunt. Mary Grace split us up into our small groups (mine being team California), and handed us each a list of the items we  needed to complete before. We took one look at the list and realized that this was definitely going to be a bit of a workout. This past week has required so much walking, I'm expecting to have incredibly toned legs by the end of this program.

Our first task what to ask someone who knew what "intersectionality" meant. We knew just the place to go: the Sarah Doyle Women's center. There we killed three birds with one stone. We managed to get a picture of the Women's Center, a picture with a Brown employee, as well as get an answer to our question. From there we went all over campus, which I typically would not mind, except it was becoming increasingly hot. I do not handle heat well, and running around in it? Definitely not a fan. We were able to check off everything on our list, except finding the Pembroke Seal, so I guess you could there was no dinner on the table tonight.
One of the items during the
scavenger hunt

After our time was up (1 hour), we met back at the VB. We were assigned our lunch and learn, and were then excused for lunch. During our second half of class, we were supposed to be having a Power Hour networking session with multiple deans, directors, and officers of Brown. I was sweating buckets after the scavenger hunt, and so I knew I had to clean myself up. I walked backed to the dorm, freshened up a bit, changed, and then made my way back to the Ratty to grab some lunch.

I surprisingly ate lunch quickly, and still had 30 minutes to spare. I decided to sit in the Main Green on the grass with my friends Gracia and Hyein for a bit. Just sitting there on such a lovely day was really relaxing. It was so peaceful, and all you could really hear was the cars passing by and the leaves swaying in the wind, it made me want to take a nap (what a surprise).

I went to class at around 12:50, to find out that I was the only one there. I took it as an opportunity to review the list of people I would be meeting with today, and the list was impressive. While we waited for our guests to arrive, our class played a game of Ninja, in which you must use your hands to hit the person's next to you's hand in order to get them out. The games our TA's plan for us are always fun, and this was nothing less.
The Main Green

Our guests finally arrived and the excitement in the room grew. The ladies introduced themselves, and they all seemed like such kind genuine women. After introductions, we got straight to talking and had only 15 minutes to do so. I tried to snake my way to all the people, but of course, some conversations  lasted longer than others so I only got to about 5. I spoke with Kisa Takesue, who is the director of the Leadership Institute here at Brown, Olivia Mcneill, who is a coordinator/counselor at the Brown Center for Students of Color, Yolanda Rome, who is an Associate Dean for incoming students, Kathy Toro, who is a program coordinator for pre-professionall advising, and Dr. Loren Intolubbe-Chmil, who is the Executive Director of JWU Global and Johnson and Wales University. All of these women were absolutely incredible and I had a wonderful time speaking with each and every one of them. Just speaking with them, you could sense their strength and power. Speaking with them made success seem more attainable than before. These women were confidently able to say that they loved their jobs, and there really aren't many people in the world who can say that while being truthful.

At the end of the hour, we all gathered around the class and were told to say one word about how we felt from the past hour. The most common word used was "empowered". It ties in with one of my favorite quotes, "Empowered women empower women." There was so much positive energy in the room, one could truly feel these women wanted to see one another succeed and that is something so valuable, it was wonderful.

After the session was over, Mary Grace excused us and said we were free to go if we liked. Before heading out, I spoke with her about my Action Plan and now have a solid plan ready to put into essay form. I intend on creating a type of mentor mentee program within De Anza High School, which is where I currently will become a rising junior. I would create this as a way to reach out to the children in elementary and middle schools to provide them with the support they need to thrive. I still have quite a bit of work to do on it, but I have high hopes.
Rockefeller Library

After class, I went to my assigned symposium: action plan working. This essentially was a study hall for working  on our action plans, and I was actually able to get quite a lot done. No one was allowed to talk, which was really nice since I get distracted very easily. After the symposium, I went to the library to get some work done, and the view was simply gorgeous. It made me want to get into drawing again. I hate to keep reminding myself of it, but I truly am going to miss Providence and the Leadership Institute especially. I don't say I love things often, but I love it  here.

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