Education, being Female, and Making it happen
Sitting in Stats a couple minutes ago, several things truly clicked.
You know, if you are less of a jerk, people are more willing to call you out when you are being a jerk, because they simply will have grown accustomed to expecting better.
Accountability means something else entirely, if cruelty is uncharacteristic. The concern will be genuine, and relevant.
Does anyone else remember the “If I don’t do it now, I never will” feeling. I take risks because I listen, and it matters in the long run. I have lived to see it transform, first me, then little bits and pieces of others. I have seen it. I will be relentless for the sake of goodness.
I’m getting a 4.0 this semester. There is no reason I can’t. None. I grew up surrounded by these great books, and I paid for so few, and I read so many.
There was this girl back in Elementary school who was rather ostracized, because she was (and is) the smartest woman I have ever known. She was kind. Her parents were International Students or Scholars, I do not know which. But she made it happen. She was kind. She asked the questions she wanted answered, even when everyone else was over it. She wanted to know, and I’m pretty sure she is at Harvard right now. As a first-generation Asian-American, she probably had some understanding of the differences that exist within the world. Even in sixth grade, during the scourge of puberty, nobody got it, not even the teachers (not most of them, at least). I once tried to teach her how to “Be cool” at recess, because sometimes she cried then, and I was so angry when the other kids bullied her, it wasn’t even something I could express. She was so kind, and sometimes, I made her feel worse, because I was scared for her. All of the hopes I had for myself were the same dreams, only she believed in them. What could I do to protect this beautiful mind? I could do nothing. And so I tried to help, in the most clueless way I knew how. It is ridiculous now, in hindsight, but she is brilliant, and it was no one’s surprise when she became a speaker at our Commencement Address. She was the type who knows what must be done, but didn’t waste time on pity. She moved forward, and just remembering that helps me know that it is possible for me too. She may not have been perfect, but she was always as kind as she could be, apart from the hormonal tides of despair in knowing you are too smart to be accepted in high school. She saw something that was wrong, and she changed it. She is probably one of the most amazing people I have ever met.
To teach is to honor my predecessors. Nothing else can come close to that. The love they spent on me, the joy that they gave me, the honor that they were able to instill in just doing my best. I will honor that.
I have a lot of un-earned rights that not everyone has (“privilege”). If my privilege will be with me for the rest of my life, there is no reason to apologize for it, but to work to make it better for others. SO many beautiful women came before me, making learning possible. I’m making this choice to be relentless today, while it most matters. In service through my education, and in providing the things that I want for my children to succeed, I will aspire to bring the same good to the children of my friends and the rest of the world, regardless of who they are. It is not about me. We can all do better, and if I want my children to have greater odds than I have today, then I will invest in their parents, who I also care about. I will do it today. I will be kind, and I will pay attention, and I will be willing to learn, so that we could all step forward together. The best solutions come from a group effort. And my faith inclines me to do the best I possibly can, because I know it is possible. There is no reason to be afraid. I’m doing it.