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School

  • Articles, GirlSpring.com, Goals, School, Travel

    Everyone Has Their Own Story to Tell

    study abroad at cambridge

    The trouble with being adventurous and taking risks is you will never know what is going to happen until it surrounds you.  Some are born adventurous, while others have to learn. Personally, I am independent, and, despite usually finding success, I am rarely optimistic about the outcome of new situations. Recently, I learned that taking risks isn’t as scary as it seems, you just have to trust yourself and be open-minded.

    cambridge

    Going on my own adventure across the pond

    In the summer of 2018, I had the invaluable opportunity to study abroad at Cambridge University. It still feels like a dream, honestly. I studied medical science and psychology, with two of the most amazing professors. My classmates were all from different countries around the world. Each student brought a different perspective and opinion. We were able to discuss and make compromises, simply because everyone was respectful. Everyone came into the program with the intention of studying abroad to prepare for future careers, but we didn’t expect that we would be so close or grow so much. I spent a lot of my time studying, as the academics were more rigorous than anything I’d ever experienced before. In my free time, I chose to explore my new environment.

    Want to have your own adventure at Cambridge? Check out some more information here, https://oxbridgeprograms.com

    cambridge

    For months, leading up to the trip, I wondered. What will the town be like? Where will my classmates be from? Will I even enjoy studying abroad? The time finally came and I arrived in England. After getting settled in my dorm, I decided to go for a walk, and in no time, this became a habit. I walked through the park between classes, and downtown after class. Every day, I saw something or met someone new. The diversity within the program, and in the town, was simply beautiful. Kids from all around the world, coming to learn about their passions, surrounded by people in the town who were welcoming and supportive. Allowing myself to be inquisitive and vulnerable allowed me to go on my own little adventures. I learned not to be afraid of the unknown, just to be curious.

    cambridge

    At Cambridge, I learned about more than just medicine

    Obviously, my knowledge of medicine expanded immensely, while at Cambridge, but I also grew tremendously as a person. I’ve found that you learn a lot about yourself while learning about what you love, especially when you are in a new environment. I learned how to trust myself. I studied at Cambridge, as a 15-year-old, and I did extremely well in my classes. I’m usually so quick to doubt that I will succeed, but this experience boosted my confidence. I am proud of what I have accomplished, what I learned, and how much I grew. Most importantly, I realized that accomplishments shouldn’t be labeled by what others find impressive, but rather based on personal growth and experience.

    cambridge

    Stepping out of our comfort zones is something we should all do more frequently because it makes us grow. I am extremely grateful and fortunate for the opportunity I had to study and learn at Cambridge. Every day, I use something I learned during my time there. Remember to have an open heart and an open mind, because every person has a different story to tell. Whether you are across the ocean, or down the street, if you open your eyes and mind you can always learn something new.

    Aubrey is summer blogging intern that also stepped out of her comfort zone and learned lots about herself along the way. Check out more articles like this, Portrait of a Gap Year.

     

  • Articles, GirlSpring.com, School, STEM

    Increasing the Representation of Women in STEM

    My experience as a woman in STEM

    When I was younger (and even during my first two years of high school), I never really understood why encouraging women to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) was such a big deal. It seemed that in all my classes, including my STEM classes, there were about the same number of girls as there were boys. From freshman year Integrated Science to junior year AP Biology, the difference wasn’t very apparent. Similarly, from Geometry Honors to AP Calculus BC, I didn’t see much of a difference either. At the time, I didn’t realize this but, I guess what made these classes so even in terms of the representation of boys and girls was that they were courses commonly taken to meet a general education requirement. For example, at my high school, students are required to take three credits of science, with one of those being a biology class. It’s very common for students to take AP Biology their junior year. Therefore, it makes sense that there were about the same number of boys and girls in my AP Biology class.

    However, as I began taking more advanced math and science courses, such as Linear Algebra and AP Physics 2, the number of girls in my classes began to drastically dwindle. During my junior year, boys significantly outnumbered the girls in my Linear Algebra class at the university. Similarly, my AP Physics 2 class during my senior year only had four girls in a group of about 25 students. Being someone who has loved STEM courses and plans to pursue a STEM-related career, these observations make me wonder: Are most girls simply not interested in STEM? Or do they feel too intimidated and secluded to take such classes and pursue a career in the field?

    We still think that Women just aren’t good at STEM

    I did some research, and according to statistics gathered by the National Girls Collaborative Project, males are more likely to take advanced level AP exams (such as Calculus BC, Physics B, and Physics C). Women comprise only 29% of the science and engineering workforce, and gender disparities begin to emerge (especially for minority women) more and more as individuals move from undergraduate education to more school or a career. This is an issue that is more visible in particular fields, and there are many environmental and social barriers that continue to slow down women’s progress in STEM.

    According to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), many people claim that they do not believe the stereotype that women aren’t as good as men at math and science. However, there are still implicit biases that exist. These unconscious beliefs underlie negative stereotypes and influence people’s assumptions about women. People still believe that women are better in the arts compared to STEM, an area people implicitly associate with men being better at. However, this is not necessarily true. There have been several women who have made major discoveries and have left lasting marks on the STEM field. It is evident that women are just as capable as men in achieving success in the STEM field. Many individuals argue that the first step to tackle this issue is to recognize and understand that these unconscious beliefs exist, and I agree. Only by realizing that we are implicitly making judgments can we change our thinking.

    Women in STEM are increasing their representation

    Additionally, the AAUW discusses how a growth mindset benefits girls, especially in math and science. By believing that intelligence can be developed over time, girls are able to embrace any challenges or obstacles they may face during their journey in these fields. This makes it more likely for them to learn from others and continue to stay involved in their field(s). I think it is important to encourage girls to develop a growth mindset from an early age because it helps build confidence and prevents the development of unrealistic self-expectations that can cause long term harm.

    Finally, mentorship is crucial. Through programs like resource groups, women can feel less isolated in the classroom or their workplace. Over time, this can help them feel valued and encourage them to continue making a difference in their field. Being exposed to strong, female STEM figures from a young age can also help young women view a career in STEM as an interesting and attractive potential option for them in the future, which can help increase the involvement of women in STEM.

    I’m curious to see how I will experience gender disparities and implicit biases against women that exist in STEM in the years to come. I know that I shouldn’t let my gender stop me from achieving my dreams, and I should take advantage of mentorship opportunities and have a growth mindset to help me get through any potential issues I may face along the way. Women are powerful, and I am confident that they will continue to make a difference in STEM.

    GirlSpring is helping bring STEM to young women, read about our third annual STEM fair!

  • Health, School

    Say Goodbye to Mid-Semester Slumps

    Mid-Semester Slumps

    Say Goodbye to the Existential Dread

    Halfway through the semester, I found myself completely burnt out. Overwhelmed with a full schedule and a color-coded planner demanding all my time, I needed a change. Although I had no motivation in the mood to give up, I also didn’t have the energy to wallow.

    These are the steps I took.

    Rest

    Sometimes all your brain needs is a nap and a snack to refresh. I began forcing myself to turn off my phone. Without the anxiety of missing a text or call, I had time and head space to enjoy things like a hot shower, a charcoal mask, and an entire movie. Whatever helps you feel mentally and physically rested is important. Taking care of oneself isn’t an option. Self-care is adamant.

    Cook

    For some, cooking is stressful. But for those who enjoy the challenge, cooking is an excellent way to clear your mind. I love discovering a new recipe. Cooking is therapeutic and rewarding. Try it sometime!

    Exercise

    I am constantly thinking about where I need to be and when. Time is personally, a big stressor. Therefore, it is relaxing to clear my agenda and go to the gym. I love taking my time at the gym and allowing myself to relieve stress. The gym isn’t always relaxing. However, exercise can be done almost anywhere. For example, take a nice, long run through the neighborhood. Blast the headphones and block out the world.

    Let go

    Saying no is healthy. Accepting every invitation or offer is exhausting. When one begins living to please, they stop living for themselves. Learn to say no to things that aren’t mandatory – as well as things you don’t actually want to do. Making decisions for oneself also makes it easier for one to partake in self-care.

    Take a break and allow yourself to rest. Brains can’t function on empty.
  • GirlSpring.com, School

    Plan A Perfect Semester With This Course Checklist

    Course Checklist

    Choosing Courses That Work For You!

    Plan A Perfect Semester

    It’s that time of year again. Everyone is fretting about which courses to choose for the upcoming semester. Many rely on the opinions of others to make this choice, but this only hinders self-growth. That being said, I am here to tell you a few things about choosing courses for yourself and the effect this will have.

    During my Sophomore year, I registered for Advanced Placement Chemistry.

    However, as finals week approaches, I am second guessing my decision. I also registered for Advanced Placement United States History during this time. Additionally, I refused to give up any extracurricular activities.

    Therefore, my Sophomore year began with a sense of unbridled arrogance.

    Very soon, it blew up in my face. I was getting very little sleep, my grades were slipping and my positions in the band, SGA, and robotics became difficult to maintain. Now, my social life has vanished and stubbornness is how I manage.

    However, I’m not suffering and I’m not upset about it.

    Last year, I made sure to sign up for one class in which I could study. I know what I want to do after high school, and I understand the full extent of what I will have to do to get it. If you commit to yourself, it will be easier to succeed. As I have been planning for next year, I’ve made a list of questions to ask myself and other students interested in my input.

    1. Is this class/extra-curricular relevant to your future career path? If you are working towards a leadership position, it is important to take courses that give you experience or communication skills. If the course does not provide useful skills, replace it with one that furthers your educational journey.
    2. How many time demanding things are you involved in? Don’t take seven AP classes. Seriously, do not. Unless the majority of them are relevant to your future major, don’t put yourself through that. You won’t have time to develop yourself in other important areas colleges look at like community service and extracurricular activities. If you have a job, take even less. To enjoy the fruits of your labor, you’ve got to be a functional human being.
    3. Are you taking classes that are too easy? If you constantly receive 95 percent averages with no effort, it’s time for a challenge. Take a chance at a higher GPA.
    4. Weigh all sides. If a certain standard level class is known to be difficult, take the Honors or Advanced Placement course. In standard level courses, there is a 10 point margin between each letter grade. However, in AP courses, a C grade is equivalent to a 3.0 GPA. Consider this when you choose between classes.
  • Articles, School

    This Packing Checklist is Perfect for Spring Break!

    Spring Break Packing Checklist

    The Ultimate Spring Break Packing Checklist

    It’s that time of year!

    We’re all counting down the days, hours and minutes until an entire week of no stress – basking in sunlight and parading around the beach. While our teachers pile on last-minute assignments, problematic projects, and inconvenient tests –  we hold on to a single, glimmering vision of hope: Spring Break.

    However, in the midst of the exhausting days before break, we’re burdened with one final task: packing.

    Here’s everything you’ll need for the ultimate spring break, overpacking not included.

    Multiple Swimsuits and Cover-Ups
    Beach towel
    Sunglasses, Sunglasses, Sunglasses!
    Headphones
    Your Favorite Travel Playlist
    Reusable Water Bottle
    Basic, natural makeup products (you won’t need much – it’s a vacation for your skin, also!)
    Bath Products – Travel-Size Shampoo, Conditioner, Body Wash
    Sunscreen!!!
    Toiletries for Morning/Nighttime Routine
    Feminine Products (in the case of any unsettling surprises)
    Comfortable Clothes – and a few outfits that make you feel fancy
    Pajamas
    Two – Three pairs of shoes (don’t forget socks!)
    Underwear/Bras (packing a few extra never hurt anyone)
    Simple Jewelry (accessories that are versatile)
    A Good Book for Beach Reading 
    Sun-Protecting Hat
    Beach Bag/Large Bag
    Snacks for the Road/Flight/Beach Days
    Disposable Camera = Memories!
    Phone Charger
    First Aid Kit (Better Safe than Sorry!)

    The worst feeling is arriving at your destination and realizing you forgot a vacation essential like your favorite pair of sunglasses or phone charger.

    No Worries – It’s easy for some things to slip your mind in between the pressure of class and the excitement of vacation, but with this list, you’ll be packed and ready to go in no time!

  • School

    Fun Ideas for a Spring Break Spent at Home

    Ideas For Spring Break

    Fun Ideas for a Spring Break Spent at Home

    It seems like everyone but you has plans for an amazing Spring Break vacation. Don’t let this get you down. You also have amazing Spring Break plans – regardless if you go anywhere.

    If you are stuck at home for Spring Break, this list is for you!

    Read

    All those books on your reading list that are sitting on your shelf collecting dusty are ready to be picked up. Grab the one you’ve been eyeing and go outside and read while soaking up some sun in the backyard. Or go to a local coffee shop, get your favorite pastry, and read.

    Binge Netflix

    There are so many shows on Netflix that have many seasons to keep you busy all week. My favorite shows to binge are Grey’s Anatomy, Law and Order, Friends, That 70’s show, You, Gossip Girl and The Office. All of these shows are extremely addicting. Trust me, you will not get bored.

    Bake

    Bake cookies or a cake. If you don’t usually bake, learn! Baking is so much fun and you get to eat whatever you bake. Get creative and just experiment. Learn to bake in a new way, like making vegan or healthy chocolate chip cookies. There are so many recipes and fun ideas on Pinterest, so have fun looking them up and start baking!

    Redecorate/Organize

    I am sure your room could use a new look, I know mine could. Change up the way your bed is positioned in your room, or move your dresser next to the window. Change things up a bit. Or organize your drawers. I know it is easy for clothes to get jumbled up and it becomes frustrating trying to close drawers. So, dedicate a day to organizing, refolding your clothes or redo your closet.

    Exercise

    Go on a morning run or start a new exercise routine. Exercising can only improve your health, so try it out! Or maybe go on Youtube and learn how to do yoga or pilates. There are so many different workouts out there and Youtube is full of free ones.

    Treat Yourself

    Give yourself a spa day. Put on a face mask, prop up your feet and watch your favorite romance movie. Finally, paint your fingernails and toenails. It’s about time – since you have been slowly watching the polish chip the past few months.

    Start A Blog

    Finally, write that first blog post you have been putting off for months. You know have a whole week to design a blog and express yourself through writing. Be bold and make it your own!

    There are an endless amount of ideas to keep you occupied all spring break.

    If you find yourself bored, think of all the things you’d like to do during the school year that you never have time for and do them!

    Make the most of your week and relax. You deserve it!