Watching the second Republican debate, something incredible struck me – and it had absolutely nothing to do with politics. It had everything to do being a women.
There’s been a lot in the media in the past few years about women, about girls, about being strong and being respected. Sheryl Sandberg wrote Lean In and people of all persuasions read it. Women, men. Democrats, Republicans. The CEO and the middle class and the night janitor. Girl Scouts teamed up with women’s rights groups and pushed to Ban Bossy. Always has gotten press for their #LikeAGirl campaign. An absolutely brilliant video was created two years ago that reveals the differences between impressions of men and women doing the same thing:
Carly Fiorina is an incredible example. People laughed at Sarah Palin when she was the first female Vice Presidential candidate on a big ticket. People scoffed eight years ago that the Democratic race was “the woman” against “the black man.” But Hillary is back. And Carly is a force to be reckoned with.
Carly Fiorina, unlike most of the men on stage, did not get flustered. She didn’t just meet the men where they were, she beat them. She was more impressive, more polite, and revealed herself to be a woman of effortless class. Sure, she interrupted the men, but so did the men. Sure, she went over time, but so did the men. She addressed the fellow candidates on stage with polite candor. She treated them like the incredibly intelligent people they are. When they disagreed, and they did, Fiorina kept to the issues and avoided ad hominem attacks.
She was the only person on that stage who consistently encouraged the audience to use their brain – she was the only person on that stage who seemed to recognize that we have brains. She had just as many facts as the men. She answered the questions without a stutter, without a drop of sweat. She won the “kids table” last time, and I think she won tonight’s debate again.
I watched eleven Republicans stand on stage tonight and present many positions that I fundamentally disagree with. I watched Carly Fiorina stand on stage tonight and present positions I disagree with.
I watched Carly Fiorina stand on stage tonight, and I watched her represent women with class and grace and brilliance. I watched Carly Fiorina stand on stage tonight as a role model for little girls who see infinite possibilities in front of them. She is a conservative role model that young girls in conservative families will get to see as an example they can aspire to. She is persuasive, but not pushy. She is smooth, not a show-off. She isn’t bossy, she’s a boss.
I’ve always had high expectations for myself. I’ve always set as my “someday goal” an upper level management position, or a significant government post, or a professor at a named institution. I’ve just always oscillated between these as I changed my interests and my ultimate destination. Many friends of mine never questioned what they were going to do with their lives. (High school friends who knew they were going to be doctors and just partook in their white coat ceremonies, for example.) But I’ve never really known. I took a windy path, one could say, to end up where I am now.
But I had a moment last week that reminded me that where I am now is exactly where I want to be. It was the weekend, I was reading for fun. I was reading Science (if that doesn’t tell you a bit about who I am becoming…) and came across an article about “Yellow Lights” in science – basically that the current stop & go regulatory frameworks that are commonplace make it incredibly difficult to innovate in expensive industries. The article focuses on the complex FDA requirements and high biomedical expenses and argues that more flexible regulations – a yellow light or “California Roll,” if you will – could allow new and safe products to get to market (and help patients) faster. (Interestingly, an earlier magazine (June 12) focused a lot on innovative spaces – primarily in Cambridge, MA and the SF Bay Area – that allow biomedical startups to share workspaces and expensive machinery to compensate for these difficulties.)
Remember, I was reading for fun.
And then I realized I was also reading for work. Because my current task is to analyze the FDA regulatory structures and attempt to find ways the NRC could potentially mimic successful FDA frameworks. And this yellow light idea is definitely one to steal, for it would allow reactor designs that are more efficient but differ significantly from those currently on line to be approved in stages. This would in turn allow the designers to find funding in stages, instead of looking for a couple billion dollars on day one.
And then I realized I was also reading for school. Because part of my research project this fall is to look at other industries – I had planned originally to focus on technologies that inspired a regulatory overhaul, but the FDA parallel structure briefly mentioned in the article (and which I’ve thoroughly researched since then) could also be a perfect case study for comparison. Oh wait, that’s what I’m to complete over the next two weeks at work! And then I’ll rewrite it for school. And the book I’m currently reading for fun is about the beginnings of computer science; I haven’t gotten to anything significant about regulations, but I’m only 1/3 of the way through the book. So maybe my fun reading will become school too. Less likely, but still possible, it might become work.
So work is becoming school is becoming play is becoming work is becoming …
And while I know my parents have discussions where they go back and forth – one is proud of what I’ve done and the experiences I’ve had, while the other is distinctly more aware of the incredibly accomplished people my age who knew what they wanted years ago and have a much more focused resume – I always remember what I’ve noticed about the CVs of the professors I’ve admired and the industrial professionals I’ve looked up to: they’re usually missing a few years. Their resumes and CVs list their undergraduate graduation date and, with only a couple exceptions, nearly nothing can be found within five years of that date in either direction. Maybe an internship with a particularly significant politician, or a summer job at a big name company. But usually, nothing.
I often remind my friends about this while they stress about finding the perfect job today that will set them up for their dreams tomorrow. I remind them that the people we dream to become did something, presumably, for those few years, but it didn’t hold enough importance, relevance, whatever. Even just ten years out, those few post-college years became professionally irrelevant.
Obviously, I don’t want to aimlessly wander for a few years on the assumption that I can take them off my resume when I become who I want to be. I’m not squandering my immediate future because the resumes of people I idolize don’t mention that part of their lives. But I am using this reality – because it is reality – to remind myself that this is the time of my life when I should be doing what I want to be doing. This is the time when I should pursue jobs where expectations at work and the things I’m passionate about align, because that’s how I’ll get to the dream jobs I’ve always seen myself in.
And with that, I’m off to read an article that’s long been on my list of things that sound interesting. My fun list, if you will. I just put it off until an hour when I could say I read it for work, because its relevant to that too. 😉
Halloween is the epic holiday in the United States – the opportunity for people to dress up, go crazy, and not worry about it the day after (minus the hangover, of course). In college, we like to call it “Halloweekend,” although the holiday fell on Friday this year, which puts a bit of a damper in the plans of those who want to use Halloween as an excuse to party for three straight days. Fortunately, that isn’t my reason for celebrating Halloween. I like carving pumpkins and roasting pumpkin seeds, using the holiday and dressing up as an excuse to make myself a costume, hang out with friends, and generally have a good time.
Tufts has an amazing tradition, in which the Great Pumpkin Master places pumpkins all over campus. This year, he/she/they did some good work and got pumpkins all over – including the top of Carmichael Hall and the tusks of the elephant on Dowling per usual.
We carved some pumpkins, courtesy of Tufts’ Rez Life and their “alternate halloween celebrations.” What, pray tell, is “alternate” about carving pumpkins? Aren’t Jack-o-lanterns kinda the point of this orange holiday?
I swear, Claire is normal. I swear!!
After we carved the pumpkins, we brought home a lot of people’s pumpkin seeds, and then I roasted them! We have a lot of pumpkin seeds… combine them with the jelly beans still left over from the Harry Potter party and the Halloween candy we bought on a post-Halloween sale, and you’ve got a lot of less-than-healthy snacking going on in our house.
In terms of costumes, I went as Rainbowfish, complete with the colored scales all over my dress and aluminum ones to share with all my friends, as well as beautiful makeup courtesy of Amelia!
And then, of course, there’s the absolute beauty of autumn that Halloween encompasses:
Peak Weekend! It’s a thing! Technically, it’s a thing where TMC gets members to the top of all 48 4000+ peaks in New Hampshire in one weekend. I participated freshman year (Moosilauke) and went again just a week ago for take #2. It’s been over two years since I last went to the Loj, but this weekend’s trip was absolutely worth the wait. The Loj, for anyone who hasn’t been there, or who hasn’t heard of it, is the Tufts Mountain Club’s home away from home. It’s the embodiment of every stereotype regarding mountain lodges. It’s wooden and homey and has a wood burning stove and is filled with comfy couches and lots of people reading books.
Peak Weekend is particularly fabulous because it happens at that perfect time between green leaves and red leaves, between leaves on trees and leaves on the ground. When literally every way you turn, you see these colors:
Last weekend, I was lucky enough to peak both Lincoln and Lafayette, which are 5089′ and 5260′ respectively. Unluckily, both peaks were literally in the clouds, with the temperature hitting a grand old 24°, with 15-30 mph winds creating a wind chill of 15°. Needless to say, the hike was long (8.8 miles and almost 4000′ of elevation gain), and cold.
But every so often, the clouds separated a bit, the sun peeked out, and it was so beautiful that everything was absolutely worth it.
My mom was kind enough to remind me that I promised a post about apples, then followed that promise with a post … well … not about apples. So here you go, Mom. Apples, as promised.
Fall in New England means apples. And crisp morning air. And reds and oranges and yellows in the trees. And scarves and sweaters and sometimes boots. I’m a fan of New England autumn for a lot of reasons, but mostly for the apples.
A couple weekends ago, friends and I hopped in the car, drove a mere 35 minutes to the edges of suburbia, where the farmlands back up against backyards, and meandered our way through rows and rows of apple trees. I picked $20 worth of apples, and I’m just about finished with them. I had one tonight on my way to class, and even two weeks after being picked, it was way better than any apple you could get in the grocery store.
Apple picking itself is lots of fun, minus the stomach-ache you inevitably end up with as a result of eating too many apples over the course of just a few hours. But when they look this good, when they’re that crunchy, and their flesh is so perfectly white, it gets really hard to resist.
But the best part about picking apples is what you get to make with them. The day after I brought my apple haul home, I made home-made applesauce for us all. Paired with a bit of Claire’s vanilla ice cream, it made a perfect mid-afternoon snack on a beautiful fall day. Technically, though, I don’t think it was quite fall yet… Needless to say, the applesauce got eaten before photos were taken. My apologies. I’m really bad at taking photos of food that I make. But I promise it was amazing!
And then, the next day, we made pie. Which also got eaten before photographed, but it is fortunately very difficult to eat an entire pie before you remember to take at least one photo. And yes, I did buy a pie plate for this very purpose. There are plans in the works for a honey apple cake, as described on Smitten Kitchen, for which a spring-form pan was also purchased.
Every so often, you make a request that you don’t expect to be fulfilled. You ask someone to do you a favor and you fully anticipate that they’re going to say no. And when they do say no, that sucks, but you kinda get over it because you were prepared. But when they say yes, well… When they say yes you get up and dance a jig. Especially when they say yes in about five minutes.
Case in point: I’m applying for something. It needs letters of rec. The normal thing to do in this situation is to ask for a letter between 3 and 4 weeks before the due date. More than that is a little excessive; less than that is cutting it close. If you’re asking 2 weeks out, you apologize for the urgency of the situation. If you’re asking 1 week out, you look like a fool.
But what do you do if you only just found out about something because the application period only opened this weekend and the due date is Friday. Yes, Friday. Five days from now. Friday. You scream in frustration and you contact people who already have letters written for you; people who merely have to tweak the letters they’ve already written on your behalf. You pray that they don’t have a busy schedule this week.
But what do you do if the best person to write a letter for you was your internship coordinator for this summer, who has never needed to write you a letter of recommendation before? Who doesn’t already have a template in their “Letters of Rec” folder saved under your last name? You send them a very flattering, very nicely worded email in which you basically beg. And you pray that they don’t have a busy schedule this week.
Then you think about who else would write a good letter. Until your inbox chimes. Because four minutes after you sent your kind and flattering begging email, they’ve written back.
“Of course!” you read.
“Thank God!” you think.
And then, since it is midnight, you go to sleep. Or at least consider it.
This post marks the end of an era. Technically, the end of a summer. An amazing, fabulous summer filled with friends and fun and camping and the most amazing internship I ever could have asked for.
When I decided to apply for and eventually accept the internship at Forum this summer, I didn’t expect it to be what it was. I expected to go in, sit down, get some work done, go home. I expected to love it at the start of the summer, and merely like it (if even that) by the end. I expected it to be just another job that I worked on for a few months. I expected to learn a lot and meet a lot of cool people and work with a lot of radio personalities and have a good time.
But Forum was a lot more that that. I met so many amazing people at KQED who go above and beyond every single day in trying to get the most and the most interesting news to the public. They inspired me with their commitment and their critiques and their professionalism and their passion. I got to see people in a hundred different professions come through, got to talk to them and ask them questions about their jobs. (Too bad I haven’t found my perfect profession yet!) I worked on every single part of the live show process – the research, the calling, the pre-interviewing, the meeting & greeting, the screening, the reading, and the thanking. All that’s left is the actual hosting! I actually looked forward to Mondays. (I was going to continue with the amazing-ness of my summer internship, but I think that pretty much sums it up.)
So one door is closing. I said goodbye to my internship for the last time yesterday. But another one is opening. I’m leaving tonight to start my senior year. I’m super excited for all my classes, and I’m excited to be living off-campus with my three best friends.
I sent a box yesterday that weighed 22 pounds and was full of books. (Don’t worry, I sent it Media Mail, and it cost < $15.) But if you looked in that box, or you looked at my Amazon orders list, or you looked at my class schedule, you might be a bit confused. Because … well …
- Particle and Nuclear Physics
- International Relations Seminar – US Foreign Policy in East Asia
- Advanced Japanese
- Physical Chemistry
- Literature of Haruki Murakami
- African Dance
I expect this semester to be a bit difficult, to say the least. I expect Japanese and Physics to have the hardest classes and tests, Lit and East Asia to have a lot of reading and essays. I’m hoping Chemistry is easy, but we shall see. And yes, they’re all part of my majors/minor. (Except Dance. That’s just fun.)