Stand up, freshmen women
The second week of my freshman year, I applied to five leadership positions, and successfully earned four. My secret? No other women were applying. Of my roommates, I was the only one actively pursuing leadership on campus. I quickly became the “involved” friend, rounding out the personalities in my six-man group. (Though I did try—and fail—to be the chill, going-out girl).
The next year, I attended a lecture at Harvard University given by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook. “Stand up,” she implored the all-female audience, “if you have ever said out loud ‘I’m going to run my own company’ or ‘I’m going to be the president of the United States.”
I remained seated. Stationary, and in a moment of desperate inner crisis, I remember asking myself, what does that mean about me as a leader? I do want to run my own company…I could be President. Should I stand up?
Women of the class of 2019, congratulations. You’ve stood up again and again, as presidents of your high school class, as soccer captains, as founders of non-profits, organizations, and companies of your own. You’ve stood up as you took multiple AP courses, ACT/SAT prep classes, and applied to many universities. You probably stood up as you were crowned Prom Queen, Valedictorian, or whatever other royalty your high school offered.
Now that you’re at Boston College, you may think you’ve made it. But freshmen, don’t sit down yet.
In fact, your work has just begun. This is especially true for you, as a female first-semester student. A March 2011 report from the Princeton Steering Committee on Undergraduate Women’s Leadership found that “the start counts.” The findings further conclude, “that the first weeks on campus are crucial for women: an early willingness to step forward as a leader will lay the groundwork for future opportunities.”
Boston College has God, not the Greeks, so you won’t have sisters to mix with or a Big to bring you to a Mod party. Our Kappa Kappa Gamma is just Appa—Appalachia Volunteers. It’s Tri-Delt opposition is 4Boston. “Rushing” comes in the form of competitive, essay-based applications with group and individual interviews.
Consequently, you must be active, ambitious, and purposeful in joining and leading extracurricular activities. You must stay standing up.
By doing so, you will position yourself as a leader on campus, whether that be the next female UGBC president or WOM forum leader.
Take this example: Alexis Teixeira (CSOM ’17) joined Women in Business as a freshman representative. With the support of WIB, she initiated and executed the first Boston College Women’s Summit: Own It. This year, she serves as President of Women in Business to over 900 undergraduate women at Boston College.
Alexis achieved this by saying out loud, “I want to be President,” and then standing up to prove why she deserved the role.
So, to the women of the class of 2019: stand up now. Because before you know it, you will be a SWUG, or even worse: an alumna.
Caela McCann graduated cum laude from Boston College in May 2015. After standing up on Mod tables all of Senior Week, she spent her summer laying down.