It is International Women’s Day, the day in which we celebrate how far we have come, and look at how far we have yet to go. In the theme of this, I have decided to look at how far I have come since my days as a young women.
As a redheaded science enthusiast, school wasn’t the easiest experience for me. But if I could give 11 year old me some advice, it would be this:
1. Put your hand up
I know you hate it, you hate drawing attention to yourself and you are scared to be wrong, but don’t be. Put your hand up in class and tell the class what you think, regardless of whether it is embarrassingly wrong or not.
Boys are significantly more likely to put their hands up in a classroom or shout out their answer than girls, which can silence the female voices in the classroom.
So, throw caution to the wind, put your hand up and demand to be heard.
2. What ever you think, don’t worry – you can do it
The idea that we aren’t good at something so we should just give up is something that many people struggle with. This idea is also pretty prevalent in those from disadvantaged groups and backgrounds, leading these groups to under perform in subjects like physics, chemistry and maths.
Even though I enjoyed these subjects, I had this voice in the back of my head telling me that I was rubbish at them. Every time I got a question wrong, I would amount that to the fact that I was just not made for these subjects.
This isn’t true.
Your intellect and your abilities in a subject are not static. If you continue to practice and try different methods of learning, you will succeed in them. Don’t listen to that voice in the back of your head, don’t worry – you can do it.
3. Live a little
Young Alice, you take yourself way too seriously, have a bit more fun!
I don’t mean that you should start throwing paper aeroplanes and start racking up detentions, I mean that you should not worry so much about the future and just focus on being young.
There is so much pressure on young people to perform in schools, that 11 year old start to worry about what university they will get into, and how that will effect their job prospects and whether they will be able to afford the rent when they are older.
I know that I was victim of this trap, from a young age stressing that if I didn’t pass this pop quiz in French class that I would never amount to anything.
Calm down young Alice! Put the books down for a minute, do the things you enjoy a little more and don’t worry about the future so much.
What would you tell your younger self?