Sunday, September 9, 2012


College? When? Where? Who is going to pay? How am I going to get a scholarship? Why would anyone want me? These questions have been haunting me ever since the day I got into High School. Not only do I drain myself by trying to find an answer, everyone who is around seems to ask me for the answer every time they have an opportunity to do so. And these question, they’re a constant reminder of the fact that I am growing up and that the future isn’t less than 3 years away. Scared isn’t a word strong enough to define my feelings about this matter. Terrified seems to be more appropriate.
My goal in terms of college is to get accepted into a strong university (if I decide to leave Brazil) or get into Federal (if I decide to stay in Brazil). I obviously understand that these are not so easily achieved and that I am aiming high; but why would I aim low? The worst thing that can happen is that I have to try again. 
My expectations for college are what any nerdy girl would expect: perfection. I envision college as perfect. In my vision, you are independent and free. You pick your own courses and choose your own time. You can get involved in many groups and teams and in the end, make many friends.   I, again, obviously know that this isn’t reality. It won’t be as perfect, it won’t be the way movie and college pamphlets make it look like, but I hope that this is somewhat close to what it will actually be like. But all this perfection that I envision is often interrupted by two things: my fears and my concerns,
Going to college is the thing that most scares me. The thought of going through SAT and IB and needing to get high grades creeps me out. The idea of leaving my whole family here in Brazil and moving to an unknown country makes me cringe. All of these thoughts run through my mind the whole day and it is the idea that I will fail at any of these that haunts me. Fail is the word I most. The thought of not having a good enough grade in the SAT and then not being accepted into any college is my worst nightmare. Not being able to stay away from my family for too long frightens me, since I know there are high chances of it being true.  Moving into a new country and not being able to adapt also worries me. Even though I study in an international school and I am very familiar with people from different cultures the idea of me being inserted into a different culture and having to adapt scares me, a lot. I am the definition of Brazilian. I am talkative, outgoing, loud and a soccer fanatic. The thought of having to leave all the people from my country, who are really similar to me in all of these aspects, scares me. Because truthfully, I don’t know if the people I meet will ever be accepting of this “Brazilian” side of me. But even though I have all of these fears haunting me, I know that going to college is my dream. Even though it turns out all of my fears might actually be true, I know that it will be my goal to overcome them and conquer my dreams through a more inspiring matter. At the end of the day, this is what I want to do with my future, and I know that this is what I will do once I leave school.
The fact that my school has given me the opportunity to learn how to be an aware citizen and academic leader is one reason why I am becoming more confident about going to college. Just in the few weeks of this course I have already become a person who would probably spark more interest in the college recruiters. For example I have been taught about the election and have watched lectures during the classes that have inspired me to look into the speeches given at the Democratic National Convention. Just the fact that an international student knows and is aware of this is probably something that would spark interest in a recruiter. Not only will being more aware of the world help me getting into college, but also developing some skills that are fundamental in an academic leader will give me an important advantage as well. For instance, if I learn the correct question to ask my recruiter and if I learn what the correct posture is to have during my interviews, I will already impress the recruiter, which would definitely help in the moment of selection.
Even though I am scared of getting into college, my fears are just a part of my dream. I am determined to get into a good college and have a bright future and I look forward to the day it happens. I am exited to learn more about the career I want to pursue and I’m also excited to learn more things each day, which will contribute to me becoming a global citizen. Like I said before, my fears are just a small part of my dream and I am determined to make my dream come true. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Analysis of Academic Leadership

"In our first two weeks, you have read several articles, seen several videos and been engaged in several discussions related to the concept of academic leadership. At this point, and in your own words, what does the concept mean to you? What subjects or interests do you have a sophisticated, intellectual understanding of that you may want to turn into a major academic project in this class? How do people sometimes abuse academic knowledge to manipulate others? How would you feel if someone used your work to manipulate others (as Jared Diamond claims Mitt Romney has)? How can creating academically sophisticated, intellectual leaders help prevent such people from taking advantage of others the way they do? How can this create a stronger democratic society?"

           During this school year, we have replaced a class named “IB Prep” by another class entitled “Academic Leadership”. At first, we the students didn't really know what this class would consist of; what they were going to teach us, or what was the school's objective with this. Were we going to hear "leaders" tell us all about how they made it to where they are? We soon learned that this class wasn't so simple. It consisted of many factors brought together to create a class to improve the class as a whole and as individuals. 
                To start off, during these first sessions we have been trying to figure out what academic leadership means. To my understanding, academic leadership consists of intellectual leadership. It encompasses you using your knowledge to improve your levels of leadership. To enhance you performance as a leader by using the most important traits you have acquired during your life and transforming it to the betterment of your followers. In a way, anyone can be a leader, but the ones who will be most successful are the ones who are not only leaders, but academic leaders as well. They will always use their knowledge to increase their quality as a leader. Something that is often misunderstood is who and what a leader is. We often have to remind ourselves that leaders aren’t only the presidents of nations or the CEO’s of big companies. Of course, they are leaders as well, but overall, anyone who uses their knowledge and skills to move forward can be a leader. Moreover, if a person can’t be a leader to a group, he or she can always find a way to be a leader of themselves. Academic leadership becomes tricky when we begin to look at people who use it to manipulate others. Leaders, specially the biggest ones, tend to do this often. A classic example would be Hitler. He was an amazing public speaker and he abused of this skill to inspire a nation to do what we consider to be one of the biggest crimes of our existence. We recently read an article in class about how Mitt Romney has used Jared Diamond’s work to manipulate others and with that use forged information about the book he has written. This is another classic example of a leader trying to use academic skills to manipulate others. This class can serve as a way to create academically sophisticated leaders and teach them of how to use the knowledge they acquire for the betterment of the society. Once we create academically sophisticated leaders, we end up limiting the amount of abuse of this resource for these new leaders will not allow themselves to be manipulated or explored. This, of course, would create a stronger democratic society, for people would understand what it is that they want and what is best for them as a group and would not, therefore allow themselves to be manipulated by a leader.

           In this Academic Leadership class we were also asked to produce a personal project in which we would explore any particular area that interests us. As our teacher put it, “any subject can be academic, if you look at it and analyze it in the correct manner.” I have thought of the subject that I want to work with extensively. The particular areas I am considering are, either creating a project around MUN and the United Nations, or looking a bit into psychology and creating a project around that, or maybe even creating a project in which I explore jazz and rock and try and find new artists that might spark a particular interest to me. I am also considering looking into photography. This is something that has always been of interest to me and I can look into how pictures reflect certain moods and alongside that, explore photo editing and Photoshop. I am super exited for this year as we go deeper into the meaning of being a true leader and exploring talents that are usually not taught, or sometimes not even valued in school.