Excellence is Contagious

IMG_2420 Northwestern University Class of 2019

The week was finals week at my university and I was feeling the pressure of final exams, projects, packing, and leaving all my friends behind. On top of my academic commitments, my sorority had asked if I could set aside a day to take photos for the graduating seniors, as some of them were unable to pay for a professional photographer for the day. I had been dreading this photo shoot because I was very busy and stressed; however, the photo shoot was one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. The girls graduating brought sentimental items as props for the photoshoot such as the first Northwestern t shirt their parents had bought them after receiving an acceptance letter, the worn out novel on which one girl had written her final thesis, and a pair of rainbow shoes that one girl wore to celebrate her identity throughout her four years at Northwestern. Seeing these girls proudly reminisce on their college years and celebrate the end of an era left me in awe of their accomplishments. Using my camera to capture the pride and joy on their faces as they posed in front of the majestic library, the scenic campus beach, and the prominent Northwestern signage made me so proud of them. 

They all shared with me their plans for post graduation, from traveling through Europe to working for a law firm in downtown Chicago, to moving to New York to work with some of TV's biggest talk show hosts. They were the epitome of excellence and as an outside observer, their success made me feel a sudden urge to work harder, dream bigger, and push myself further. I learned that excellence is contagious and the excellence of my peers inspired me to desire excellence as well.

Excellence is a group effort and it is not enough to be excellent alone. From this experience, I learned the importance of community support in stressful situations. Women can not be pitted against each other; it is by seeing other's excellence that people strive for the same thing. I experienced firsthand the effects of being in a community where women celebrated each others' achievements and what happens when women build each other up instead of tearing each other down in a competition for superiority. Excellence is a community milestone, not an individual effort. 

You're a Wizard, Harry
A World with no Mirrors


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