What Does Being a Woman Mean to You?

Smile ladies, it’s International Women’s Day!

It’s so hard to put into words the beauty of being a woman and something I don’t think enough about. To me, being a woman means being me, it’s all that I know, yet, it defines so much of my world. I remember being a fifth grader and thinking to myself, I love fashion, dressing up, and feeling girly, but I don’t want to be treated like someone who does- those girls aren’t taken seriously by other people. It was a mindset that drove me to study incredibly hard, be competitive in both sports and academics, and avoid failure and embarrassing mistakes at all costs. I wanted people to recognize me for my abilities more than my girl-ish appearances- my ultimate defeat being she’s just the dumb blonde girl.

Like myself, every woman can relate to a certain struggle or challenge that they have encountered along the way. It might not even be the deep cuts, but rather the everyday, rubs. Someone referring to you as bossy rather than commanding the room. An eye roll rather than eye contact. Yet, our human experience as women binds us. We understand the beauty in our gender and the uniqueness it affords. We learn how to overcome, with the hope that one day there will be no more need to.

To me, being a woman means so many things. To be scared, brave, fearless, insecure, loud, and outgoing. To be courageous, gentle, silly, strong, and funny. To be aggressive, loving, assertive, aloof, kind, caring, and fierce.

It means being an essential part of life. It means, just like it means to be a man- to be human.

I asked women that I know “what does being a woman mean to you?” and this is what they said!

“To me, being a woman simply means being myself, being a human created in the image of God, maturing to know who God created me to be: a mother, a friend, a writer, a daughter and granddaughter and sister, a lifelong learner, a leader, a follower, an exerciser of gifts and a compensator of weaknesses – pursuing connection, pursuing truth and beauty, pursuing excellence and growth.”  – Michelle (Short Hills, NJ)

“I’d say being a woman to me is being the wonderful product of the sacrifices and acts of bravery by the women that came before me. Them being bold, free and unapologetic in their own ways, in the face of resistance and struggle led me to where I am now. I would never be where I am now if those who came before me didn’t stand up for what they believed in, and for that, I am grateful! So, I guess kind of an ode to the women from many generations ago” – Upasana (Boston, MA)

“What does it mean to be a woman to me? It means to have the qualities of a lioness: independent, fierce, loyal, brave, strong, graceful, and agile. It means having the ability to choose to be whoever you want to be in the world – to have the strength to love unconditionally.” – Lucille (Millburn, NJ)

“Being a woman means….being decent, unique human beings! It means being strong in character but balanced with a sense of fairness and compassion. It’s about believing everything is possible regardless of life’s obstacles!” – Gill (Cowbridge, Wales)

“Being a woman to me means being tenacious, compassionate and unapologetically myself.” – Disha (Santiago, Chile)

“Being a woman to me means being courages. Courageous enough to navigate this world that time and time again devalues us.” – Pamela (Boston, MA)

“Part of being a woman for me includes being able to defy the social construct society places us in and continuing to thrive beyond all limits. It means being able to voice my opinion as an equal and ensuring everyone around me has the same right. Being a woman to me means being powerful and fierce, while vulnerable and caring towards those that mean the world to me. Here’s to International Women’s Day this month and every other month because we shouldn’t need a reason to celebrate!” – Divya (Lagos, Nigeria)

“From my perspective, being a woman means being strong, intelligent and successful all while remaining compassionate, elegant and graceful. Being a woman, means achieving all you may put your mind to, despite any obstacle that comes upon your path or any limits you have been confined to. Being a woman is essential and is what completes this world for there would be no life without women.” – Fay (Kuwait City, Kuwait)

“Being a woman means I possess distinguishable, unique qualities that allow me to shine every day.” – Celeste (Wellesley, MA)

“To be a woman is to be resilient, courageous, and strong. Women are just so badass, our energy and auras are truly unmatched. I wake up every morning and truly feel blessed to not only be a strong woman, but surround myself with communities of other strong women similar to myself.” – Ivana (Orange County, CA)

“I cannot think of one word to define womanhood. To me, being a woman means being multifaceted; we are powerful forces of change. Most importantly, being a woman means being an advocate and active defender for women always.” Olivia (Washington, D.C.)

“Being a woman means having an immediate bond with total strangers; I think of the drunk girls you meet in a bar bathroom when you’re having a rough night, who wipe off your runny mascara and tell you you’re beautiful and amazing and smart and too good for whoever or whatever made you feel any less.” – Liza (Providence, Rhode Island)

“What does being a woman mean to me? I am a little embarrassed to say this but, I don’t think about it that much because of the women of the past who have fought for me to have a better life. It was about growing up learning about the inequalities between man and women, hearing stories about discrimination in school and workplace, limited opportunities for women to grow in the workforce, etc. Although discrimination still exists towards women, it has gotten tremendously better due to the past sacrifices of women. A hope that I can also fight for the rights and equalities of other groups that experience discrimination. I never through of women as being a disability because I experienced more discrimination about being Asian-American. Being a woman gives me hope that we still fight for the inequalities inflicted on women but also for the other minorities in our society; POC’s, LGBTQ+ and many more. Being a woman gives me a better hope for a more equal world for all.” – Anonymous

“I don’t really attach too much specific meaning to my gender identity, although I love being a woman, being a woman can mean whatever you want it to mean.” – Carly (Boston, MA)

“Being a woman means I need to find confidence when it’s not always easy for me. Being a woman means I may be the only person of my gender in my analytics meetings. Being a woman means I can overcome any challenge thrown my way.” – Michelle (Boston, MA)

“To me, being a woman means uplifting those around me. Society puts a lot of pressure on women to be “perfect,” but you are your own kind of perfection. Being my own perfection and showing others the perfection within them is personally what I enjoy about being a woman.” – Chelsea (Bronx, NY)

“Being a woman means that I can act like a lady, yet work like a horse. This statement to me means that I’m able to be compassionate and charismatic, yet tenacious, resilient, and capable of anything I set my mind to. It defines Persian women.” – Tara (Los Angeles, CA)

“To be a woman is to have a profound understanding of those that came before us and to forge forward with passion, purpose, and pride. It is to be as strong as you are soft; to endeavor to be equal parts grit and grace each and every day. And above all else, to be a woman is to show up, always – for your friends, your family, your loved ones, and above all else, yourself – and celebrate how far we’ve come and acknowledge how far we have to go.” Kate (Manhattan, NY)

“I am a trusted, intuitively-intelligent, caring, nurturing, brave, passionate, ambitious, confident, independent, curious, genuine, optimistic, happy, kind person. I feel strongly that too much focus on gender divides us rather than unites us.  I love being a woman, but I perceive myself as human first, heart first.  This way of being in the world attracts infinite possibilities, people and opportunities.” – Marie

“For me, being a woman means having the courage to live life by your own definition. When you overcome your fears, you realize that your power and strength comes from within. It always has.” – Elaine (Toronto, Canada)

“To me, being a woman means getting to enjoy and help display the beautifully varied ways that God has created us as people and women!” – Meredith (Brunswick, ME)

“The ultimate woman in my life is my mom. In observing the way she lives, being a woman means to me, embracing the duality that bred from living in a man’s world. Stern yet soft. Fights for what she believes in, but also forgives quickly. Fierce yet warm. Smart and generous. Protector and nurturer. I am in awe of the strength, depth, heart, and beauty of women everywhere!” – Grace (San Francisco, CA)

“Being a woman means being multifaceted. As I am growing more and more into my womanhood, I’m understanding more and more when and how to show up.” – Monia (Boston, MA)

Happy International Women’s Day!

Gua Sha – the Next Practice to Add to Your Skincare Routine

Sponsored by our “editor-in-chief of the day” winner: Luna Zhang!

刮痧: gua sha, pronounced as “gwa shah”.

Most of us have seen the words gua sha when perusing online beauty blogs and facial menus, but what does the term actually mean? How do you practice it? Where did the practice even come from?! I did a deep internet dive to answer some of the most pressing questions around this new trend in skin care, so let’s get into it. 

rose_on_Twitter-removebg-previewAccording the Health Magazine, gua means “to scrape” and sha refers to “sand or small pebbles” in Chinese, a the term that directly describes the traditional Chinese medicine practice itself. Gua sha dates back to as far as the Yuan Dynasty in the 13th century, according to Ping Zhang, DOM, L.Ac, a New York–based traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) guru, recently featured in Vogue. The practice was originally used as a home remedy to treat heatstroke and other mild illnesses, where practitioners would use knuckles, coins, spoons, and other tools on the patient’s back to increase circulation and supposedly draw out toxins. Because there was a significant amount of pressure used during the process, bruises would often form where the skin was pressed and intense red marks were left on the back. Gua sha relates to the Chinese belief in qi or chi, which needs to be balanced and flow freely to ensure good health. 

Although the recent skincare trend has adopted the same name, westerners are practicing gua sha in a very different way. In western practice, skincare enthusiasts are using the practice on their faces to drain the facial lymphatics from excess fluid, relieve facial tension, and reduce the appearance of aging as well as sculpt the face. The practice is done with uniquely shaped stone tools, which are often made out of jade or rose quartz and, when applied to the face, is done with significantly lighter pressure as to not injure or bruise. Today, gua sha has been integrated into many facial treatments, where a skin oil is applied before the stone sculpting occurs and relaxation is the goal. 

Speculators believe that the practice might have become more popular in recent years because of one’s ability to inexpensively purchase the tools and practice a gua sha routine in the comfort of their own home. As the trend of self-care has increased, so have practices like gua sha! Gua sha also shows visible results within a short period of time, which has added to the practice’s intrigue. What is great about gua sha is that it can be performed by just about anyone. However, if you are interested in giving it a try at home, make sure that you are practicing in good form!

If you want to learn how to perform gua sha at home yourself, here’s a video for you!

Tools Recommended

  1. Gua sha ritual kit
  2. Rose quartz heart facial gua sha tool
  3. Jade gua sha facial lifting tool
  4. Transforming Petite Gua Sha Butterfly
  5. Virgin Marula Oil by Drunk Elephant

Meredith King on Advice for College Students

On transitioning from being home schooled to attending Amherst University and more.

Are you in college? Going to college? Taking a gap year? Whatever it may be, you can never receive too much advice on how to maximize your time in college! When thinking about the college experience, I knew that I had to recruit my good friend Meredith King to give her take on all things higher education: what classes to take, picking a major, taking a gap year, being a student athlete- this lady does it all! College is all about exploring, trying new things, and embarking on new adventures. Arming you with all the info you need to make your journey a successful one, here is Meredith!

Meredith! Tell us a little bit about you! 

Screen Shot 2020-11-25 at 6.36.01 PMHi everyone! I’m a senior at Amherst College, double majoring in Music and French as well as doing prerequisites to go into accelerated nursing programs post-grad. I’m currently writing a historical musicology thesis looking at the transformation of French prostitute novels into operatic forms. I’m on the Amherst swim team, but I also spend a lot of time singing both in a Christian acapella group called Terras Irradient and in the Amherst College Chorus Society. One of my favorite things to do is spend whole afternoons or evenings sitting in the dining hall with friends from the Amherst Christian Fellowship playing word games or talking about life. 

What should students consider when thinking about taking a gap year?

I think it’s only worth taking a gap year if you have a concrete reason or goal for the year. A gap year can be a chance to do something exciting and different that otherwise you wouldn’t have the time to pursue,  but unless you have a somewhat solid plan, it’s easy to waste a gap year and feel like you wasted time. 

Being someone who is interested in so many different things, how did you go about choosing a major?

Terras Irradient a capella Freshman Showcase 2018 P.C. Faith Wen

I had an unusual path to choosing my major. I knew that I wanted to be a French major coming into college, I studied the language throughout high school and I wanted to continue through college. Amherst doesn’t have minors, so the languages often have few course requirements for their majors. I expected to have a double major in a STEM field since I’m pursuing a pre-nursing track, but I took a music theory class the second half of my freshman year, since I knew I was interested in music. I realized not only that I loved music but also that I loved having a balanced course schedule: one french class, one music class, and two nursing pre-req classes (STEM courses generally). It allowed me to really fully use my brain: when I couldn’t think in French any more I could turn to more concrete STEM coursework, and when I needed something more creative I could turn to music courses. Obviously my path is a slightly unique one: I’ve known what I want to do for a career (Nurse Practitioner), and so I had the freedom to do whatever I wished with my non nursing courses, which is definitely a fortunate position to be in. I’m grateful that I’ve gotten to learn how to think in so many different ways, and I think that’s something you can pursue no matter what career path you’re taking. 

What are things students should consider before deciding to join a college sports team?

I think a common misconception is that if you join a college sports team your academics will suffer. While you definitely will be committing a significant portion of time to your sport, you’ll be forced to manage your time well, and you’ll be more efficient in your academic work. Once you join a sports team (or a club with high time commitments), it can be easy to make that your entire social life. I definitely encourage branching out and finding friends with varied interests and backgrounds from you — you’ll learn a lot about yourself and about others. 

How do you go about deciding what classes to take?

For me, I really like to have a balance between STEM and non-STEM classes, that way if I’m sick of doing an online problem set I can switch and do some reading for a humanities class. Having all STEM or all reading can definitely be exhausting on the brain and make for a big slog, whereas having different types of work allows you to take a “break” from one type of work by doing work for a different class. For me, my majors and my nursing-prerequisites took up just about all of my classes, but I made sure to arrange them as evenly split across the semesters to keep that balance, but I also made sure that within the confines of what classes I needed to take, I took every chance to take classes in subjects that actually interested me. There are many French and Music classes I could take each semester, so I got to choose unique ones that actively interested me. One semester I decided that there were two music classes that I absolutely wanted to take, and so I only took one pre-req that semester to allow myself the chance to pursue courses I loved. 

How do you balance your time in college between homework, studying, teams, organizations, class, and fun?

Puerto Rico Swimming Training Trip Room Group 2020

Honestly, the best thing I’ve done for time management in college is start each week with my Monday and Tuesday assignments done, and spend the week getting work done as soon as possible after it’s assigned.  This means that no matter how crazy my days end up, if things pop up unexpectedly, I have a buffer and am never cramming to get my work done in the last seconds before a due-date. Having a buffer also means that you can go get boba with your friends on a whim, and you don’t have to decline because you’ve procrastinated your work to the last second. And sleep!!!! The more rested you are, the more focused you’ll be, and the quicker you’ll get your work done. 

What is some general advice you would give to previously homeschooled students in terms of entering college and the formal in-person classroom?

I was fortunate in that I had taken synchronous online classes with real (albeit virtual) professors and classmates, so I remarkably didn’t find the transition too shocking. I do think that the most helpful advice I have for transitioning to college (for “normal” schooled people as well) is attending office hours. Having a personal relationship with your professor, one that you start at the beginning of the semester, will only help you academically. Especially during the transition to college, it can be hard to tell what a professor is expecting for an assignment, or what they’re expecting you to know or not know for a test. Spend time in their office, ask casual questions, don’t be afraid to look silly, it will show them that you care, and it will help you learn the material the way they want you to. 

What is the best class that you have taken in college and why?

The class visiting Vienna (P.C. Faith WEN)

My absolute favorite class that I took was a music seminar titled “Vienna.” We were a class of 12: half Music majors and half German majors. We spent the first half of the semester studying various things about Vienna as a city and music in Vienna, and over spring break we took an 8 day trip to Vienna as a whole class (including our two professors!) It was a very special experience to get to study something in the classroom, and then get to really experience it, and feel the weight and valuable nature of the knowledge we acquired. And of course it was an incredible opportunity to really bond with those classmates, most of whom I barely knew before the trip. It was a very diverse group of students who I probably wouldn’t have been close with otherwise, so I’m very grateful for that experience. The second half of the semester revolved around us presenting research projects, and it was my first time writing a 20 page research paper, which was a huge help for me when deciding to write an honors thesis. 

What did you wish you knew before entering college and what advice would you give to a student entering college very soon?

I think that I was very fortunate to have my gap year: it allowed me to come into college with a pretty clear sense of what I valued and who I was, and the ways that I wanted to grow. While I met a lot of people, and I’ve continued to meet interesting people throughout college, I was fortunate to find friends my freshman year that I am still very close to, in part because I think I was able to shrug off the pressure of trying to “fit in” or needing to get to know everyone just to ensure that I’d have some friends. Of course, I was also very lucky to happen across those people my first few days, and while we clicked quickly it was a couple months before we were what I would call “close friends.” So I suppose my advice is: don’t stress about making friends, don’t just hang with a group out of fear, if you talk to someone and genuinely like them, make an effort to connect with them more deeply. And don’t stress if you don’t have close friends quickly — deep friendships take effort and come with time. 

Anything else you might want to add?

Everyone should take Intro to Psychology and Developmental Psychology! Intro Psych is so helpful and important for better understanding how people think and work, and watching my baby nephew become an almost two-year-old I’m so grateful for my Dev Psych knowledge. 

Upasana Roy on Life Advice for Recent College Graduates

Graduated? Yeah… me too.

Because I have an older brother I always benefitted from having friends who are older than me. Having these friends, I have had the opportunity to pick their brains about everything- what classes to take, how to get an internship, friend advice- you name it! My friend Upasana Roy is one of those friends who I can always count on for advice. She is open, honest, and always willing to provide a different perspective. When I went through my job search, Upasana was there to motivate and support me. Having been a college graduate for some time now, I knew that I had to get her take on the highs, the lows, and everything in between when it comes to coping with life after college. For me and many others, life after Babson has been challenging at times but also filled with hope, excitement, and adventure. For Upasana, a bit of the same. 

The biggest difference between going to college and working post-graduation for Upasana has been how you approach every day. In college, you study for tests and exams, hoping to ace your courses. If you don’t, you just try harder next time. You’re being tested on your competence and your discipline, as well as your willingness to be a team player and learn. After college, every day at work and in life can feel like a test and you really have to strive to do your best because your efforts are reflected in tangible results. Suddenly you’re faced with “adulting”, a term that’s said in humor, but is in fact so real! You’re paying bills, trying to understand your 401K and Roth IRA and navigate finding your own place, figuring out plans moving forward.


Upasana also notes that you have to consider aspects of your life that you haven’t necessarily had to concern yourself with before, like managing your finances and planning your social calendar. Upasana’s advice for you is to invest a little bit of money with each paycheck and recommends looking into Robinhood, an investment app that takes $0 in trade fees, and Public, another platform for beginner investors. In terms of your social life, after college, a big part of acclimating to a lesser degree of socialization is realizing that loneliness is a bigger part of life after college than anyone recognizes. It’s easy to take for granted how much of a bustling social life you had as a college student. It is important to foster an uber supportive set of friends to hold you up in hard times and laugh during the good times! Postgrad depression is a real problem and it is important to make a point of socializing. Be open and honest about your feelings- you are switching lives practically after all. Upasana also uses Bumble BFF, where she says you can meet some really cool people and have good conversations as well as networking events and gatherings with people that have similar interests, such as plant societies, book clubs, dance classes, or gyms! It’s important to stay friends with people and keep in touch, even if they are in different parts across the globe. Make it a point to schedule some time together. Distance shouldn’t mean anything if your friendships are real. Virtual friendships are something to be proud of!

Imposter syndrome is another aspect of post-grad life that can be unexpected for many. Women are especially known for underplaying and doubting their achievements in a workplace setting- yes, this has actually been scientifically proven. Upasana notes that college feels more like a meritocracy, where you achieve good grades when you work hard and perform well. However, in a workplace, you might be at the table with big decision-makers and leaders, but feel underqualified or underskilled in some way. Regardless, they genuinely want to know what you have to say and you bring a perspective that is unique and fresh to how things are going to work. Speak up, Upasana says, you got hired for a reason. 

But, how do you “let go” of the past, when it can be really difficult, especially for those who felt like their best self in college? *major feels*

Upasana mentions that she struggled with this a great deal. She had it ingrained in her brain that college was the best 4 years of her life, a thought process that wasn’t doing her any favors! Upasana’s best friend Divya, once said to her that “that’s no way to think! You should always think that the best years of your life are yet to come! You need to move forward and move on!” Upasana needed that snap back to reality and soon was able to let go of the negativity and perpetual feeling of “loss” that came with leaving that life behind. 

“You haven’t changed, you at your very core are the same. You are the same person, but you might be just a bit older or in a different location” Upasana wisely states. 

The trouble with graduating is that stages of your life are no longer prescribed. Next year you will not become a Senior, now you have to write your own story, while also remembering that your plans won’t always work out and things will change. It’s about changing your level of expectation to solve this problem, Upasana mentions. Always have a plan B. When Upasana lost her dad 1 year out of college, she felt really lost. One of her best friends and confidants was gone and she had a continual “what do I do now?” feeling. No matter how hard things get, Upasana learned that you will survive and having people around you to support and lift you up is extremely important! It can be family, friends, anyone you trust, have a strong support system, and close the loop by being kind to others in return. 


feat. Upansana and I (center)

Now that we have covered the challenges, let’s talk about the joys of post-grad life!

Upasana’s favorite aspects of young adulthood include the ability to control her own finances and saving money on travel and fun purchases. She also has learned to enjoy the little things more, like having dinner out with her mom or having a long phone conversation with her grandma. Upasana says that she lives slower and lighter now than ever before. Upasana has a greater sense that she is able to plan for things to come and that the world is really her oyster. She also gets a lot of enjoyment in seeing her friends transforming and evolving alongside her. 

Looking towards the future, Upasana is most excited about the uncertainty of life! She is eager to go to grad school, see where her romantic and friend relationships lead her and is motivated to get more healthy this year. More than that, however, Upasana is taking more time to reflect on what she wants for her life and the impact that she wants to leave on the world. 

“We live in such interesting times and I feel so positive about our generation,” she mentions. As long as Upasana is leading the way, I feel pretty positive about us too.

Patrick O’Hanlon on his Profession in Library Sciences

Being surrounded by books teaches you a host of life lessons.

As many of you may know, I worked as an Information Assistant at my college’s library. My experience working at the library is one that I hold in the highest regard. I enjoyed so much helping others find books and recommending my favorite reads to students. I also found it fascinating to witness our library’s transition from majority print resources to shifting towards more digital resources. Our world is changing at such a rapid pace that it becomes increasingly important to prioritize asking why these changes are occurring, what our future will look like, and how we fit into this new normal. It was such a great pleasure to speak with Patrick O’Hanlon, who works in the Library Sciences, to hear about his unique career journey as well as his take on the future of print.

Patrick! Please share a little bit about yourself!

What was your major in college and how did your academic experience guide your professional endeavors?

During undergrad studies, my major was Speech Communication with a minor in Media Production. It’s a very broad major, but I supplemented it with internships and a variety of jobs. I was a jack-of-all trades after receiving my bachelor’s degree, and just after graduation, I bounced around more than I’d expected. The biggest change happened after I lived abroad for a year and then returned to find a media job in academia. That position helped me form my personal life and gave me stability.

Did you always know that you wanted to work in library access services or have a career trajectory towards library and information science?

Working in library sciences was something that I was drawn to as a career change. My personal life had the chance to grow because of the steady job I found at Suffolk University. The reliability of the workplace was comfortable, and while I did pursue other projects outside of work, it became clear that my existing skills weren’t going to afford me any new opportunities to advance my career in the visible future.

While discussing it with Lynn, my wife, my propensity for organization kept resurfacing, and I applied for the Masters of Library Science program at Simmons College, which has since become a university. Once I was accepted as a part-time student, it took four years to finish the program. Taking graduate classes – even one at a time – with a full-time job, doesn’t afford the same kind of tight-knit experience that undergrad does. You make connections and collaborate with great people, but you’re all quickly pulled in different directions with life’s other obligations being based almost entirely off campus.

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How did you ultimately end up working for Babson?

After graduation, it took about nine months of searching after finishing my Masters before I made my way to Babson. Simmons is one of the best library science schools in the country and offers its graduates great resources for job placement. It was finding my way through my own personal boundaries that became the real challenge. My family is mostly in the Boston area and Lynn also has a very serious career here, so picking up and moving somewhere new simply to apply my new degree was not in the cards.

I had been to Babson’s Wellesley campus on an occasion or two in the past, and as a visitor, it had just seemed like a picturesque college. Returning with the possibility of working in the library opened up the highlights of the business community for me, and the entrepreneurial spirit of the community is inspiring. The students want to not only do well for themselves, but also to build the future. Entrepreneurship is the long lever that they have found that really can move the world. This was a place I was intrigued to be a part of, and it’s fantastic to contribute to an constantly evolving institution.

What about your job is most engaging to you?

It’s the academic setting of the Horn Library that is one of the appealing things about working at Babson. It is a community of people who believe in changing the world for the better. The students and teachers here are the stars. My role as a librarian and a manager is a supporting one. The technical aspects of working in a library can be picked up rather quickly, and it is absolutely about making the library serve the community,

What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

The ongoing, but welcoming, challenge is managing people. Oh, and scheduling. (My god, the scheduling!) The student employees are more often the day-to-day face of the library and report to me. As a manager of people who are in one of the first jobs early in their work life, it’s about encouraging them to trust their problem solving abilities and then recognizing the teachable moments when difficulties occur that will help them navigate as professionals in careers well beyond library customer service.

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Do you have a favorite book or author?

One of the books that made an impression on me just after college was the memoir “A Pirate Looks at Fifty” by Jimmy Buffett, the musician. (Two things to be noted are that his personal worth is currently estimated to be around $600 million and that he has no relation to Warren Buffett the investor.) Here is someone who took a very basic skill that he learned in college during his spare time – playing four chords on a guitar – and parlayed it over decades into one of the best-known entertainment careers of the Baby Boomers’ generation. His public journey was far from certain and even a performer’s career comes with unexpected indignities in tow. His music isn’t complex and hasn’t won many awards in spite of the widespread popularity of its heyday, but he measures his success in the reception he and his bandmates receive from fans when they perform. The reflections he has in the book show that even with the adventures he’s been afforded, no job compensation or perk is worth the effort if you can’t give yourself fully over the day-to-day of what you do or if you don’t love who you share your private time with once the crowd goes home. (His pro tip for future parents: hone your pancake-making skills.)

How is the field of information and the way that libraries function changing and what do you see the future of libraries looking like?

Libraries are undoubtedly leaping towards a more digital future, but they won’t be entirely digital. Digital resources are the supercar of knowledge. They can get you where you want to go faster than anything that has come before, but you still need people to drive it. Storing and encouraging knowledge is what libraries are here to do. Librarians are never themselves going to be omniscient repositories, but they can be the sherpa guides who know the territory to get you where you want to go. Libraries will be where the digital and human worlds of education meet.

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Will print ever die?

The question of whether or not print will ever die is a perennially relevant question. The short answer is no, even as we’ve come to rely on digital exponentially more during the pandemic. Is it changing? Absolutely. People freaked out that oral tradition was going to die and intelligence would dim with the written word becoming more common back in Socrates’ day. The Gutenberg Printing Press made books more accessible than any time before and there was concern that people would devalue the skill of reading. Now we’re well into racing along another iteration of how people disseminate and consume information, and any rapid, systemic change is unsettling. Paper is certainly less efficient for rapid delivery and is becoming less day-to-day, but it will still be an important part of how we consume and store information long term. Studies have shown that, as individuals, we retain information better when we read analog print, and there isn’t yet a digital tablet that has the battery life or storage medium to outlast paper and ink.

What about the future personally excites you?

Today’s students are approaching the world with an eye toward making the whole work better for everyone. It’s a spirit of leadership that will take advantage of some of the best technologies we’ve ever had to solve problems. I look forward to seeing the inventiveness of the classes of students I’ve watched pass through campus come into their own and show just how much they can do.

❤️ Valentines Day Gifts to Say I Love You ❤️

Ditch the basics this year, it’s 2021.

Love is in the air- just the way I like it! I love Valentines Day so much, finally a day I get to express to those in my life how much I love and care for them without feeling weird about it! Not to mention, all my favorite things in one day, love, friends, family, and gift giving. My mom is the one who has instilled a love for the holiday in me. Growing up, she used to celebrate the Valentines Day in a big way for me and my family, setting our table with a red table cloth and heart confetti. Everyone received chocolates and a little treats. And when it came to sharing valentines with my classmates in Elementary school, my mom and I would sit at our kitchen table and hand-make paper hearts with personalized messages in them- if you were my crush in the 5th grade, you definitely received more hand-drawn glittery hearts in your valentine. To help inspire you this Valentines Day, I have put together some gift ideas to say “I love you”. But, when in doubt, just say “I love you,” that will easily surpass any of these ideas for sure.

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If you love candy like I do, this Sugarfina candy bundle is meant for you- or your loved one to buy for you! My personal favorites are the champagne gummy bears and the peach bellini hearts, but Sugarfina has tons of sugary options to choose from, so if its not this bundle, another will suit perfectly. Everyone loves to receive something sweet on this day. A kiss to go with it might not hurt either.   

Venus et Fleur Classic Bundle

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It’s always lovely to get flowers on Valentines Day, but getting flowers that last for an entire year, is even better! This Venus et Fleur classic bundle rose and candle set is the perfect gift if you are looking to spoil your loved one all year long. Despite being delicately preserved, the roses still retain a fragrant and sweet smell, so you don’t have to sacrifice anything for this special flower treat. A 10/10 gift in my book. 

Decoder Heart Valentine Card Stationary Set by Paper Source

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Everyone loves receiving a personalized note in the mail for special events and Valentines Day is no different. Throw some excitement into the mix with this “decoder” stationary set to write secret messages to your admirer. Gifts are meant to be equally sentimental as they are fun and surprising. This stationary set ticks all of the right boxes. Plus, who wouldn’t want to dawn those groovy 2000s 3-D style glasses to decode the message? 

Glitter Eye Mask by Ulta

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Being in love is hard, but someone’s gotta do it! Gift this glittery gel eye mask to your love or treat yourself! This eye mask is perfect to pop in the fridge and take out to help you de-puff and hit the relax button. Pair it with your favorite skincare mask and put your feet up. Let’s be honest, this Valentines Day should be as much about self love too!

Polaroid Camera by instax

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I love taking pictures to capture memories of some of my favorite moments with friends. Capturing those fun times with a Polaroid makes it all the better, as you don’t have to stress about getting the perfect angles or making sure you’re smizing. You simply take the picture and let the chips fall where they may! It’s also perfect because your picture develops right after you capture it. Polaroids for everyone! 

Stemless Wine Glasses and a Vinebox Wine Club Subscription

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When I first saw these stemless wine glasses I thought to myself “this is how shopping addictions start”. They are absolutely gorgeous and pair nicely with any wine club subscription, such as Vinebox. You can never have too many glasses or too much wine in the house, so this seems like the most responsible gift. 

Doordash their Favorite Food

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Having surprise food delivered to your house is like finding a surprise letter in the mail. You didn’t know it was coming and now your entire day has been made. This year, surprise your love with a box of cupcakes, a pizza, bubble tea, or even a whole cake delivered straight to their door. This is especially great because you can pre-pay for it all and schedule the order in advance, letting Doordash, UberEats, or any other food delivery provider take care of the rest. No more hungry bellies on Valentines Day! 

Smallest Love Letter Charm by Catbird 

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Catbird is the epitome of cuteness. Every jewelry piece that they sell is delicate and adorable and this love letter charm is no exception. Custom engrave this piece to include a sweet message and your loved one’s name or address. Better yet, get a matching necklace for you and your bestie. Honestly, the possibilities are endless here.

 Flowers by UrbanStems

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Sending roses in 2020- fine- sending roses in 2021-basic. This arrangement by UrbanStems is so unconventional and special to make any loved one take a double take. This hand-dyed, dried arrangement is a perfect way to communicate your undying love (wow, that got dramatic). The soft, pink hue of this arrangement will bring a smile to your face when you see it every day. That, I am sure of. 

Rose Facemask by Fresh

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Yup, this is one to gift yourself as well as your loved one. Roses are nice to receive in a traditional format, but imagine someone gifting you a rose face mask and saving your skin by hydrating and toning it all at once!? If someone looks after your skin for you, they definitely care for you. Now, that’s true love. 

What are some of the ways you are treating your loved ones this year?

My 10 Favorite Cheesy Movies from the early 2000s

It just can’t get any better than a throwback movie and a bucket of popcorn!

Let’s face it, there is something about a movie that was made in the early 2000s that hits all the marks. You want a movie with laughs (check), romance (check), something your guy friend will still enjoy (check), and a compelling storyline (check)? A movie made during this time will ultimately please. Don’t worry I didn’t spoil any endings, although it was so hard not to! …In no particular order, here are my ten nostalgic favorites.


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Made in 2004, this teen classic is not to be missed. Sleepover is packed with unexpected twists and turns along the way, tracing a group of middle school girls- yes, they definitely look older than I did in middle school- who embark on a scavenger hunt, racing against the clock against the “popular” girls. The goal of the scavenger hunt? To win the coveted fountain lunch spot in high school. Their journey is heartfelt and sentimental, and there is enough comic relief to get any doubter through the movie. Jeff Garlin, who plays protagonist Julie’s dad, is especially funny as well as frenzied police chief Sherman played by Steve Carell. If you need a laugh, a cry, or a journey to a simpler time- where games mean war and scrunchies are in- this movie is just right. 

Josie and the Pussycats

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The fashion is to die for. The music is funky and nostalgic. The underlying theme about commercialism is more progressive for its time than could be predicted. I mean..need I say more? Based on the popular 1970s cartoon under the same name, Josie and the Pussycats features a band of musicians whose aim is to make it big in the music industry. However, when they do land on the top of the charts, they realize that there is more to their music than what meets the ear. Yet, with friendship and passion at the center of their group, there is no telling what these kitty cats can achieve, even if it means breaking convention. If that isn’t convincing enough, just watch it for all of the unstoppable 90s inspired looks. 

What a Girl Wants

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Colin Firth is in this movie and if that isn’t convincing enough I don’t know what is! Amanda Bynes plays leading lady Daphne Reynolds as she navigates life in London, where she locates her birth father and attempts to find her way in British society, despite being raised in Chinatown, New York City. Daphne plays such an incredibly likable character, you’ll find yourself cheering for her throughout the entire film. Her clumsiness, which I can personally relate to, reassures me that sometimes it is much more compelling to live life in your own skin than pretend to be something more pleasing to others. 

Wild Child

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Wild Child is one of those movies I could watch again, and again, and again. I know what to expect every time, but the novelty of watching the movie never wears off. If you are like me, and wish you attended a British boarding school, you are sure to enjoy this one. The movie walks you through the trials and tribulations of being an uprooted, spoiled Californian at a conservative British boarding school and showcases how friends can be made during the most challenging circumstances. Throw in love interest Alex Pettyfer and you have yourself a pretty perfect teen flick. We all love a girl gang, we all love thrift store outfit montages, and we all love a forbidden romance. Transitive property, we all love this movie. 

Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen

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Who would have thought that Lindsay Lohan could have two smash hits in one year, but she did! Playing the new girl in school, once again, Lindsay embarks on adventure after adventure, whether it be landing the school musical’s leading lady, stealing costumes from the dressing room, or sneaking into a famous band’s after party. The soundtrack also is not to be missed, epitomizing those early 2000s sounds filled with electronic guitar and heavy drums. A combination of musical and teenage romcom movie, this is always a go-to. Yes, I might also have this one in CD format. 

Mean Girls

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Mean Girls is a cult classic movie that has engrained itself into American culture in astonishing ways- so much so that Mean Girls Day even has its place on the calendar (It’s October 3rd). Lindsay Lohan, who plays the movie’s protagonist Cady, is the new girl in town who joins in the “Mean Girls” clan in order to bring down the group, operating from the inside. By exploiting each member’s weaknesses, Cady begins to break the friend’s strong bonds and inherent high school “coolness”, but it comes at a steep price. If you want to know what all the hype is about, set aside and hour and a half and immerse yourself in 2000s teen culture. 

Miss Congeniality

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Are you looking for action, adventure, pageantry, and a whole lot of laughs? In almost everything I watch, this is a go-to list of requirements, making Miss Congeniality a personal favorite. Sandra Bullock plays an “unladylike” undercover agent who is forced to compete in a Miss America pagent to uncover pagent criminals that are hiding in plain sight. If you love transformations and montages as much as I do, this movie will surely not disappoint. Again, if you early 2000s love outfits, this one is for you. It’s a pagent for crying out loud!

The Devil Wears Prada

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The Devil Wears Prada is another cult classic that is genuinely iconic. Meryl Streep plays boss lady Miranda Priestly in the movie, who is rumored to be modeled after the Editor-in-Chief of Vogue, Anna Wintour, alongside her struggling assistant Andy, played by Anne Hathaway. The movie chronicles the plight of Miranda’s assistant, as she tries to navigate both the world of high fashion and an incredibly demanding boss. At the outset, Andy scoffs at the fashion world, but slowly her secure footing on the matter begins to slip, as she encounters the incredible perks of looking shiny and undercutting those around her. Want to know how this one ends? You’ll just have to watch to find out!

The Holiday

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The Holiday is hands down one of my favorite movies and has been for quite some time. Jude Law is gorgeous, Kate Winslet is, well, Kate Winslet, and Cameron Diaz and Jack Black play incredibly genuine characters that complete the cast. The movie is about two women who decide to run away from their problems by swapping houses over the holidays and, essentially, their lives as well. There is a fragility and rawness about the story that is heartwarming and incredibly relatable. The movie is a great reminder that life does not have to be perfect to be special. Sometimes, it can just be.  

13 Going on 30

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If you are as much of a Jennifer Garner fan as I am, then this movie is not to be passed up. Jennifer plays the 30 year old version of Jenna Rink, a middle schooler who is dying to be 30 to escape her tormented youth in the 80s. Bringing her youthful mentality to her new life as a successful, wealthy adult, Jenna sees the joys of her newfound adulthood, but also realizes the price she has had to pay in order to achieve her dreams. It’s heartwarming, it’s funny, and the fashion is as trendy now as it was in 2004. Bring the tissues for the heartfelt ending!

CEO Sit Down: Sara Ferrer on Zoey Koko

Inspiring girls everywhere to prioritize self-care with whimsical body products.

Sara Ferrer always knew that entrepreneurship was her destiny. Going to Babson further instilled in Sara an eagerness to build something of her own that embodied her true passion. Nearing graduation, however, Sara had encountered a fork in the road. She wanted to explore her entrepreneurial bug, but also needed real-world job experience. Sara decided to start a job at TJX as an analyst. The long days behind a computer screen, coupled with a lack of passion, made her realize that after 2 years, the corporate grind simply wasn’t for her.

Screen Shot 2021-01-01 at 8.46.24 PMSara had always loved makeup, skincare, and beauty. She researched the spa industry and found a local 1200 hour esthetics program that would allow her to pursue her dream of becoming a medical esthetician. Sara’s day went from desk work at TJX to performing chemical peels, facials and waxing in a more social and dynamic atmosphere. When making the career change, Sara looked to her mom for inspiration. At 49 years old, her mom had transitioned from her 25 year corporate career to her dream job of becoming a high school Spanish teacher. Sara felt that her career change was a similar leap into the unknown and her mom’s journey was motivation to push forward.  

As a medical esthetician, Sara felt that she had fully tapped into her desire to make people feel good with her treatments. However, as time progressed, Sara noticed an alarming trend in the industry.  As beauty treatments promised faster and more dramatic results, women were fed media messages that created a “quick fix” beauty culture.  This, in turn, created rampant negative self-talk amongst her female clients. Sara started to question her role in providing help for these women, asking herself questions like “am I creating more goodness or darkness in the world by doing these procedures?” and “where is the point at which women go from feeling unstoppable to being incredibly insecure?” More importantly, Sara noted that many of her clients were mothers to young girls who were also starting to experience self-doubt and insecurities. This vicious cycle worried Sara.

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Sara was then thrust towards another fork in the road. She could either continue to develop professionally and expand her medical skin treatment offerings or she could venture into the unknown once again. 

In thinking more about the root cause of the insecurities that she and her clients experienced, Sara realized that developing a positive self-image starts at a young age. During the tween years and younger, girls experience lighting fast social, emotional, mental, and physical changes. This can be a vulnerable time where self doubt starts to creep in. This is also a time when girls are introduced to the concept of self-care. Sara observed through her research that “For a girl, self-care is about social bonding, sleepovers with giggles, smelling lotions, and testing out nail colors- figuring out your own tastes, preferences, and uniqueness”. Sara noticed that there were exciting products for this age range on the market, but they had horrible, synthetic ingredients. She paired her knowledge of skincare chemistry with her passion for the healthy social and emotional development of girls and decided to start her own company, Zoey Koko.  Her business would specialize in tween bath and body products that are made in the USA, formulated with clean ingredients for sensitive skin, fun to use and featured uplifting messaging on all of their packaging. Who wouldn’t want to buy a body lotion for their daughter that is “infused with girl power” or a bio-glitter sparkle gel that is “infused with imagination”, as the label states?

Sara tested her products with hundreds of girls, showing her products at gymnastics events and girl scout spa events. Wherever she could get a trusted girl’s or mother’s opinion, Sara found the opportunity to refine and perfect her products. With a tried and tested product line, Sara had the confidence to drive to 50 retail stores around the Boston area to pitch her products, bringing her best selling unicorn body butter and a positive attitude. Can’t believe it? Sara did all of this, while still working full-time at the spa. 

From there, Sara continued to grow Zoey Koko by hosting mobile spa birthday parties for girls ages  6 to 12 year olds that centered around  spa day activities, such as facials, manicures, pedicures and a DIY craft. Sara’s mission was to sell her products, but also to provide an opportunity for young girls to foster happy memories around beauty, self-care and bonding. 



Although she has not been able to host any product parties due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sara is optimistic in her business surviving great adversity, as she has surmounted great obstacles in every year of her business. 

“My first year of business was all about figuring out what I was doing. My second year was about honing in on my pitch and getting my products into retail stores. This year, my third year, has been all about expanding my e-commerce business,” Sara mentions. 

Just this past year, Sara has hired a new website designer to streamline the ZoeyKoko.com user experience, continued to test the market for future product releases, and looked to expand her products into more retail stores with the help of a toy sales group. And all of this hard work has paid off, as Zoey Koko landed a new deal with luxury children’s boutique Maisonette, and  tripled holiday sales projections. Add on to this the partnership opportunity Zoey Koko has with the e-commerce platform CityHome, as well as the cult following her shop has on Etsy and things are running full steam ahead. Her company has also made a significant impact in their contribution to the Big Sister Associate of Greater Boston, as a  percentage of the company’s profits are donated to this charity that Sara is incredibly passionate about.

For Zoey Koko, the future looks glittery, whimsy, and bright. And for the future of young girls? Things look optimistic, as Zoey Koko inspires imagination, confidence and positivity through the whimsical self-care products they provide. The brand’s mission of having girls everywhere “feel smiley in their skin” has only just begun.  

Ask Adam: Questions Everyone Asks their Therapist (Part III)

Answering all of your pressing therapy questions in the comfort of your own home.

There are some questions that everyone wrestles with at night when all of the lights go out. Why did that girl reject me? How do I stop constantly comparing myself to others? How come I lack confidence? I have recruited Dr. Adam Brown to help you answer some of those questions in our last part of our three part therapy series. I hope that this series has been an incredible resource for you and maybe encouraged you to think about seeking out therapy. You are never too young, too old, too smart, too lost, or too anything to begin therapy! And all it takes is saying to yourself “I need a bit of help”.

How do you consult people who have self doubt and a constant comparison to others?

The truth is that everyone has their own baggage and it is so easy to project how wonderful others have it. Yet, it is important to note that there are also plenty of people that have what we have and are content. However, this does not mean that the issue is not a complicated one. We want to encourage ourselves to be ambitious, but if the pursuit is not making us happy and the goals aren’t clear, we won’t feel better about ourselves. 

If you are perpetually someone who is looking for external validation, it might suggest that there is some unresolved grief, trauma, or depression that you should explore with a professional. Moving to the tropical island because life looks so great there is most likely going to leave you with a sunburn, itchiness from the sand, and missing home. 

How do you help a client with low confidence?

Fake it till you make it works, but it matters how much you are faking it. You have to go out and get yourself business clothes if you are working in business, but if you don’t know how to put business clothes on, it’s a problem. Similar to those who compare themselves to others, if you have low confidence, you have to pick some specific goals to work towards. My job is often helping people explore the things that are most important to them and siloing pieces of their life to focus on certain areas. I help some people get really focused on what they want and why they want it. If you want to move to Hawaii, talk to people that live there! Let’s just figure it out, step by step. Where do you see yourself in a month? I make it a rule not to set goals with a client more than 90 days out. Looking too far into the distance isn’t going to help you put one foot in front of the other today. Of course, it is important to have some long term goals, but what can we manage right now? What is it that you want and what measure we use to know that you’ve achieved it?

How do you help a client overcome rejection?

Rejection is a horrible feeling and the first thing to do is simply acknowledge the truth and reality of that. It isn’t ever helpful to say “just get over it,” but rather “what piece of the rejection do I own and what was out of my control?”

If you were applying for a job and maybe they already had a candidate in mind or the casting director was looking for a taller person for the role. Owning what is yours and really letting go of what is out of your control is so important in moving forward. One thing not to do is to beat yourself up over the other person’s impression of you. In a relationship, if you feel the compulsion to confront the other person about the rejection, it’s important to be prepared for an unthoughtful and unsatisfying answer. 

What constitutes a good relationship and what steps can you take to achieve one?

Communication, communication, and communication; I cannot say it enough. You don’t have much of a relationship if you don’t have respectful and constructive conversations with the other person. Here are some quick pointers that I live by when it comes to conflict resolution:

  • Be aware of your positionality or role in the relationship
  • Be aware of your tone
  • Understand what you want to get out of the conversation as well as what the other party desires, the baggage they are carrying, their motivations, and their perspective
  • Be specific in what you are looking to gain from the conversation
  • Speak in the first person, use “I” to say how you think, feel, and what you heard, not “you” to tell the other person what they think, said, or did. 
  • It is O.K. to express personal emotion in regards to the conflict, but make sure those emotions are relevant to the situation.  

Conflict in a relationship is healthy, and even necessary. Conflict avoidance is a slow death to a relationship. If you don’t have conflict from time to time, you aren’t being honest with each other.

About Dr. Adam Brown

Follow Adam on Twitter @adamofbruce

Screen Shot 2020-12-13 at 2.15.18 PMAdam Brown, Ph.D. is an assistant professor at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, City University of New York and a psychotherapist in private practice. His research has appeared in a variety of scholarly journals, including “Children and Youth Services Review,” “The Journal of Interpersonal Violence,” and “Sexual Abuse,” and he is an invited presenter multiple times annually at clinical and scholarly conferences internationally. His research has been featured in Rueters, Yahoo!, and Fox news, and he has appeared as an invited expert for comment on events in a variety of media outlets, including for “The City” in New York City, and the “Shanghai Media Group” (SMG) in China.

Dr. Brown is an expert consultant for Park Dietz and Associates in Newport Beach, CA, and a consulting clinician at the Institute for Sexual Wellness in Weymouth, MA. He received his doctoral degree at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration and his Master of Social Work from Smith College School for Social Work.