Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Making a good point

In the most recent edition of The Chronicle, Lindsay McCalmont wrote a great article on how young girls are often driven away from careers in what is considered male dominated fields. In the math, science, engineering, and technology fields women are definitely a minority.  Personally, I find this alarming.  What a waste of talent.  There are a lot of girls who like science (math, tech., etc.)  in elementary school, they still like it middle school and then something occurs in high school.  While there are still numerous young women who engage in these fields of study it seems as if something occurs that drives them away.  Is it the good ole boy club mentality? Is it salaries? Are they not appreciated?  Is it not cool? I'm not sure.  Then when I read Kelly Noriega's blog post this week I saw even more evidence as why young women may be making decisions because they sort of "cut" themselves.

"I ended up deciding to take all the honors and AP courses I could, because hey that looks good for college applications right?


I would be lying if I said I regretted taking the courses I did this year because they showed me a lot about who I am and what my limits are. They also opened a lot of opportunities for me for the future, yet I wish I would have known all of this while I was scheduling my classes, instead of just thinking about what is going to look good for college."


Kelly raises an interesting question.  And in her blog she not only raises the question she attempts to answer it.  Kelly said she gave into peer pressure.  At least it was academic peer pressure.  But when I look around at students making decisions about their college future sometimes you have to wonder are they really thinking it through?

In Malcolm Gladwell's recent book David and Goliath, Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, Gladwell talks about a young woman who was faced with a similar predicament.  In the end the young woman decided to abandon her pursuit of a career in a field that she had dreamt of since childhood.

Now you'll have to read the book if you want a better understanding of the point Gladwell is trying to make.  So what's my point - I'm not sure if I have one but sometimes maybe it is important to avoid even academic peer pressure and do what you feel is best for you.  However, AP courses and honors courses are vital components in college preparation so challenging yourself may be more important than the grade. The workload and material in AP courses resemble what you may experience in a college course. 

I was really impressed with Kelly and Lindsay's opinion on these topics and Lindsay's article about women who are trying to break the mold.  Lindsay has a great interview with an AP Science teacher in her article.  It is worth reading.  I think a lot of high school students can identify with these two writers.  Check 'em out - you'll find it is time well spent.  Who knows you might be inspired?

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