When I Grow Up, I Want to Be a…

Updated: Jan 31

Sponge.


At least that’s what Kathleen Dunlap, CEO of Girls Who Invest, urged me to be today after I toured Urban Outfitters HQ in Philadelphia with 29 other girls; leading a faux analyst meeting with Oona, the Director of Investor Relations; talking with Wellington Management portfolio managers and analysts at their Radnor Office; and soaking in all the knowledge and incredible inspiration these professionals had to offer us as part of GWI, a two-year-old program whose mission is to have 30% of the world’s investable capital managed by women by 2030. The founder, Seema R. Hingorani, is—in her own words—a “gently persistent,” “doesn’t take no for an answer” woman who walks with a cane but with a conviction so grounded in calm confidence that her cane is more like a success-battered crown and her slow gait a powerful statement overflowing with nonlinear life experiences. She has the kind of conviction that gives you a sense of purpose too. The kind of confidence that makes you feel good about the world but also pushes you to want to make it better.


And that’s what Girls Who Invest is all about. That’s who I am this summer, and potentially, who I will be for years to come. This program is about providing women like me with the resources and the support to “change Wall Street culture. To “make an impact, every day, in every industry because every problem in the world needs money to help solve it.”


But before I can do that, I must be a sponge. A sponge that soaks everything up: every comment made by the professors, speakers, and the 59 other girls who were accepted into the program; every controversial statement; every lesson on buyside/sellside, security evaluation, net present value, discounted cash flow, annuity and perpetuity, and all the other jargon that will hopefully no longer be jargon by the time I head to The Carlyle Group later this summer for my private equity internship in the healthcare sector. (Yes, that was an impossibly long and wordy sentence—one that would probably horrify my favorite English teachers—and I purposely made it so because it perfectly encapsulates my anxiety, confusion, excitement, and cluelessness as to what, exactly, I’m getting myself into. Hopefully I’ll find out by the end of the summer.)


But before a sponge can soak everything up, it must first squeeze out whatever was housed in its shell before.


And that includes all of the experiences I’ve had within the past six months that I tell myself I have been too busy to write about on this public blog. (I often want to sound “perfect” to an audience in published posts, but this desire is honestly hypocritical—and simply impossible—to achieve as someone who writes to explore her own life, reflecting and criticizing and praising parts of her journey only to end up with more questions than answers. And that’s the point, right? To always have something to chase after, to discover again and again.)

But it is time to squeeze everything out, quickly, smoothly, “gently persistent”ly.


My nod to the cascade of events and the coterie of people who have mixed my half-filled (somewhat)bitter(butmostly)sweet cocktail of 2017. My glass raise to the memories that have made the past few months fly by too quickly, turning the impossibly long present into paper-thin presents of the past. My highlight of the days that danced with personal discovery, turning my daily journal into a daily high.


So here it is: a laundry list of things I still want to write about for my blog—for me— hopefully soon. So I can continue soaking things up like a sponge until the next fresh squeeze.

  1. my second semester at NYU

  2. Teach for America

  3. living in NYC (Lion King for $4, sushi for $40?)

  4. Woadze Tsatoe reflection post (an extension of my previous blog posts about this transformative course and experience with Stern International Volunteers)

  5. studying abroad in Prague next fall (!!)

  6. co-editing The Call (2018)

  7. friends who have kept me sane and alive and me

  8. food adventures

  9. food blogging

  10. food Instagramming

  11. food Exceling (excelling in Excel??)

  12. hip hop with my Synchronic family

  13. missing my old dance family

  14. Elaine’s college graduation (!!!!!)

  15. spending time with my parents; realizing that I’ll have less and less time

  16. Girls Who Invest (after the program ends)

  17. my family history, We Gon’ Be Alright by Jeff Chang, race relations between blacks and Asians, and Asian in-betweenness as told through the voices of my parents

  18. poetry, just because I miss it

  19. eating animals (Note to Self: Why do I talk about food so much…I should really just be a food studies minor and live and eat happily ever after.)

  20. anything else I’ve forgotten in this blog post, aka what I want to do with my time, all the time

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