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I never set New Year’s resolutions. Ever.

The idea of waiting for one specific moment to make changes to our lives seems odd to me. Why should we wait for the new year to better ourselves? Why not take action as soon as possible? By lumping all of our hopes for the future to a specific point in the year, we make them seem unfeasible and discouraging. Instead, I try my best to set goals sporadically throughout the year. This has proven effective for many smaller goals I have set, but there is one that I just haven’t been able to achieve: being more spontaneous.

One of my best friends is constantly telling me that all it takes is 20 seconds of insane courage to do something great. This quote has become her mantra, but I, on the other hand, am a person who tends to err on the side of caution. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s important to be prudent when making choices, but it is also important to remember not to hold yourself back. This has come up a lot during my time in high school, most notably in service projects I’ve done. I appreciated the work we did, but I always wished I could do more whilst promising myself I would when I got to college. However, I haven’t found a club that I can actively participate in yet, and I’ve missed that a lot. So, when I realized that the Women’s March would fall during Intersession this year, I made a promise to myself that I would attend, despite being at home.

I have always considered myself to be a feminist in my own right, but I had never actively taken part in a nationwide protest before. Last semester, I took a course called Feminist Fiction with Professor Favret, and it opened my eyes to a lot of feminist issues that I hadn’t considered as carefully as I should have. As a lover of reading and a proponent for social justice, seeing the two interesect was just the right push that helped me explore my passion for both of them more. All things considered, I was determined to attend the march no matter what stood in my way.

I had told my parents about it the night before, but they were concerned about my safety. However, I had already made my poster (which featured my favorite feminist quote from poet Ashlee Haze), and I was prepared to attend. After pleading my case with my parents and a lot more deliberation, I was able to convince them of the importance of my attending the march. They acquiesced and agreed to drop me off at the train station.

So, on the morning of the 21st, I woke up at around 6am. I took the train from New Jersey to New York Penn Station where I met up with my close friend Elizabeth who goes to school nearby and a couple of her new college friends.

From left to right: Clare, Salma, Me, and Elizabeth on the subway on our way to 71st street.

From left to right: Clare, Salma, Me, and Elizabeth on the subway on our way to 71st street.

As we made our way to through the turnstiles, a sea of pink hats flooded the subway station. People were mingling and showing each other their posters, while people all around took pictures. Grandparents and young children alike marched hand in hand off of the subway from Central Park to 5th Avenue. All of a sudden, what started off as an arbitrary grouping of people on the subway turned into a contingent of proponents of equality and freedom. Together, we marched through the streets of New York chanting, “Show me what democracy looks like,” followed by “This is what democracy looks like!”

What astounded me most about the Women’s March turned out not to be the feeling of being part of a movement much bigger than myself, but it was the fact that I could do so in a city that I’ve known my whole life. I’ve walked through 42nd street multiple times growing up, and I’ve seen protests going on before, but to be a part of something important to me in a city I knew so well felt right. It made me realize that growing up and being spontaneous isn’t something that I can only do in college, but it’s something that I’ve learned and that I will take with me wherever I go.

Going to the Women’s March in New York felt like a step in the right direction. I guess being in college has given me a sense of independence that I didn’t have before, and this felt like the perfect beginning to what I hope will be a year of spontaneity and making memories. Although this wasn’t a “New Year’s resolution” per se, it is something that I plan on implementing throughout the year of 2018 in particular.

Some of my favorite posters from the march:

Poster from the Women's March that features a picture of The Statue of Liberty and the phrase "Girl, hold my earrings."      Picture of multiple posters at the Women's March NYC.

“Feminism says as a woman in my arena you are not my competition. As a woman in my arena your light does not make mine any dimmer.” – Ashlee Haze