When I was in high school, I was completely and fully involved in a wide range of activities. In addition to my school's version of a student council, I also served as a PAL, in NHS, and as an officer for my dance team. All of this involvement coexisted with a rigorous course schedule, and above a 4.0 GPA.
Despite everything I was able to do during my high school years, people labeled me as one thing "a dumb dancer." For whatever reason, dance team girls at my school were classified as the dumb ones on campus, a stereotype that quickly became one of my biggest pet peeves.
I couldn't understand how people could think that dancers, or really any athlete, couldn't be both smart and involved. It was beyond insulting to me that my "level of intelligence" in high school was determined by what sport I chose to participate in.
If being labeled as dumb wasn't bad enough, when I was recognized as a National Hispanic Merit Scholar, I was told that I would have to miss my last halftime performance and change out of my uniform in order to be recognized at the halftime ceremony. Not only was I going to miss my last dance, but I wanted everybody to know that this "dumb dancer" was capable of more than just smiling and learning a dance routine.
I genuinely thought that coming to college, this narrow-minded assumption would be left behind. However, my involvement in college did not allow me to stray away from this stereotype. As a sorority woman, people believed that I was only capable of passing my classes and going to parties. Little do people know, however, the cumulative average GPA for Greek women is higher than the average GPA for non-Greek women at Texas A&M. Clearly, we can do both.
People did not believe that I was in the honors college, and had done exceedingly well in my classes. I was constantly labeled as ditsy and incompetent. People did not believe that I could go out and have fun on the weekends and still make good grades in my classes.
The start of my junior year marked the six-month countdown for me to apply to grad school. Getting my Masters has been a goal of mine for as long as I can remember, and I was extremely excited to complete the last semester before my application could be submitted.
When I arrived in one of my classes on the second week of school, I was once again grouped in with a stereotype, as my professor claimed that "students who go on to get their masters do exceptionally well in their undergrad, but also have no social skills."
Again, I was shocked at the ignorance of some people. Why couldn't I do both? Why couldn't I be a social butterfly, and make it to grad school? Whoever started this assumption that people can only be one thing was completely and utterly wrong.
I could dance, be a leader, and still have an exceptional GPA in high school.
I can be in the honors college and be a sorority woman.
I can be a social butterfly, hang out with my friends and family all weekend, and still make it to graduate school.
I can have it all. I can be involved, make good grades, and still be approachable.
You absolutely can do both and more, and the mindset that you cannot be both personable and smart needs to disappear.