5 Female Characters Who Inspire Me Daily

5 Female Characters With Personality Traits I Strive To Embody

The fictional women and girls that have had a real-life impact on who I am and aspire to be.

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I have grown up with a plethora of characters from the books I read as a child and the shows that I watched as a teenager. The female characters from these stories inspired me to not only want to take on characteristics of responsibility and adventure but to feel pride in my academics and writing. Each of the following influenced me in different ways. The most significant character trait that links all five, however, is their unabashed, shameless ability to carry themselves with confidence and respect.

What interested me the most in characters that I loved the most was their respect for and belief in themselves. Regardless almost all situations, each character faced their odds and still remembered to take advantage of their team even with all their pride. Even more significant to me is when the following characters faced external and self-doubt in their abilities.

There are characters, of all genders and backgrounds, who provide wonderful instances that I reference on YouTube every so often. Jess from New Girl has an incredibly positive attitude even with a difficult job as a teacher -- I appreciate her quotes even more as I am now a teacher, myself ("That's actually an acrostic"). Kurt Hummel from Glee has some of the best quotes regarding trusting yourself and building self-worth. The writing of the stories and the character-building opened each character up to self-reflection and growth. Here are the women and girls whose stories helped make me a better woman today:

1. Buffy Summers


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Buffy Summers from Buffy the Vampire Slayer heavily influenced me in my teen and very early adult years of college-time confusion. Her attitude involves equal parts casual cool and courageous responsibility. Although I don't wake up every morning wondering which literal monsters I'll have to fight, I still face every day's challenges regardless of how they're thrown at me.

Buffy always strikes me as such a unique character as she never really fit in with her peers, but still found a way to maintain her cool persona. The emphasis on personal responsibility and work ethic, especially in the final two seasons, changed the way in which I approached college and when I started working. Buffy was fun but never flippant; she was chill but ready for action. And when the story arc explored her weaknesses near the end of the series, Buffy developed into one of the strongest and resolute women that I ever saw on screen.

2. Leslie Knope

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Leslie Knope quotes make up most of the references that I spout out to my students, friends, and family. The quote above paired with the instance in the show where she leaves voicemails to herself (in order to hear a friendly, supportive voice when she's having a rough time) remind me of the importance of sometimes blindly believing in yourself. Although Leslie does occasionally cause more problems than she fixes when she behaves as headstrong as she does, her sheer determination allows her to be one of the most productive government workers on the show.

One of my favorite quotes Leslie says is, "So what I hear when I'm being yelled at is people caring loudly at me." When Leslie holds a town hall with some of the most difficult town members of Pawnee, she holds herself in ways that make me want her to be a real person, taking care of our citizens. But, when I see strong instances of leadership in real life I am reminded of the Leslie Knope-like women that we have in our leadership positions. When I don't know how to react to a difficult instance in my life or I am just plain bogged down with work, I think WWLKD? What would Leslie Knope do?

3. Hermione Granger

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Reading Hermione Granger's character when I first read the Harry Potter books and subsequently watched the movies helped me take pride in my bushy-haired, school-loving, know-it-all self. She was one of the first female characters that I became familiar with who loved school as much as I did, and did not care one bit about being a topper in her class. She handled her bullies with grace and was an incredibly loyal, resourceful friend to the boys who caused her so much pain. The fact that she was in Gryffindor, and not Ravenclaw, made me love her even more.

She was smart, books and all, but knew that there was a power behind her quill that she would use for good. She started S.P.E.W. (Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare) when she was still in school, and earned 11 O.W.L.s (10 of which were O's). I loved her enthusiasm and refusal to accept blind loyalty and acceptance. She has always been one of my greatest role models and will continue to be for the rest of my life.

4. Minerva McGonagall

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Another inspirational figure for me from the Harry Potter series was Professor Minerva McGonagall, who proved the importance of a teacher who may not be lenient, but strict and fair, serves us better any day. I had a teacher when I was growing up also with the name of the Roman god Minerva, but Greek, Athena. She is one of the greatest teachers that I have ever had the privilege to have and has continued to be. Both teachers, fictional and real named after the goddess of wisdom, improved my love for school and learning. Although Professor McGonagall is fictional, she and my real-life teacher influenced my interest in teaching.

5. Nancy Drew

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Ever curious and witty, Nancy Drew joins Hermione Granger as one of my favorite literary characters. Nancy, in particular, grew my interest in detective work and solving puzzles. I devoured the books by mysterious author "Carolyn Keene" and I never could get enough of her adventures. Nancy exhibited the same confident desire to explore and learn that so many other characters on this list have. I seriously even wanted to become a detective because of her adventures and stories.

I am sure that I will add more to this list of women, and this list even in my current state is not complete. I find small instances of characters to inspire me further and further. What are some characters that inspire you in your daily life?

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A Letter To My Freshman Dorm Room As I Pack Up My Things

Somehow a 15' x 12' room became a home.

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Dear Geary 411,

With your creaky beds, concrete walls, and mismatched tile floors, you are easily overlooked as just another room we were randomly assigned to— but you were different. Inside your old walls, I have made some of the best memories of my life that I will hold on to forever.

Thank you for welcoming my neighbors in with open arms who quickly became friends who didn't knock and walked in like you were their own.

I feel like an apology is needed.

We're sorry for blaring the music so loud while getting ready and acting like we can actually sing when, in reality, we know we can't. Sorry for the dance parties that got a bit out of control and ended with us standing on the desks. Sorry for the cases of the late-night giggles that came out of nowhere and just would not go away. Sorry for the homesick cries and the "I failed my test" cries and the "I'm dropping out" cries. We're sorry for hating you at first. All we saw was a tiny and insanely hot room, we had no idea what you would bring to us.

Thank you for providing me with memories of my first college friends and college experiences.

As I stand at the door looking at the bare room that I first walked into nine months ago I see so much more than just a room. I see lots and lots of dinners being eaten at the desks filled with stories of our days. I see three girls sitting on the floor laughing at God knows what. I see late night ice cream runs and dance battles. I see long nights of homework and much-needed naps. Most importantly, I look at the bed and see a girl who sat and watched her parents leave in August and was absolutely terrified, and as I lock you up for the last time today, I am so proud of who that terrified girl is now and how much she has grown.

Thank you for being a space where I could grow, where I was tested physically, mentally and emotionally and for being my home for a year.

Sincerely,

A girl who is sad to go

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What I Wish I Knew About Life After High School Before I Had To Live It

Life after high school isn't always what you expected it to be.

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So you're about to graduate high school and you think you have it all figured out. You and your best friends are going to stay close throughout college and you're going to take those long road trips in college to see each other. Think again.

Life after high school isn't always what you want it to be. You think you'll miss high school, you'll always be close with your high school besties, and you'll have all this free time in college. That's just not entirely true. I personally do not miss high school. I don't really talk to anyone I went to high school with on a regular basis, and I'm totally OK with that. I have friends in college that I believe will be my lifelong friends whereas my friends in high school didn't make an effort to keep in contact with me after high school.

I haven't had all the free time I've dreamed of in college, because I'm busy with school and meetings. When I'm not doing homework, I'm making sure the rest of my life is in order and all my stuff for school is in line. I'm not the crazy party girl that people think I am because of where I go to school. I'd rather sit in bed and watch Netflix than go out with my friends. I'm not a 4.0 student, but I work so hard in my classes just to make sure that I'm passing. I study a week before tests and still don't always make A's. And that's OK. It's not what I expected during my college years, but it's what's happening, and most of my friends are the same way.

Anne Marie Bonadio

Just know that life in college isn't all easy, breezy, and beautiful like Covergirl. It's hard and you will struggle whether it be in school or with your friends. College isn't always complete freedom. You'll be tied down with school and life and you won't have the free time that you always imagined. You won't always be best friends with your high school friends. You won't be taking those road trips because you won't be able to afford them, and if you're like me, your parents won't let you.

College won't be exactly what you dreamed it'll be, but it'll be some of the best years of your life.

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