Discover your inner leader

By Yadira Ayala, Wellesley Class of 2020

What happened to summer? Nights spent with hometown friends and soaking up the warm summer weather have now been lost in the need to find something to do. Now, there is a pressure placed on those few months meant for relaxation and the summer holds a heavy weight on students’ shoulders. Students begin to feel as if they don’t really get their well-deserved break anymore and a new question arises: can a college student spend her summer bettering herself while simultaneously cultivating her future? Simply put, the answer is that through the Women’s Contemporary Leadership Institute, yes, she can.

Our Contemporary Women’s Leadership Institute is a unique offering through One Wellesley Summer. With five weeks of college credit courses and experiential learning, one might wonder how this is different from enrolling in a summer term or taking a summer internship. Why spend a summer doing the one thing every student feels she needs a break from and how is this different from all the summer options we have heard before?

The Contemporary Women’s Leadership Institute explores the relationship between leadership and gender and its importance in today’s world. We are now in a place where we can offer women the encouragement many of our own ancestors did not receive. To offer a space for these women to see a different, better future for themselves is everything. The courses are specifically curated to provide a foundation for entering the workforce as a female leader.

Furthermore, it is that step between a typical summer course load and an internship. It allows for students to find themselves before trying to find where they belong in the working world. The program offers courses from which students can gain college credit while also understanding what it means to be a female leader; it serves to empower undergraduate women to be the future change. From day trips to the First Republic Bank in Boston where students met several women leaders in the financial world,  who discussed topics such as their career trajectories and the importance of preparation and smart risk-taking, to discussions on Wellesley’s campus where female CEOs, Vice Presidents, and Editors-in-Chief addressed how they’ve excelled in their fields without compromising their beliefs about equality and the need for positive depictions of women.

But why might you choose to take a summer class instead of relaxing at home? For starters, we at Wellesley College understand what it means to be young and what summer means to you. Though we offer intensive courses, we also offer students the freedom and resources to cultivate their passions and find themselves beyond Wellesley. With Boston only 12 miles away, the world is literally at your fingertips. From museums, to art galleries, to local eateries– the city always proves to be an exciting adventure, one which you can take advantage of. But this does not mean that you have to get off-campus to take part in global learning. Mona A, a 2017 CWL Alum, explained, “I met so many different people with different stories and different backgrounds that I learned to empathize with people to understand them a lot more.”Wellesley is a place where students come from across the globe. The Contemporary Women’s Leadership Institute serves as an opportunity  for students to work with and learn from other female students who share different experiences and hold new perspectives.

CWL Alum, and Wellesley Class of 2020, Becca P said, “I realized a summer well spent was one growing, and at Wellesley at the Women’s Contemporary Leadership Institute I believed I could. I was presented five weeks to test myself, enjoy myself, and grow in areas I feel passionately in– and I have loved every minute of it.” Here at Wellesley, we want our students to grow in every aspect imaginable, to hone their multifaceted passions and interests, and we do this by offering all the resources necessary to help you prosper.

Summer is more than just a time for friends; it is a time for yourself. A break from the outside forces can help you become the person you wish to become, or even a person you never thought you could be. There is always a new adventure waiting at every corner, an adventure from which you will learn so much from.