Be a leader not a follower. When I was told of the subject matter for this feature, I had several ideas about what I could write.

I considered exploring women leading in their chosen fields, feminism, the fact that taking the lead doesn’t always mean taking the front seat – but the concept which stood out to me, the most, was being proactive in taking on leadership.

Taking the lead often involves continuing – persevering – when there are no easy options and refusing to buckle under opposition. It is realising that there may well be arduous tasks ahead, with difficult decisions, but doing so anyway.

It is everyday bravery in the face of the unknown and, with so many people my age making daunting decisions about where they want to go and who they want to be, it is making the choice to take the lead yourself, which is brave in itself.

At Nottingham Girls’ High School, it is a well-accepted fact that every girl has both the potential and opportunity to lead and, with this is mind, I’d encourage everyone to seize opportunities available to them.

Although we live in a society that is far more progressive than it once was, it is important to remember that we still have a long way to go. We are the ones to lead by example.

So, as you read this, I urge you to be proactive: take the lead in the things that matter to you so that someday, someone else has the chance to do the same, whatever their aspirations.

Take the lead. Grasp it, grasp it tightly, and don’t be ashamed to show passion and heart: these are things to be proud of.

 

So, what do you want to do with your future?’ A question that may daunt, thrill, confuse or even dismay many individuals our age. The future is a baffling concept that many people seem to think epitomises what sixth form life is inevitably centred around.

What do you want to study? Which universities do you want to go to? Are you sure that’s what you want to be doing for the rest of your life?

Every individual has their own goals and aspirations for their own future and, whether you aspire to be an avid astronomer or even a passionate palaeontologist, those should be embraced to the fullest extent.

I have always strived to go into medicine, but getting there is a lot harder than simply ‘wanting’ to become a doctor. The long hours of exams, work experience, volunteering and general university ‘unknowns’ that immerses the life of 16-18 year olds seems an endless whirlpool of boxes waiting to be ticked, but it will be worth the effort.

Mahatma Ghandi famously said, ‘The future depends on what you do today’. It couldn’t be more accurate. Although being told this several times, we all know that acting on that phrase is not as easy as it may seem.

Even now, for girls, there are several hurdles that we must overcome; gender pay gaps, the lack of positions in STEM jobs, as well as the absence of women in the highest positions of pay and power. Consequently, it is now even more critical to grasp each opportunity that comes your way.

Shape the future you have before you. Make it the best and most rewarding future it can be. Take the lead.

 

Taking a lead in science. Resilience, perseverance and endurance – these were the characteristics showcased by Alice Ball in the 1900s when she was the first women to advance the treatment of leprosy.

Whilst men would receive recognition and appreciation for their contribution towards science, Ball was neglected adulation. Instead, her work was ‘taken’ by the male president of her university, and was then credited to him.

With this in mind, when I hear the phrase “Taking the lead”, I believe that all women stand united in the fight towards social progression and diversity within all sectors of society. Women are holistic in their abilities; from management, finance or science, these areas have unfortunately been widely dominated by men.

Now is a time to take the lead. From the minute you take your first breath to the hours you spend dreaming, millions of complex mechanisms occur in your body – thousands of which lends itself to complications and mistakes; something that cannot be explained with just fifty percent of the human race.

As a sixth form student pursuing sciences, the mere idea of the opportunity to lead the future of science is exhilarating; the liberty to enquire into areas of human understanding allows women to illustrate their creativity and intelligence: integrate new techniques into the scientific community, whilst simultaneously explaining questions previously thought to be impossible.

This can all be made possible if women were to take the lead. Easier said than done; once again we must surpass resistance and demand for equal opportunity.

However, a future where ideas and actions are accumulated to represent all genders is a future where science will break its limits and unveil deeper understandings of the foundations that create life as we know it.

Thank you to Adaline Opare-Anim,Tanisha Rajah and Zainah Sindhoo (Deputy Head Girls) at Nottingham Girls’ High School, for contributing to our education feature!