4/27/10

Guess who was on campus today?

(above photo by: Maegan Simpson.)

Barrack Obama visited my community college today. (Above is a photo that one of my friends took.) I didn't go. I had some homework and errands to take care of so I skipped out on my probably one chance to be in the same room as the president of the United States. Plus, I didn't want to deal with the horrible traffic and crazy crowds. Haha.

But classes were canceled, which resulted in a major project's due-date being pushed back 'til next Tuesday. So thank you for that, Mister President.

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Small Cool Inspiration

Apartment Therapy is doing their yearly Small Cool Contest and I'm eating it up. There are soooo many small, cool rooms featured that I adore. From time to time I'll be featuring my favorites for both my own and your decor inspiration.

(above: Madeline's Swedish Light - via Apartment Therapy) Breezy white curtains let the sunlight flow into this small apartment. The furniture maintains clean lines. And pillows and throws in different textures and patterns give the room some eclectic flair. Isn't that shiny silver floor lamp the coolest?

(above: Laura & Anna's Room for Entertainment - via Apartment Therapy) Filling the wall with art makes a bold statement. Not only do I love that there is vintage art in this room, but I adore how they displayed it---three large posters hung high on the wall and six smaller prints hung underneath.

(above: Michael's Vintage Features - via Apartment Therapy) This room looks spacious because of all the off-white---the walls, chair, couch, and curtains all match. I also love that table against the back window. If a renter is short on space, a small table like that can serve double duty as both desk and dining area.

(above: Sarah's Small Sanctuary - via Apartment Therapy) I love how warm, cozy, and eclectic this room is. The screen, old radio, records, and globe make for fantastic touches. I also like the mixing-and-matching of furniture pieces.

(above: Louise's Cocoon - via Apartment Therapy) This room exudes chic comfort. And it reminds me of the Loft Bed Hack that I featured back in January. Click here to find out how to create your own four-poster canopy bed using a dorm loft bed kit.

For more Small Cool, click here.

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4/22/10

International | The Right Fit, 12

(image via: here.)

Some students yearn to study abroad for a semester. But you may find yourself craving a study abroad experience for the entire four years. There are many benefits to choosing an overseas education. Do any of these strike you?

  • You want to learn a new language. Yes, colleges offer language classes from the basic Spanish and French to German, Russian, Latin, Chinese, etc. But the optimal way to acquire a foreign language is through immersion.
  • You want to travel. Not only will you be traveling the country where your school is located, but you'd have many opportunities to travel around that country or nearby ones. You can take weekend trips, hop on a train during an academic break, or sign up for a school sponsored field trip. Imagine the places you'll go!
  • You want to experience a different culture. By studying in a different country, you'll be surrounded by new and different foods, etiquette, architecture, fashion, beliefs, customs, etc. And you'll experience it all first-hand.
  • You want to learn and experience things that a home-soil college can't provide. You'll be whisked away from the American definition of normal and while it may be terrifying at first, it's an amazingly exciting opportunity. You will learn to adapt in ways that you wouldn't need to at home. And you'll become a more well-rounded person because of it.
  • You want to make international friends. You'll probably meet other Americans who are studying abroad, but you'll meet tons of peers from all kinds of different backgrounds and cultures.
  • You want to learn more about yourself. Studying abroad provides a unique chance to discover yourself. You'll abandon old perspectives and embrace new. Or maybe what you find will strengthen your original beliefs.
  • You want to expand your view of the world. You'll be familiar with much more than your home state after studying abroad for four years.
  • You want to do something different than the typical college routine. Many international universities are structured different. It's an entirely different academic system and will probably take some getting used to, but you'll have the chance to undertake challenges and do things that you couldn't do on a traditional American campus.
  • You want to kick your employment opportunities up a notch. The world is becoming more and more globalized. A future employer may be very impressed to see that you've done some schooling overseas.
  • You want to increase the worth of your degree. You won't just be getting a diploma---you'll be gaining tons of knowledge, experiencing a different culture, picking up language skills, and overcoming challenges that make your degree a whole lot more valuable.
If you're worried about not being able to speak another language, select an international school that offers classes in English. But do try to at least pick up some language training so that you can converse in everyday settings with people in the country you go to. If you really want to be surrounded by English, consider sticking to somewhere like the UK. If you don't want to go off the continent, consider a quality education in Canada.

Any study abroad office at a college can probably give you information about selecting an international school. If you already know what country you want to go to, the Universities Worldwide website hosts a listing of different colleges in all countries of the world. To check it out, click here.

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4/20/10

Out-of-State vs. In-State | The Right Fit, 11

(image via: here.)

Yes, it is important to consider your wants. Maybe you want to move far away, maybe you want to stay close to home. Maybe you live somewhere cold, but want to move somewhere warm and sunny. Maybe you wanna try something new, maybe you wanna ease into college. All these are part of the decision of whether to go to college in state or go out of state. And while your wants are important, you need to weigh in on the big picture, too.

So while taking your wants into account, also remember these big factors when choosing between in-state and out-of-state.

Tuition
Keep in mind that going to school in-state will likely save you money. At public institutions, tuition and fees cost thousands less for in-state residents than for students coming from out-of-state. Sometimes, public institutions make provisions for scholarships for out-of-state students. And sometimes, public institutions have a program that allow an out-of-state resident to pay in-state tuition if they are from a neighboring state. Basically, you just need to ask the college that you're interested in. Ask about scholarships, grants, and any neighbor-state deals. As for private institutions, tuition is generally the same whether you're coming from out-of-state or not.

Travel
Also keep in mind the travel expenses of going out-of-state. Depending on how far you plan on going, you should factor in gas, train rides, or airfare for the visits you want to make back home. It's all relative though. If you live close to a state border, you may actually end up going to a school closer to home by going out-of-state.

Distance
If your goal is to get away and be somewhere completely new, then you're probably planning on going several states away. But if you want to get maybe six hours away, consider all of your options before restricting yourself to out-of-state colleges. There may be colleges in your own state that are five or six hours away. You'll feel far from home, but be close enough if you wanna go home. And you'll reap the benefits of-in-state tuition if it is a public school.

Transferring
While course credits are becoming more widespread, remember that different states may treat courses differently. If you end up transferring, courses may not transfer as smoothly as you expect. So if you go out-of-state, you'll be wise to focus on general education first. Just in case you decide to transfer, most of your classes will count at another college despite state borders.

Future Plans
If you have your heart set on attending an out-of-state school and you plan on living there after you graduate, too... really put your all into it. Check out the residency requirements for the state you plan on going to school in. If you live in a state for a certain amount of years, you may become eligible for state residency. That would get you in-state tuition vs. out-of-state (if you're at a public school). It may be worth considering taking up year-round residence (include summer) in the state of your education so that you can catch a break on tuition for a couple years.

Indecision
If you want to go out-of-state, it will generally cost more. You'll probably be moving farther away. Tuition and fees might cost more. Transportation and living expenses may add up to be more. It is a big financial commitment. So only go out-of-state if you are absolutely sure and absolutely ready. If you're uncertain, you're safe bet is to go to an in-state school first to avoid a big waste of time and money. There's no sense in making brash decisions. Weigh your options and try to make a choice you can stick with for the long run.

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4/18/10

In 10 Years...

Jesse from Just Flew the Coop posted about the question "Where will I be in 10 years?" and tagged me to do the same. I thought about it all day long and (like Jesse) decided to find some pictures that match the future I daydreamed up.

Ten years from now I will be thirty-one years old. College will be behind me and I'll love my job as a reading teacher at an elementary school somewhere in Iowa.

I will be happily married to the handsome and funny love of my life... who hopefully turns out to be my current amazing bf. ;)

I will live in an adorable house. It may not be huge, but it will have a lot of character. The outside will be painted a pretty color like pink or turquoise... and I'll have lovely white gingerbread trim.

The inside of my house will be my creative playground when it comes to decorating. The wall colors, throw pillows, curtains, and furniture arrangements will probably change frequently. There will be lots of magazines, books, and vintage typewriters. The walls will never be naked. And I'll try to always have fresh flowers in the living room.

My bedroom will be a relaxing place to retire at the end of a day. And I'll have a stack of books close at hand for that time of evening when I love to stick my nose in a novel.

My kitchen will be colorful. Hopefully by then I'll be a pro at all things culinary. I'll bake cookies, muffins, and delicious desserts and cook up yummy pastas, omelets, and homemade pizzas. And I'll do all of that in a pretty, retro-inspired apron.

Somewhere in my house there will be a quiet corner for me to do my researching, writing, and blogging. After trying for many years, I'll have finally landed a publisher that wants to publish my historical fiction novel. I'll be doing lots of researching, editing, re-writing in this quiet corner in preparation for the release of my first novel. ;)

I will have a ghost chair. This is imminent. And if things go as planned, I'll have one at my desk and at least four around my dining room table. I will admire their translucence daily.

Oh, and I'll be driving around town in a '57 Chevy. (Well, a girl can dream... can't she?)

Thanks, Jesse for tagging me. This was lots of fun. :)

Readers, check out Jesse's blog Just Flew the Coop.

Where will you be ten years from now?

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(click on photos for source.)

4/16/10

Teeny-Tiny | Inspiration from AT's Small, Cool 2010

It's time for Apartment Therapy's annual Small, Cool contest. :D I love seeing all the photos of real people's small spaces---especially the teeny-tiny ones. Here are some photos of recent entries:

(above two photos via Apartment Therapy: Lacey's DIY in the Details. For more photos + floor plan, click here.) Lacey's space is my favorite of the teeny-tiny entries so far. I love the subtle eclecticism, diy touches, and mix of furniture she has going on. I especially like the dresser her tv sits on. The bed looks comfy. The mirrored nightstand is lovely. And that chair looks like the perfect place to curl up with a good book or magazine.

(above photo via Apartment Therapy: Whitney's Well Organized Home. For more photos + floor plan, click here.) Whitney's small space is appealing because of all the crisp white and sunlight. She's also an organizer extraordinaire---check out that cabinetry! I'm completely smitten with the colorful quilt on her bed. And isn't that a sweet doggie?

(above photo via Apartment Therapy: Nicole's Vintage Beauty. For more photos + floor plan, click here.) I am a sucker for exposed brick and would love to live in a space that features some. And isn't Nicole's bed gorgeous?

(above photo via Apartment Therapy: Lindsay's Little Box. For more photos + floor plan, click here.) Lastly, I like Lindsay's place because of the pretty blue color scheme, easy-to-move coffee tables, tall stack of books, and cute pillows.

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4/15/10

Online Education | The Right Fit, 10

(above image via: here.)

Online education (or e-learning) is instrucction delivered on a computer via the internet. It is an option of increasing popularity for not only our own generation, but also for adults going back to school and even high school students that want to get some colleges classes under their belts. There are generally two types of class delivery: self paced and led by an instructor. The learning includes text, video, audio, discussion boards, and other internet media.

There are many strictly-online universities that you've probably seen the commercials for. (Think Phoenix and DeVry.) Community colleges often offer a wide variety of online courses... sometimes entire degrees can be completed all (or nearly all) online. And even four-year schools are jumping on the bandwagon by offering online courses to distance-learners and on-campus students.

If you are curious about online courses, the best thing to do is check out the schools that offer e-learning. Different schools deliver the courses in different manners. For example: when I took online courses at community college, everything was completed online. Tests, quizzes, homework---everything was submitted via the internet course platform. But when I took an online course at university, the tests had to be taken at a proctored, on-campus testing center. And honestly, having to trek to that testing center was quite the hassle.

Also, the online course also varies according to your instructor. Some instructors may allow you to work at your own pace and turn things in whenever you want as long as you complete the course by the scheduled completion date. Some professors create units and make each unit due at (for example) midnight every Friday. And yet some professors insist on being difficult. I've had professors who make discussions due at 3pm on Mondays, quizzes due at 5pm Wednesdays, and then tests due at midnight on Saturdays. Keeping track of all those due dates can be frustrating.

Overall, I've had great experiences with online classes. I've taken entire terms of online courses... and I've split my term between a couple online and a couple on-campus. Either way, taking online courses freed up my schedule for work and play. I was more able to do things when I wanted to do things. And that flexibility was awesome.

If you plan on taking an online course, you must be motivated and organized. Online courses demand the same effort (if not more) than campus classes. There's no one there to tell you when something is due, so you must motivate yourself to open up your book and study. It's up to you to look it up on the course calendar and keep track. For online courses, there's rarely an excuse for missing a deadline. Organization is key so that you can keep everything straight. And, of course, familiarity with computers is essential. If you worry about that, there's probably someone who can train you to understand how your course is delivered. (Generally it's pretty straightforward and easy to pick up on.)

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For more information about online education, ask the schools you're interested in. Or, click here for some internet-based info.

4/14/10

Photo Collage


(image via: here.)

This real dorm photo comes from savvymojo's flickr photostream. First of all, I think the pillow patterns are way cute. But mostly, I love the photo collage. By clicking here, you can view the original photo on flickr. Savvymojo added a note to every little photo in her collage explaining what it is or its significance. These include a card from her dad to her mom, vintage postcards, a mini Klimt print, and photos of old Hollywood stars.

The best kind of wall decor is the kind that makes us feel at home and surrounded by things we like.

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4/13/10

Hispanic Serving | The Right Fit, 9

(above image via: here.)

A Hispanic-serving instiution (called an HSI) is a college or university in the US that attempts to assist 1st generation, majority low income Hispanic college students.

An HSI cannot be a for-profit university. An HSI must offer at least two-year academic programs that would lead up to a degree an dbe accredited by a recognized association. Additionally, an HSI must have at least a 25% Hispanic undergrad full-time student enrollment.

There are large grants offered to HSIs through the Department of Education. These grants allow for serving all ethnicities and supplying funds for administration, development, and academic programs, plus facility management, tutoring, and student support and counseling.

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For more information, visit the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.

4/11/10

Post-It Wall

(above image via: here.)

I stumbled upon this on Miss Kels' Flickr photostream. It is a photo of the post-it note wall mural that she and her roomie created in their dorm. I've seen several all-yellow post-it walls and never much cared for such a display. But I really like this multi-colored post-it mural. The red couch and patterned pillows are pretty fab, too.

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4/10/10

Small Space Solutions | Some More Bedrooms

(image via: here.) If your floor has a lot of character to it, play it up. Keep the walls and bed as simple, white, and crisp as can be. Stick to minimal furniture---an essential dresser to store clothes and a retro chair for a place to sit. Leave the windows undressed so that light can pour in. And check out that ethereal ceiling light.

(image via: here.) Daybeds are not only lovely, but boast double function as beds and as places to sit. By filling the daybed with luxurious bed linens and different sizes of pillows, you'll be creating a heavenly oasis to dive into after a long school day.

(image via: here.) In extra tight spaces where you may not have room for a nightstand, this is my favorite alternative. Hang a shelf over the bed---one that's long enough and deep enough for a lamp, alarm clock, books, and whatever else you may need near to you. But keep it to a minimum and make sure the shelf is hung securely---you don't want it to fall down and knock you out while you sleep!

(image via: here.) Put the bed on the floor. Forget the frame, the headboard, the footboard, and maybe even the box spring. Place a rug under the mattress for added comfort if you have hardwood or tile floors. But seriously---a bed low to the floor, swathed in soft bedding, and brimming with plump pillows makes for an inviting, comforting place to crash. And it's visually appealing, too.

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4/8/10

Historically Black | The Right Fit, 8

(click on above image for source.)

Historically black colleges and universities are schools with origins at the time when African-American students were systematically denied access to most other academic institutions in this country. These schools were founded before 1964 with the intent of serving black students. While times have changed and schools no longer segregate races, these schools provide a unique opportunity for African-American students to experience an academic community in which they're part of the majority.

There are over 100 historically black colleges in the US today---these include public, private, two-year, four-year, community colleges, and specialty schools such as medical institutes. Most were established after the Civil War, but there are a handful with antebellum origins.

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P.S. For a list of the top historically black colleges in the US, click here.

4/7/10

Philips LivingColors

Here at LovelyUndergrad, it's all about budget-friendly ways to style your college living space. I don't spend a lot of time promoting expensive products, but I'm going to make an exception because I believe this product is well worth the money.

I recently heard about the new Philips LivingColors LED lights. These babies are small, easy to operate, and saturate your white walls with whatever color your heart desires. (There are 16 million color possibilities!) You change the color with a simple remote. And voila! Your walls are purple, pink, orange, or any other hue.

I think these lights go for about $200, but if color is a big deal to you and you're fretting about living in a white box when you go to college---I think this is a great solution. It might be something to think about saving your money up for this summer.

Or maybe you're lucky enough to win a giveaway. Enter to win one of the LivingColors lamps here.


Here's a video that shows the LivingColors light in action:



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Let the Springtime In!

(above image via: here.)

Bring Springtime into your dorm or apartment with these easy decor tips:

♥Undress or re-dress the windows. Rethink the heavy drapes you've got going on. By taking them down or replacing them with sheer white curtains, the sun's rays will be able to flow in more freely. For an even lovelier affect, open up the windows so that the Springtime breeze can come in! (You might want to avoid opening the windows if your roomie has allergies...)

♥Bring in some fresh flowers. A bouquet of pretty tulips in purple, pink, or yellow cost about $5 from your local Wal-Mart. (Daisies, carnations, and peonies are lovely, too.) Stick the flowers in a cute vase and enjoy. You'll be surprised at how a simple bouquet of flora can instantly cheer up a room.

♥Clean. It isn't called "Spring Cleaning" for nothing. Take a day (or weekend, depending on the size of your place) to do some deep cleaning. Scrub the floors, walls, bathroom, and windows. Wipe down all furniture. Dust. Vacuum. Wash everything from bed sheets to pillow cases and curtains to wall tapestries. It'll be a lot of work, but the fresh result is so totally worth it.

♥Start slimming down. No, this doesn't pertain to your new diet and work-out routine for that bikini-ready body you want in a month. We're talking junk. In about a month, it'll be time for you to move out of your dorm/apartment and back home (or wherever you plan on dwelling for the summer) unless you're staying at school and taking summer courses. If you're able to make weekend trips home, take stuff home with you. If making it home won't be possible, start packing what you can. Ditch things you won't need. Donate stuff to Goodwill or have a small yard sale. You'll be thrilled when you'll be able to pack everything into your car and head home for the summer.

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4/6/10

Religiously Affiliated | The Right Fit, 7

(image via: here.)

Religiously-affiliated colleges and universities are private schools that were established by religious groups or organizations. These schools do not limit admission strictly to students who share the school's affiliated faith, but the school administration is ruled by religious principles.

There are many colleges in the country that you may not realize have religious affiliations. For example, Notre Dame and Georgetown are both Catholic. Brandeis University and Yeshiva University are both Jewish. Bringham Young is Mormon and Earlham College is Quaker. If you are curious about whether a school has religious affiliations, check out the mission statement. The mission statement will clue you in on whether the school is affiliated at all, whether or not is historic only, and how the affiliation impacts academic and social aspects of college.

If a college's religious affiliation is historic only, that means the school was established by a religious group or organization but that the religion does alter campus life in any major way. Some religiously affiliated schools hold mandatory worship services for students to attend. So the involvement of faith varies from one religiously affiliated school to another. It's crucial to check out the school's religious mission to be sure you'll be happy and comfortable with how faith is included in the education system.

If you're worried about the quality of academics at a religious school... don't. Your education will be equal to one you'd receive at a secular school. There may be slight differences in how subject matter is approached, but there is no "Christian algebra" vs. "secular algebra." In addition, religious schools offer a large variety of majors and minors, sports, volunteer opportunities, student organizations and activities, and everything else that secular institutes offer.

Students at religiously affiliated schools are often very serious about their education and focus more on their education goals as opposed to engaging in drugs, binge drinking, and other risky behavior. Religious schools have a high satisfaction and retention rate. The major difference between religiously-affiliated schools and secular schools is that at a religous college there is much more support for your faith. Your religion can become a more integral part of your education and daily life on campus.

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P.S.
For more info on Christian colleges and universities, click here.
For more info on schools affiliated with the Jewish faith, click here.
For more info on Catholic colleges, click here.

4/3/10

Small Space Inspiration | Study Space

If you choose a simple table instead of a desk you gain clean lines but lose storage space. To make up for the missing drawer space, stack large boxes underneath the desk. These green ones with their their metal edges and handles are an attractive option. Chairs on wheels are always convenient because you can move around easily. Tuck all your supplies away into colorful boxes of varying shapes, sizes, and colors.

If you want a minimal workspace, chose a simple desk like the one above and paint it. Use restraint with what supplies you leave out on the desk---it's not a large surface and you don't want to clutter it. (Keep often-needed supplies out; tuck occasionally-needed supplies away.) Go with a monochrome color scheme, but add a pop of color with one accessory such as an orange desk lamp amid an array of moody blues. Patterned (or plain) clipboards hung on the wall are a fun alternative to the traditional bulletin board.

Mirrored furniture and see-through acrylic furniture (I'm a sucker for ghost chairs!) both give an illusion of extra space because of their reflective and translucent bodies. Use boxes in pretty colors to stow supplies. Dress up the space with pretty patterns in classic black and white, ladylike artwork, and fragrant flowers. You'll have the most lovely place to do homework.

A simple one-drawer desk is great because it offers the simplicity of a table, but a little bit of storage to tuck away clutter. Again, clipboards replace the usual bulletin board. And a cabinet hung over the desk is a great way to store books and extra supplies.

Lots of white is always smart in a small space. For a different take, combine different whites: distressed antique white, crisp white, shiny modern white, etc. Keep desk clutter to the minimum. Hang shelves on the wall for vertical storage. And check out the adorable diy-message board made using a strip of wood and clothespins painted white. So simple and so efficient.

Combining white with two other colors makes for a vibrant space, especially when those two colors are opposites like light green and bright orange. Gather supplies on a tray. Go big and bold with the lamp. Make sure your chair is comfy and cushioned. And create your own bulletin board by framing it and covering it in a neutral fabric. That has got to be one of the prettiest bulletin boards I've ever seen.

(All images in this post from Decorology's photostream on Flickr.)

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Butterfly Effect | Decor Board #2

1. Light Flight EVA shower curtain from Urban Outfitters.
2. Mud Hut bath rug by Modern Home from Target.
3. Plastic/Chrome bath coordinates from Target.
4. Chrome nesting basket by Room Essentials from Target.
5. Hot Coffee 4-piece towel set from Target.
6. Soap & Glory bath and beauty products from Target.

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4/1/10

Single Sex | The Right Fit, 6

(above image via: here.)

Women's colleges are undergraduate institutions (often liberal arts schools) that are comprised exclusively or almost exclusively of female students. Some women's colleges allow small numbers of men to be admitted into an undergraduate or graduate program. But these schools are almost always entirely female.

An all-women's college may be right for you if:

You want to be more focused on academics and less distracted by guys. At a women's college, you'll be paying less attention to that hottie in chem class and more attention to the professor's lecture. You will be able to focus more on your personal academic goals, homework, study habits, and degree and less on dating.

You are more comfortable expressing yourself amid company of other young women. At a women's college, you won't have to worry about impressing guys. You may feel more willing to express your opinion in class discussions, debates, group projects, speeches, etc. This will help you to gain confidence, override insecurities, and form a better understanding of yourself.

You want to take on non-stereotypical leadership positions. At a women's college, you'll likely have more opportunities to take up leadership roles in activities that are normally considered "male-dominated."