Over the past two years, I went from someone I wasn’t happy being to someone who I can be proud of. I’ve become confident in my own skin and more patient with life, whereas I used to be angry at myself and the world—and I’ve learned some things along the way. Here’s my story of being unapologetic in my pursuit of who I want to be.
Acceptance is the first step to improving your life and attitude, and this can take many different forms for people. For me, I had to find peace in an uplifting way, and I joined yoga after a tough freshman year. My studio has been everything I dreamed of and more, filled with women from all walks of life who come together in an inclusive space and share a common love for physical and mental health. Sometimes there are tears during my practice, sometimes just cool mindfulness, and sometimes an exuberant joy, as I learned to express myself and let go of any judgement of myself.
Through this experience, I came to realize that I had been tearing myself down for not getting into business school, for not succeeding at pre-med, and for not creating a social life for myself that I really liked. I became unapologetic for my movements and my thoughts, and accepted my reality.
I joined about ten million organizations when I came back to school sophomore year, rushing and joining my sorority, doing a cultural organization, taking leadership roles, and becoming part of the wonderful Graham Sustainability institute. Spending so much time introspecting during yoga lit a fire in my heart, and suddenly I didn’t want to be timid and fearful of failure anymore.
I wanted to rise up and lead the way for unconventional women like me, commuting from home with a non-traditional background for finance. To this end, I became brand ambassador for Morning Brew, an amazing newsletter doing important work by conveying complex and important business stories in a palatable way. This year (my junior year), Forté has become a huge part of my life for a similar reason.
From these experiences, I learned to always be unapologetic in pursuing what organizations you want, and to pave the way for women like you to become more successful by standing on the shoulders of the work you’ve done. It’s the most rewarding thing I have done.
By putting myself out there, fighting for the career I want and the leader on campus I want to be, I started to grow more confident in myself and who I was. At the end of a horrible freshman year, I wasn’t sure I would get anywhere, and I hated being in my skin—one and a half years later, I wouldn’t want to be anyone else in the whole wide world.
If you’re like me and are feeling isolated, not quite up to par, or haven’t found your place at university yet, confidence in yourself and working up to who you want to be step by step are the keys to getting yourself out of a rut. By being a leader in my organizations and putting myself out there, exposing myself to the possibility of failure through rush and recruitment, I actually received far greater rewards than if I had stayed in the shell I had created for myself.
I’ve by no means figured out my life yet: there is still a long path for me to walk, and there is no magic formula for everyone. However, by being unapologetic for who I am and what I want, and by finding that inner strength and passion within myself, I’ve laid the foundation for the woman I eventually want to become.
I want to shout this message loud to each and every woman on campus today: step up! Be fearless and courageous in the pursuit of greatness. You have everything you need within yourself.
Anagha Mulpur is a junior studying Political Science at the University of Michigan with a Sustainability scholarship, intending to enter finance full-time. Her dream job would be antique book collector and seller: there’s no feeling like holding a hundred-year old book’s pages in your fingers, and no sight like a well-kept personal library.