Thanks to activists like Malala, education was on everyone’s mind this year. Because we know Get Schooled is now on the top of some people’s New Year’s resolutions, we turned to education advocate and self-proclaimed “girl champion” Chrissy Horansky to get advice on how to conquer that resolution.
As a Harvard alum, Horansky knows a thing or two about the benefits of a quality education. Now that she’s left the halls of higher education behind, she’s working to make sure children all over the world have the same educational opportunities that she’s had
To find out more Horansky’s favorite organizations, her tips on going back to school in 2014, and more, check out her interview below.
ACT: The first two words in your Twitter profile are “education advocate.” When did you first realize education was important?
HORANSKY: Today I live and work in our nation’s capital, but I actually grew up in a very small town. From a young age, I saw education as my ticket to greater things. For young people across America and around the world, education can be a pathway to a better life and an opportunity to pursue our dreams.
ACT: You’re also a self-proclaimed “girl champion.” Why do girls need access to a good education?
HORANSKY: Girls need access to a good education so that they can become financially independent, make healthy choices for themselves, and reach their full potential. School can also provide an important support network for young women, who are at greater risk for things such as dating violence and unintended pregnancy that can really derail a girl’s plans for her future.
ACT: You’ve worked as an advocate for global education for years. What has been the most surprising thing you’ve learned?
HORANSKY: In many places in the world, girls are condemned to a lifetime of poverty and illiteracy because they are pulled out of school—often to be forced into child marriage at shockingly young ages. Globally, there are 57 million children out of school and the majority are girls. Everyone deserves the chance at a better life. Educating girls has a powerful ripple effect across generations.
ACT: What organizations should our readers look into if they want to become advocates for education?
HORANSKY: There are lots of ways to support efforts in our communities and around the planet that help young people grow up to be their best selves. In the U.S., I am a big fan of the Too Small to Fail initiative. Some of my favorite global efforts include the United Nations Foundation and The Girl Effect.
ACT: Speaking of education, you’ve had a pretty stellar academic career. What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about going back to school?
HORANSKY: I was always in love with learning! I believe that smart is the new sexy.
Everyone is a genius at something. Don’t be afraid to explore and ask questions. When you find something that clicks, that is what you were meant to do. To be successful, you really need to look inside yourself to understand your own strengths and motivations, and then build on those.
ACT: What is one thing we’re not teaching in schools that you think should be required learning?
HORANSKY: Schools need to do a better job of helping students discover and value their own potential. What’s your superpower? We all have our own gifts just waiting to be tapped. By asking that question, the wheels begin to turn.
ACT: What are three steps someone can take this year if they want to Get Schooled?
HORANSKY: Do your homework! Discover what is out there that appeals to you.
Connect with mentors: Find people studying or working in fields that interest you who can give you guidance on whether it’s right for you.
Make a game plan! Your dream is the motivating force, but you have to wake up each day and plan small steps to get closer to your goal.
My motivational playlist: “Roar” by Katy Perry, “Anything Can Happen” by Ellie Goulding, “It’s Time” by Imagine Dragons, “Magic” by B.O.B., “Some Nights” by fun., “Sweet Talk” by The Killers, “Shake it Out” by Florence + The Machine, “Counting Stars” by One Republic, “Run the World (Girls)” by Beyoncé.
ACT: Finally, now that we’ve established how much education means to you, we have to ask. What else do you want to learn?
HORANSKY: My New Year’s resolution for 2014 is to learn to speak on camera! I think it is really important for young women to find their voice and become their own advocates. The best thing about Millennials is our entrepreneurial spirit and, with that, I really do believe we are going to change this world.
Chrissy is an advocate for global education and champion for women and girls. Follow her on Twitter at @MissMillennial or www.missmillennial.com.
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