The Power of Positive Female Relationships

I was always told and reminded that college was an arena for competition and that journalism, my field of study, was competitive as well. It has created much anxiety for me as I constantly felt pressured to be more involved in student media and extra curriculars that prepared me for the journalism field. This competitive nature was not one that I was unfamiliar with as I spent the entirety of my high school career trying to better my class rank, get that officer position and earn the most playing time on the volleyball court. There was always a sense of urgency and stress for success not by its lonesome, but within having the most success over females with whom I was “competing” with. The need to be “better” and more successful is not something I have experienced in my friendship with fellow Her Campus writer, Laura Scudder, someone who is also studying journalism in the hopes of entering the field after college.

It is perpetually common to find myself and fellow women feel the need to compete with one another. We see it every day with media outlets comparing the outfits of two female stars, their acting or vocal abilities, amongst other “apples to oranges” comparisons. It is a societal norm for women to be pit against one another within their fields, which has created both a toxic and anti-female empowerment aura. Considering this, I ponder why Laura and I have never, not once, felt the need to compare ourselves and compete to be more successful.  The answer to that is Laura values my success just as much as hers. My wins and her wins.

I met Laura in the summer of 2017 during the Washington Journalism and Media Conference held at George Mason University. We didn’t know then that we would eventually be Mason students and best friends. Through our time working in Admissions Office, we were able to grow our friendship through conversations about journalism which eventually led to Laura encouraging me to come tour Politico as part of a Society of Professional Journalists excursion and where she provided me with confidence to join Her Campus. Her words and small confidence givers provided me these opportunities and I reciprocated her efforts (as best as I could) and urged her to apply to be part of the program staff for the Washington Journalism and Media Conference, the same conference that I worked for last summer and the same conference that introduced us to one another about 2 years ago.

Of course, I can go on and on about how Laura has sprung my confidence academically and within my efforts with the media publications and organizations on campus, but what is most important is that she showed me the power of a positive female relationship. I learned through Laura that there isn’t a reason to be in perpetual competition with fellow women; we can both relish our own individual successes and be a source of support to one another. Laura made me realize that it is quite easy to go against the societal norm of pitting women against each other and to replace that with a “team” mindset. Laura is my team through our academics and journeys in journalism.

I hope that every woman who yearns to be successful finds a friend and support system in the same way that I have found Laura. It's now liberating to now look at female relationships and professional relationships as an asset to my success, and not a hindrance. As I began my journey as a Her Campus writer, I owe it to Laura’s support and encouragement.