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Three Speeches from Strong Women to Start Your School Year Off Right

It’s the beginning of a new semester and perhaps after an exciting summer, you’re feeling hesitant to get into the swing of classes again. Whenever I feel like my motivational tank is empty, I usually put on some speeches to get me into a productive mood. These are perfect to listen to while working on your planner or organizing your dorm room, so grab a laptop and some pens and start watching!

Sarah Kay- “If I should have a daughter…” Ted talk

This is my favorite Ted Talk, and I’ve seen it so many times I can almost recite the poems line for line. Sarah Kay is a spoken-word poet who started an organization to help kids get into poetry, writing and channeling their emotional energies into something creative. In a world full of negativity and cynicism, her talk is a refreshing breath of empathy. It’s a reminder that sometimes hopeful optimism is necessary. If you need to get the creative juices flowing or want to take some time for personal reflection, I would highly recommend this thoughtful talk from Sarah Kay.

Malala Yousafzai- UN Address

Malala is a personal hero of mine, and I find her words and story to be deeply inspiring. If you’ve never heard of her before (although I’m sure you have), Malala is a young woman who was shot by the Taliban as a teenager for promoting women’s rights to education. She did not stop speaking out, however, and persevered in the face of violence and death threats against herself and her family. This UN Address is the first public speech she gave after being shot, and she details what happened to her along with her mindset moving forward. Tear-jerking quote: “Weakness, fear, and hopelessness died. Strength, power, and courage were born.”

Tina Fey- Women in Entertainment 2016 Speech

It’s hard to nail down precisely what makes this speech so motivational, but between Tina Fey’s impeccable wit and honesty about being a woman in comedy, I find myself ready to conquer the day ahead. She challenges both gender and beauty stereotypes in Hollywood and promotes the representation of intelligent, diverse women in film. While often slightly self-deprecating, Fey touches on the hard work she’s put into her career and the confidence she needed to make her voice heard in a male-dominated field. It’s hard not to be inspired to use your voice for what you believe in after listening to her speak. What really gives me goosebumps, though, is her call to action at the end: “Everyone get to work, there’s a lot to do.”

You heard Tina Fey! When the queen of comedy speaks, we answer. So everyone get to work conquering exams and putting your hearts into what you’re passionate about! All it took was some proper motivation.

Photos 1, 2, 3, 4

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Sarah Genz

Notre Dame '21

Sarah is a junior at the University of Notre Dame, majoring in Arabic and Psychology. Her first writing position is with HerCampus, and she looks forward to exploring such topics as mental health, book lists, and modern female role models.
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