Who is your biggest role model?

I could name a lot of people. There are a ton of amazing, inspiring women in the world. Michelle Obama, Malala Yousafzai, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Shonda Rhimes, and, of course, Beyonce. But when I really think about the people who motivate me and push me to be my best, I think about my friends. I definitely look up to all of those famous powerhouses, but my friends are right here next to me, working hard and following their passions. It’s much easier to emulate them than celebrities whose lives just aren’t comparable to mine. They may be young, they may not be able to become a Supreme Court justice or write a tv show, but they do manage to study for the chemistry exam while also competing in Mock Trial and volunteering and working backstage on the play and somehow finding time to help me with math during lunch.

I am constantly astounded by the amount of energy, drive, passion, and love that my friends and peers express every day. Do I want to be Beyonce when I grow up? Aside from the fact that I can’t sing at all, sure. But mostly, I aspire to be like my friends. They each inspire me so much in their own ways; besides their obvious accomplishments in school and extracurriculars, they push through personal and emotional struggles with incredible maturity and grace. And they also make me so, so wonderfully happy. I guess this is just a thank you to all of the strong and wise girls I know – thank you for being you. I’m sure you will all grow up to be the next Malalas and Ruths and Beyonces. But you’re pretty damn great right now.