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Gabriella Shypula Reflections on Leadership Learning
2017 Graduates: Najeeha Farooqi | Antoinette Gingerelli

Presented by Najeeha Farooqi, IWL Leadership Scholar Graduate, 2017

A few weeks ago as I was sitting in my last IWL class I was asked to reflect on my time here at Rutgers. Sitting in that same room on the 3rd floor of this building where I've met with this cohort once a week for the last two years, I explained that I was satisfied. And why shouldn't I be? I've made great friends, grown intellectually, and accomplished goals I didn't even know I had- like eating enough fat sandwiches to last me a life time. But as soon as I had said the words- I immediately regretted them. The truth is, I am a woman who will never be satisfied, and this a truth I've learned from being a part of this program. Each individual in my cohort possess the rare quality of never satisfaction. It means that they demand excellence in everything that they are. They continuously bring value to their communities and ask what more can I do? Even when a goal is met or a project completed, the next question is always How else can I serve? 

It has been an honor getting to know my cohort. Rutgers is a huge school, and for once a week for the last two years, each of person brought their own part of the universe to our classroom on the 3rd floor. I learned about the pocohontas looking girl who's diaspora and selfawareness dictated her passions, met a trio of Indian Americans who wore their cultures on their sleeves, connected by their compassion and heritage, a Bollywood director in the making, a woman who has more majors than I can count but who's passion for public health supersedes all, the next political campaign manager to take DC by storm and who will ensure women make it into office, a blonde American Studies major who's blunt responses and critical analysis both made me laugh and challenged me, a non profit founder for North Korean refugees, who's dedication takes my breath away, a soft hearted soul who's care for our environment and others makes me smile, a woman who didn't let her years define her, who's commitment to her education makes me value my own, a bright spirit who drove to DC with me and back and has taught me that faith and activism are intertwined, a LGBT activist who keeps rats as pets and loves it, a critical thinker who's love for theory drives their voice, a fiery latina who's laugh is empowering on its own, an artist in the making, who's love for art is in her very being. And these are all people who will never be satisfied with what they do, who will continue to ask what more can I be, how else can I fix this world. 

My dear cohort, I was empathetic to your causes before, but now I understand them.  Your fight is my fight.  Your journey is now a part of my own.

As we embark on this next chapter of our lives, I hope you carry the small pieces of the universe given to you. I hope you keep demanding, keep asking, keep fighting. And I hope you never settle for being satisfied. 


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