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Examining Lives Well Worth Living

Over January interterm Smith juniors and seniors found a new way to think about their lives and goals. They attended the new Women’s Narratives of Success Project’s first offering, “Get a Life” a five-day workshop, which helped them gain insight into their own ambitions and expectations about what they’ll be doing after graduation.

Through writing exercises, small group discussion, scholarly presentations and conversations with alumnae, students considered themes of family and cultural expectations—and anxiety about living up to them—as well as risk taking and decision making.

The project had its beginnings in a speech, “Inside the Clockwork of Women’s Careers,” given by President Carol T. Christ at the Chautauqua Institution in 2004. She argued that both the circumstances and the narratives of women’s professional lives needed to be transformed. “In short,” she said, “for women, for men, we need to reset the clock and tell new stories of life and work.”

Nan-b de Gaspé Beaubien ’57, a founder of the Canadian Broadcast Institute and director of Four Seasons Hotels Inc., is funding the project through the family’s de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation. Go to www.smith.edu/narratives to learn more about the project.

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