Blog boosts confidence
New resource for women’s self-esteem comes to campus. | Chak Hee Lo/THE CHIMES
Grit means courage, resolve and strength of character. Grit means overcoming obstacles that arise during one’s journey and finding the ability to reach long-term goals. Grit means perseverance — grit does not usually come to mind when thinking of adjectives to describe women.
Knowledge and insight
A group of three women led by associate dean of spiritual development Lisa Igram released Biola’s first ever women’s resource blog named “GRIT” with an official launch party Thursday, March 9, in order to help breach the “Confidence Gap” on campus.
“We hope that [women] gain knowledge and gain insight and feel encouraged in who they already are,” said Alex Bell, senior journalism major and member of GRIT’s editorial board.
“We already see so much goodness in who the girls at Biola are.”
When Igram first learned about the “Confidence Gap,” a study proving women have a lower self-assessment of academic success and self-esteem than men, she knew she wanted to encourage female Biola students and help increase their self-esteem.
“We have this whole group of women who aren’t fully stepping into their image-bearing capacities and stepping into the gifting that God has already put in them… that’s a problem,” Igram said. “So we wanted to do something with the limited time and resources that we had to begin to address this ‘Confidence Gap.’”
Angela Duckworth’s Ted Talk on grit inspired the name of this new blog. They chose the name “GRIT” both for its definitions stated above and for its unique description of women. After this, they also made it an acronym standing for Gifting, Resilience, Insight and Tenacity — all of which are characteristics they hope to cultivate and nurture in female students.
“Femininity we think of as very soft, but really there’s a well of strength in our students that we wanted to call out with that word,” Igram said.
The editorial staff consists of four women, including Bell, junior cinema media arts major Celeste Scott, graduate assistant for student orientation services Sarah Schwartz and associate dean of spiritual development Lisa Igram. All of these women express palpable passion about emboldening women on campus to accomplish remarkable things in Christ’s name.
“I was so excited to help create this space for other young women to be poured into with the insight that we’ve curated in one place, for them to see themselves as capable as they seek to impact the world for the Lord Jesus Christ,” Schwartz said.
The blog will consist of writing and photography produced by both the editorial staff and — soon — students, and it will discuss important topics that will ideally give women confidence. Some blog posts will expound on and link to articles already written by wise women on campus or spoken in a chapel service or a conference session about women.
“We wanted to kind of collect all of the really good things that were happening on campus that can encourage and empower women to more fully step into who God made them to be and put it all in one place so that, as undergrads are kind of wrestling with these questions, there’s a place to go to read about things to listen to things,” Igram said.
GRIT took about two years and the help of multiple departments on campus to produce. The first year consisted mainly of planning the purpose, the ideas and the platform of GRIT and working with other departments to produce the website frame. Then, in September 2016, the editorial group of four commenced meeting and began filling the blog site with actual content.
“Yeah, I kind of came onto the team later in the game than everyone else, but I felt really blessed to be a part of it,” Scott said. “I‘m just enjoying being on the team and it’s honestly so fun.”
While the editorial board works on a bit of everything together, each person’s strengths and positions determine their role in the production of the blog. The two undergraduate students, Scott and Bell, took charge of the design of the website, while Schwartz claimed the copy editing position and Igram took the administrative position.
“We all bring unique perspectives in that Lisa is a staff member, I’m a graduate student and also an alumna of Biola, and then we have current students,” Schwartz said. “So we have a breadth of perspectives that we contribute in our work as the editorial board.”
Although the staff does dream about expounding GRIT beyond a blog someday, they currently want to put all of their time and effort into creating an uplifting, engaging blog. However, they do want to focus on reaching their goal of solely student-produced content filling the blog.
“We would love to expand in the future. Right now, I think we need to figure out how to do this well, so it will probably take a while,” Igram said.
The editorial board hopes the blog will greatly influence women on campus and allow them to realize their strengths. Though GRIT is a resource only for the students, it has proven a useful tool for those involved as well.
“[The blog] has given so much back to me,” Bell said. “The way that I’ve personally felt encouraged, believed in and empowered through this, I want my friends to feel that way. I want my friends — who feel like they don’t have anyone to look to on the journey — to have someone.”