4 Reasons Why Women Should Embrace Challenge in Academics

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In academics, women can face many challenges. If you’re a woman, you might feel you need to constantly prove yourself in the face of sexism. There’s an enormous amount of pressure to succeed, which can make you avoid challenge. However, women should embrace challenge because doing so can improve your life and your career in four major ways.

1. Makes You a Better Negotiator

Many people argue that the reason women get paid less than men is because they aren’t good negotiators. Academic challenges can give you the edge you need to bridge the wage gap, but you must be diligent when discussing employment terms to get a deal near your market value. The classroom environment can also be a great place to practice your debating skills, which translate well into negotiation skills.

When you are applying for a job, be sure to clearly articulate your well-reasoned stances, quote the current market value of similar positions in your particular industry, and stay strong in asserting your financial worth to the company. If you are armed with information as you head into the interview, you will be able to make your case using facts.

2. Helps You Deal with Failure

No one likes to fail, but it’s important to handle failure with grace. It’s especially important for women to learn to handle disappointment well in the face of sexist ideas that they’re more prone to emotional outbursts. Handling poor grades, missed deadlines, and the stress of a challenging academic curriculum will make it easier to keep a level head in the face of adversity. The hill may be steeper for women due to prejudices, but you can use that challenge to sharpen your own will and become even stronger in the process.

3. Makes You Look Serious About Your Career

Taking on a rigorous academic schedule will show that you’re dedicated to your education and career. For example, when applying for a specialized graduate program like Ohio State University’s online Master’s in Athletic Administration (find more information here), you want to show the university that you can handle heavy coursework without a lot of “fluff.” That’s because online master’s degree programs are very challenging and require a lot of self-management.

4. Changes Your Self-image

If you’re not confident during interviews or at work, people are less likely to trust that you’re a good employee. When you face challenges in academics, you gain a lot of self-confidence. You learn that you can overcome any obstacle thrown your way, which in turn makes you project a more confident, capable image to potential employers. All good outcomes and reasons why women should embrace challenge.

So when you’re considering your undergraduate or post-graduate studies, choose a program that you know will challenge you. You’ll grow as a person and show the world just how strong a woman can be.



Anica Oaks, a recent college graduate from the University of San Francisco, Anica loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. Anica was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here or on Twitter @AnicaOaks.

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