September 29th was the beginning of another glorious year at Girls Write Now. This year is my last year at GWN, so I am going to put in all of me. It’s my final year to make an impact and encourage younger mentees who are still shy to free themselves from their shells. Exiting the elevator, I saw tables with the sign-in sheet, the artistic notebooks, and of course the mentee handbook, which guides us to become great mentees for our future mentors.
After signing in, I entered GWN and got excited at the thought of the ideas, feelings, and friendships that were going to be created in this room. I truly felt like I had stepped into a magical land, that like Narnia, anything is possible here. I looked around, seeing all the beautiful faces of the mentors and my fellow mentees, feeling inspired just by being around such talented writers. I smiled as I read the orange-colored agenda, looking forward to Speed Dating: I was going to get a new mentor who would help me improve my writing, who I will share a part of my life with, and who will become my greatest supporter. And in return, I will be her rock as well.
Anusha, our Program Coordinator, welcomed us, her cheerful face brightening the room. The first activity was Opening Lines, titled “Crafting Constellations”, where we answered prompts asking us about our ideal life style in 2025, our favorite tradition, and the most valuable thing anyone has ever given us. The room was silent save for the sound of the gears in our brains turning. We then split into groups to share our answers, with a twist: whenever someone shared, they held onto a piece of yarn, until eventually we stood there in a tangled, intertwined yarn web, representing how everyone is connected by their similar thoughts or ridiculous subway stories.
Next we got to my favorite part of orientation: Speed Dating! The mentees sat next to each other on one side, the professional women on the other, all hoping to find the one. But, as we spent five minutes with each possible mentor, it’s just so difficult to choose one woman. I felt like I took a part of each mentor, learning about what they write, what they enjoy reading, where they like to hang out, and so much more. Afterwards, we left our hearts with the GWN staff, who will definitely know who is the best fit for whom.
We ended Orientation by placing our values onto the beautiful constellation board and reciting the community pledge. Both get me motivated to work as hard as I possibly can, putting in 110% for myself and the other women and girls. I feel challenged, enthusiastic, and supported–all great feelings GWN gives me.