“Why are you a badass?” From exams to the dreaded, uh, how much money is in my bank account?, students face all kinds stressful of questions, but I Am That Girl started off their first meeting of the semester last week with an empowering question.
Ally Drummond, junior and founder of the I Am That Girl’s UMKC chapter, opened group discussion by asking members why they are a badass.
As the other women in the room pondered and laughed to fill the silence, Drummond spoke up.
“It’s OK to be proud,” she said.
I Am That Girl works to instill this sentiment in its members. Drummond emphasized “building each other up and creating a community where girls and all people can come together” as the organization’s goals.
The women considered themselves badass for many reasons.
One shared she had slept in a tent for the first time a few days before, while another recalled showing up for her three-hour class despite horrible cramps.
Cheers, snaps and genuine congratulations greeted these announcements.
The group celebrates small, everyday successes. For transfer student and sophomore Maria Leno, this included coming to Tuesday’s meeting in the first place.
“I’m new here and it’s been kind of scary,” Leno said. “But I’m trying to meet new people and it’s cool to already be a part of something.”
In fact, Leno, Drummond and the group’s other members are all a part of something much bigger than themselves.
According to its website, I Am That Girl boasts 276 chapters. This includes 232 chapters across 44 states, as well as 44 international branches.
Drummond was inspired to lead a chapter at UMKC after her friend founded one at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.
At their first meeting, UMKC’s chapter completed an activity sponsored by its parent organization.
Drummond distributed cloth bags reading, “I am a badass because,” “I am enough because” and “I am BeautyFull because.”
Members could write their answers in the blanks provided and decorate their bags with colorful Sharpies.
Unlike the many stressful questions students face, Leno called the activity “self-affirming.”
“I put ‘I’m a badass because I’m ambitious,’ because of my major, which is film. It’s kind of hard to find a job in that major,” Leno explained as she held up her bag.
“I put ‘I’m enough because I go all in,’ because every day I wake up and just try to do the best that I can, even if it’s not perfect.”
Women who struggled to praise their positive traits and accomplishments at the beginning of the meeting still bubbled over with comments after it was over. It seems they took Drummond’s advice— “It’s OK to be proud”— to heart.
The UMKC chapter of I Am That Girl meets on the first and third Tuesday of every month in the School of Education. You can also follow them on Instagram at iatg_umkc for updates and pictures from their events.