Aviation for Girls

2016

Aviation for Girls is a special annual member publication of Women in Aviation International for Girls in Aviation Day. Articles feature young girls living their aviation dreams, career ideas, and education resources.

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26 AVIATION FOR Girls 2016 E very school has that one girl who is the combination class presi- dent/prom queen/valedictorian/team captain. Then there are the rest of us. It's easy to think of that girl as the superstar with a status that Average You will never attain, but that's not valid. You can develop some simple skills that will propel you to success with as great a speed—and maybe greater—as this superstar. But first, a truth: The superstars in high school are not al- ways the superstars in life. Many years from now, as you attend your 25th high school reunion, I can guarantee that you will be stunned that many of the so-called superstars burned out early while the Average Janes (and Joes) among your classmates turned out to be the most successful—and the happiest. For the foreseeable future, you are dependent on the opinions that adults form of you—whether teachers, parents, friends' parents, neighbors, whatever. These are the people who have the pow- er to make your life a whole lot more en- joyable than it is now. Your neighbor could be the person who could arrange the world's best internship for you, or write a great letter of recommendation about you to her alma mater, or do any number of things on your behalf. The first (and maybe most important) skill you can develop that will serve you your entire life is making a conversation. That means you are able to chat when you're plunked down next to someone's great aunt while everyone else has left the room. The secret is that it doesn't matter what you say as a conversation opener—just say something. You don't have to be profound or insightful; you just have to get the conversa- tion going. Believe me, that adult wants to talk to you, too, so throw out any topic: Did you grow up around here? How long are you visiting for? Tell me about that beautiful necklace. It's easy to practice on everyone from your parents to the woman you babysit for, but try to get your conversational skill level to where you feel you can talk to anyone at any time. Another way to make yourself memorable to adults is to pay attention when you are being introduced. Your mother might introduce you to one of her co-workers, for example. Instead of barely glancing up from your phone, look the person straight in the eyes and say hello. Call them by name. (Calling them by name is also a good way to remember their name once you see them again.) Bonus points for extending your hand and shak- ing theirs. Your mother may do a double-take the first couple of times you do this, but she will be proud of you and you will have made an excellent first impression on someone who may be useful to you down the road. Remember that these skills are for you to gain the best pos- sible outcome from any situation that's thrown your way—whether it's a college interview or an encounter with some- one who could offer you a summer job or tell you about the availability of a scholarship. As you grow up and your universe expands beyond home and school, you will be put in many social situations that may be unfamiliar to you. These might range from dinner at a fancy French restaurant to being a guest on someone's boat. In all instances, you want to be able to enjoy yourself and the new experience. One way to do that is to learn basic table manners. By that I mean learning to put your napkin on your lap and knowing the difference between a sal- ad fork and a dinner fork. These skills are very easy to acquire online or through dozens of available books. Whether it's fair or not, you will be judged by how you conduct yourself in so- cial situations, so get one step ahead with some self-study. Follow your passion. If airplanes and a career in aviation spark your interest, follow that interest. Yes, you can be an air- line pilot, an air traffic controller, an aeronautical engineer, or work in any number of aviation-related careers. Believe that's possible for you because it is. Right before an airplane takes off, the pilot is at the controls of her airplane, at the end of the runway, ready to begin the trip. That's where you are now in life. We have a saying in aviation for when we are wishing someone well at the beginning of a trip—Blue skies and tailwinds! And that's my wish for you. Blue skies and tailwinds! You are beginning your life's journey so make the most of it. After all, you're the one at the controls. ✈ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Patricia Luebke, WAI 1954, is a New York City-based freelance writer, editor, and marketing consultant. P E R S O N A L D E V E L O P M E N T P A T R I C I A L U E B K E SUPERSTAR IN TR AINING The first (and maybe most important) skill you can develop that will serve you your entire life is making a conversation.

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