We’re putting the spotlight on Stephanie Li. Stephanie was a ranked tennis player for many years, but now devotes a significant amount of time volunteering with young wheelchair players. She will be one of the youngest wheelchair certified coaches in the region, and has plans to start an organization devoted to giving more opportunities for disabled youth to play tennis.
UniversityHub caught up with Stephanie to find out what inspires her work and what advice she would share with other young women…
On Her Background
Where are you from originally?
Where do you currently attend school?
King’s Christian Collegiate
What does “SheShines” mean to you?
SheShines lets us view the young women in a personal sense, as they get to express their concerns and proudest moments about themselves.
How would you describe yourself in under 140 characters?
I’m an outgoing, fun high school student that is open-minded to new information. I strive for perfection and encourage all those around me to work to their full potential.
What do you enjoy the most about your school?
I enjoy the variety of subjects that high school lets their students experience in a short amount of time. Within a year, we can experience eight completely different fields of work at an introductory level that helps us develop and find what we are truly passionate about.
What keeps you busy outside of school?
Outside of school I keep busy with my athletics as well as helping those who are unable to have the privileges that we have to get active. I play tennis on a regular basis and volunteer with the wheelchair tennis programs in order to help those that are less privileged love the sport as much as I do. I was a ranked player for a few years, but I have truly found my passion in teaching younger children wheelchair tennis. My wheelchair coaching certification has also been an activity that I have been working on. I also spend a lot of my time practicing the French Horn, debating in Model United Nations and DECA.
What accomplishments or activities are you most proud of?
During my first two years of high school, my academic grades were nowhere near my potential. My attention was diverted to socialization and fitting in with my peers. Even though this was a positive part in my life, I soon realized that I needed to have an equal balance between academics and social activities. Over the summer of grade 10 to 11, I decided that I had to change in order to fulfill my goals and put them into reality. I was able to bring myself together to overcome the difficulties in saying no to friendly gatherings in order to dedicate my time to my academics. The first few months were difficult, however my grades improved significantly, as well as my maturity as a person as a whole. I have learned to love studying and working just as much as hanging out with friends, a feeling that a I would have never imagined a year ago.
What do you do to keep your stress level managed?
I go on walks through the world’s beautiful nature with my family and dog. I also play tennis, and go for regular runs.
Five year plan. Go.
Graduate high school, attend university where I can pursue goals and gain the knowledge that I need in order to help others and have a lasting impact on the world.
What do you believe is the biggest challenge women face today?
The biggest challenge that women face today is being represented and portrayed in a negative sense compared to men. Often the media make women’s voices a struggle to be heard, and shames their independence and strong personality. The actions that women must take is an extra mile in order to have an equal recognition as men. Women are often shamed for being “bossy” and “one-minded”, whereas men are idolized for portraying the exact same traits.
What progress do you see in this issue?
As society becomes more secular, and equality among genders become more prominent, this issue will soon diminish. More women will be stepping up to be the voice of change – leading to the media being more accepting of these woman leaders.
If you had to leave one message with young women, what would it be?
Be yourself, don’t try to fit in. If you go with the flow, then there will be no one to be the voice.
On Her Favourites
Music you’re grooving to: Anything from classical to mainstream
Movies and TV shows: Disney is my all time favourite
Travel destination: Florida
Guilty pleasure: Chocolate
Top three things you couldn’t live without: Family, sweat pants, chocolate
Favourite app: Snapchat
Go-to website: Facebook
Favourite person to follow on social media: Novak Djokovic
What gives you the biggest FOMO: Family gatherings or gatherings with friends
On Everything Else
What inspires you to continue to do great work?
The thought of making a change in someone’s life. Knowing that not everyone has the voice to speak out for change, and being the reason for a person to have a totally different life inspires me to work my hardest everyday.
When you hear the word ‘successful’ what’s the first thing that comes to mind?
The first thing that comes to mind is how the world has developed its own definition of success that is not what success itself originated to be. Success was created as an achievement in which all or most people can benefit from, as it is efficient and accomplishing. However the world has taken the word ’successful’ to be a word described towards those who have gained sufficient wealth. The world has used success as a word in which each individual is classified as, rather than our society being successful together as a whole.
Anything else you want our reader to know about you, what you’re doing or a final message you’d like to leave them with?
If you think you can’t change the world, think again.
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SheShines is a movement co-led by UniversityHub and Faze to put the spotlight on young women leaders.