Originally published at theodysseyonline.com
I awaited graduation day anxiously, counting down the seconds until I got out of my all-girls high school. Sure enough, when graduation came, I ran out of that school, white heels and all, with the thought of never looking back. After I left, I realized that it's hard to leave behind something that was a part of you for twelve of the most formative years of your life. It's hard to just let go of the place that made you who you are.
It's so easy to criticize all-girls schools and to say, "It must be so catty" or "Is everyone a nun?" When I was in high school, I was one of the first to complain about going to a school with all girls, but transitioning to a co-ed college, I've realized there's a lot to be said for an all-girls education.
I wouldn't be who I am or where I am without Stuart. I wouldn't have had nearly as many opportunities, I wouldn't have the same friends, and I most likely wouldn't have been at the same college. I wouldn't speak up as much, I wouldn't be as loud and outgoing, and I wouldn't be as confident in taking risks. I learned more from just being in that environment than I would have learned anywhere else. There's something about being in a place where it's okay to be outspoken and a girl.
Going to an all-girls school, I learned so many things that will carry me through my entire life. I learned it's okay to speak up in class or in any environment. I learned that school isn't everything -- you need to take time to do what you love. I learned that even the seemingly small moments can end up meaning the world to you. I learned that people aren't just faces -- they come from somewhere, they have a story, and listening to those people and learning about their lives can change how you look at everything. I learned that being a part of a strong, loving community can make the hardest of moments a lot easier.
So Stuart, thank you for everything you taught me -- for teaching me how to not be afraid to try new things, to put myself out there, and to be a little rambunctious sometimes; for teaching me that the little things you do go a long way; for teaching me how to push myself and how to be successful; for teaching me that you can try anything and be anything; for teaching me how to have dance parties, lip-sync battles, and to properly win at any field day event. Every day I am grateful for everything I learned, the people I met, and the teachers that pushed and inspired me. I am thankful for Congé, Goûter, StuGov Love, paper plate awards, and I am especially thankful for walking out of graduation to "We're All in This Together." Thank you from the bottom of my heart for making me who I am.
Taylor's letter was originally posted here.