The Golden Niche


Yesterday, I was asked by PSJ, my AMAZING-I-owe-her-my-life admissions rep, to be on a panel for Pioneer Day, where prospective students visit campus.


I have to admit, I was pretty nervous.

I was the only first-year on the panel.

But, it was a lot of fun.

One of the questions that was asked was “Why did you choose Wesleyan and what made you stay?”

I don’t remember my whole answer, but at the end this came to me.

I said,

“Wesleyan changes you for the better.  You can ask anyone in my family or any of my friends and they will tell you I am a completely different person.  I’m so much more confident, and I haven’t felt self-conscious once since I got here.  There is a level of respect at Wesleyan that you don’t find just anywhere.  You grow as a woman.”

When I said my piece about self-consciousness, a mom in the front row leaned over HER mom and gave her daughter *that* look.

Y’know, the one that says “you better listen, this could be good.”

Cue downpour of emotions.

I was shocked that I could say something that could impact people.

I mean, I was in their shoes once, listening to current students talk about why they love it here.

I also wanted to go over, hug her, and tell her if she decided to come her, she’d have a friend.

Sadly, they slipped out before I could walk over.

But, if she does come here, I hope I remember, because I know what it’s like.

The people I met at Scholarship Day, AARDVARK, and Orientation are still my friends, and it’s so cool to have “known” them back then and now.

I know what she’s feeling.

High school can be absolutely cruel.

I had a conversation with Mama this weekend about the Princess, the oldest little in the house.

She’s such a cool, unique person.

But being her big sister, I’m terrified that kids will break her spirit.

She talks all the time about coming to Wesleyan, and honestly, I wish we were back in 1836 when Wesleyan accepted twelve-year-olds.

Because in college, it’s good to have a niche.

Her uniqueness would be celebrated, not cut down.

Yeah, I mean, she needs to learn a little tact, but she’s almost nine! She’s got time.

It makes me crazy when little girls are mean to her, but she is a very good advocate for herself.

(One of her friends once threatened to slap me, and she went all That’s So Raven and started bobbing her head and wiggling her finger at the girl. She’s pretty much the bomb.)

My point in all this is to say, while people reminisce about their childhoods, growing up can be the hardest phase of life ever.

We teach our children that people who are different are weird, and they repeat it to their peers.

I, I’m ashamed to say, have been on both sides of the coin.

It’s hard to be different, but I honestly believe that college is where you can finally be you.

So yeah, I can watch Doctor Who, Harry Potter, and Gossip Girl all in one day if I want.

I wear my Goodwill clothes while I carry my Vera Bradley purse (most likely also from Goodwill).

I’m a nerd and social butterfly all contained in one body.

I used to hate being this way–friends with a whole bunch of different groups, but never belonging to only one.

But here, everyone is in that boat.

We all have different interests and passions that overlap, and it is a beautiful thing.

I wouldn’t trade this for anything.


Also, I just have to say, for probably the 100000000th time, that it is pretty amazing to walk the same sidewalks and sit in the same classrooms as Mama and MaeMae, the two strongest women I have ever known.

I hope to be as strong as they are one day.


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