The Most Important Things I Learned at an All-Girls School

Over four years ago, when I made the decision to go to an all-female high school, part of me felt wary about giving up boys. I thought I'd miss out on friendships with guys and that this new environment would be too weird after going to a coed school.

I overlooked this doubt that somehow I was making a mistake and walked into the first day of freshman year, unaware of how the next four years would completely change me and how much I would take away from the experience. This is what I have learned about life and about myself, which I have taken with me and would like to share.

Girls are funny: I thought I knew this before, but I did not realize how funny girls actually are. When you're in a group with guys, it's easy to feel the need to laugh at their jokes even if they are not remotely amusing. There is also a myth that women are not funny, or at least not as funny as men (there's even a documentary "Women Aren't Funny" exploring this issue by interviewing comedians). Going to school with girls, I ugly laughed to the point of tears almost every day.

You can never make assumptions about someone: There were girls who I thought I could never relate to or want to be friends with, but upon actually talking to them, they were nothing like my assumptions of them. These assumptions mostly came from fear or from feeling out of my comfort zone when talking to certain people. Some of the nicest and funniest people I became friends with in high school were people I originally thought were too different from me or who I was silly enough to prejudge.

Be unapologetically yourself: When it comes to identity, it's rare, and I would argue almost impossible, to completely understand who you are as a freshman, sophomore, or even an upperclassman in high school. However, being in an environment where everyone is equally focused on finding themselves or what they enjoy, there is no pressure to pretend. Seeing other girls speaking out for what they believe in or doing what makes them happy is inspiring. Other girls being unapologetically themselves gave me the confidence to do the same.

 

I am not trying to say that we should all abandon guys and ship ourselves to an all girls school in the middle of nowhere. I am also not saying that an all-girls school is right for everyone, or that daily life there consisted of holding hands and singing Kumbaya. Guys are incredible too and spending time with them is also fun and amazing in other ways.

There's just something special about being a girl and seeing other girls around you be themselves and succeed. If it weren't for these lessons, I would still take being a girl and all of my relationships with other women for granted. I wouldn't be aware of just how remarkably lucky I am. Here's to amazing friends and making a lot more.

 

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