Taylor Schaal is currently a junior at Millersville University, studying early childhood education and special education. She also holds a minor in psychology. Although a popular major at this school, Taylor has a unique reason for choosing this area of study. “I’ve wanted to be an educator for as long as I can remember because I simply love kids. Being able to watch children learn and grow is one of the most wonderful things. The children are our future and I’m passionate about helping them to become the best they can possibly be.” After graduating from Millersville, Taylor hopes to specifically help autistic children while continuing to study psychology. Eventually, she hopes to be an psychologist at an elementary school.
Millersville University quickly became a home for Taylor, as she notes that “as soon I stepped on campus, I loved the sense of community. This area reminds me of where I grew up so immediately felt at home.” She says that home is more of a feeling, however—one that Millersville gave her. Millersville also proved to give many opportunities to Taylor, including her part in Alpha Sigma Tau and Relay for Life, things that she wouldn’t trade for the world.
“My favorite thing about being in Alpha Sigma Tau is how many amazing women I have been blessed to be around. I don’t have any biological sisters but I do have 40 sorority sisters! Being around my fellow Taus is something I look forward to everyday. I wouldn’t be who I am today without them. My favorite thing about Relay for Life is fundraising for an amazing cause. Being able to have the opportunity to raise money to help those in need is so important and I’m more than happy to help. I Relay in memory of my Uncle Rob and for all those who can’t. With organizations like Relay for Life, one day, we’ll cure cancer.”
Perhaps her organizations are what have made Taylor who she is now. When asked what her greatest weakness was, she admitted, “sometimes I forget the importance of putting myself first. Taking care of yourself is so important, because if you don’t then how can you help others?” She also notes that is her greatest strength. “I give more than I can take. I strive to make sure my friends and family are okay and to always help them as best as I can. I would give anyone the shirt off of my back if they needed it.”
She uses this strength in her daily life and in her dreams for the future as well. She wants to share the idea that things don’t always need to be taken seriously. She says, “I want everyone to realize that it’s okay to laugh at yourself!” She advises using the “five for five rule”; if it won’t matter in five years, then don’t spend more than five minutes worrying about it. “Just remember that everyday, the sun rises and it sets, and we just tend to complicate the things in between.”
Taylor gets her positive attitude and inspiration from her Nana. “She had the sweetest soul and was the most generous person to ever exist. I hope I can be half the women she was. Hearing about her makes my heart smile.” She also looks up to her brother, Adam. “I’m so proud of everything that he’s accomplished…he’s very determined and dedicated.”
A fun fact about Taylor is that her friends call her Conch. If you’re a fan of Spongebob, you’ll get the reference to the Magic Conch Shell. Taylor says her friends used to call her “Magic Conch Schaal” because her last name sounds so much like shell. Over the years, she says, the name shortened, and now people just call her Conch.
*All photos courtesy of Taylor Schaal