Thursday, May 11, 2017

"We are warriors hidden in princesses' bodies"... by Emily O'Connor

Congratulations 2017 Graduates!

Another year has come and gone and thousands of high school seniors will be making their way into a new life, whether it's heading off to college or beginning in the work force.  It's exciting and frightening to the students and to their parents.

For the past several years I have served on the Scholarship Committee for Sigma Omega Sorority, reading hundreds of essays from graduating seniors of our local high school. (Yes, I read those too!)  And this is the first time I have been compelled to share one with you.  Of course there are many factors that determine which students will receive scholarships (GPA, community service, leadership ability, etc.), and the recipients of the Sigma Omega Scholarships have not yet been determined, but every now and then we read an essay that lets us peek into that student's soul.

I had the pleasure of meeting Miss Emily O'Connor of Key Largo, Florida, a high school senior ready to leave the protected halls of Coral Shores High School and emerge out into the world by way of the University of Florida.  She's a bright young woman with a gift for writing.  We asked her to respond to the following topic:

"As you look back on your years at Coral Shores High School, how have you, as a woman, grown personally, academically, and socially?  Please describe the importance of women in your professional life and what you will continue to do to define yourself as an outstanding woman in the future."

          When defining the word “woman,” merely stopping at gender is a resounding mistake. To be a woman does not simply mean that physically, you are a female. Womanhood is a mentality, and an inborn, unbreakable spirit residing within.

          My first day of high school, I was a meek, self-conscious, clueless girl. I stumbled my way through the halls, worried more about if people thought my outfit looked good than if I would make it to class before the bell rang. My mind had kicked into survival mode, I viewed high school as an unforgiving jungle. I felt as if I needed to prove that I was just as normal as everyone else- seduced by the chance that they might see some glimmer of “cool kid” lying dormant within me. There’s nothing I love more to do than read. There’s nothing else I wanted less to admit, solely because that wasn’t the opinion held by those in high regard.

  A multitude of days and nights rushes on. I experience some things I never wanted to experience, and make some memories that will forever be cherished. Lessons are learned, feelings are mended. It is not one lesson that taught me to embrace who I am, but instead a fragment of each, all delicately interconnected within the fibers that make up the very nature of who I am as a person.

 Somehow, I became the person I am today. With the help of outstanding female role models I know personally, and those that have made a name for themselves and womanhood in the past, I have learned to embrace everything -good and bad- I have encountered that has molded me into who I have become. No longer do I get up in the morning with the intent of impressing others, but rather with the goal of impressing myself. I know who I am and what I stand for, and will unapologetically stick behind my beliefs no matter the situation. I proudly tote my daily read, and never shy away from a good discussion regarding a book; something my less mature self would have never imagined in her wildest dreams.

Though women truly are goddesses: kind, mature, caring, intellectual, almost transcendent creatures, our fight for recognition of this undeniable fact is not yet over. In the spirit of females in the past and present, and those in the future, I will proudly fight and adamantly work towards the honorary connotation that the title “woman” truly deserves. We are warriors hidden in princesses’ bodies. The best part of it all? Innately, we come as a package. Whether it be a complete stranger or a past foe, when push comes to shove, women will support women. We have fought hard to get to where we are today, but it is still an uphill battle; one that I, personally will fight every single day of my life, as every proud woman should.


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